Canada opens applications for scholarships commemorating victims of Iran flight PS752
October 5, 2023 By Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — The Liberals have launched a scholarship to commemorate those killed in the downing of Flight PS752 by Iranian officials in 2020.
The program will disburse 176 scholarships, one for each of the people who died when a Ukraine International Airlines flight was shot down outside Tehran.
The victims included 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents, many of whom had significant academic accomplishments in Canada.
The scholarship will involve an average of $25,000 for each of the 176 winners, with $4.4 million to be delivered over the course of five years and each scholarship named after an individual victim.
The scholarship was first announced in January 2022.
Applications for the first round opened on Wednesday and close in just 28 days.
Both international and domestic students attending a college or university in Canada can apply, if their study focuses on the prevention of air disasters or the same field of study or work as one of the victims.
Global Affairs Canada says it aims to award roughly 30 per cent of the scholarships to Canadian applicants, and the remaining 70 per cent to international applicants.
Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said the scholarship will prioritize applicants who have family ties with the victims.
“The downing of Flight PS752 was a human tragedy of immeasurable proportions that truncated the futures of many academics and students who not only had strong connections with Canadian educational institutions, but also made important contributions to Canada,” Joly said in a news release.
Those who apply are required to write a letter outlining “how your chosen degree relates to the victims” and “why you feel a connection with the victims.” The letter must also address the applicant’s understanding of the incident and how they plan to contribute to the legacy of those who were killed.
Joly’s office said Canada is still pondering whether to announce a similar program for victims of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, following consultations with relatives of the 18 Canadians killed in the 2019 crash, which was related to a technical error in a Boeing 737 MAX 8 flight.
Ottawa is part of a consortium of countries trying to hold Iran accountable for downing of Flight PS752, including through a slow process to bring a case to the International Court of Justice.
Canada, Sweden, Ukraine and the U.K. have tried since 2020 to meet with Iranian officials. They finally had a meeting this week, but said Iran is rejecting full legal responsibility.
“It has not been possible to make meaningful progress. Iran continues to disregard our claims,” reads a summary the group released Tuesday.
“Based on the discussions that took place this week, the group considers that our respective positions are too far apart to be reconciled through negotiations.”
The group is thus continuing its attempt to have the matter heard in international court, adding that “full reparation means more than financial compensation.”