‘I take peace in knowing Sara and Siavash were so happy together’
As news of the tragedy of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 made its way around the world, the Concordia community learned that two young alumni — Siavash Ghafouri- Azar, MASc 19, and Sara Mamani, MASc 18 — were among the 176 who died on January 8.
The couple were married during their recent trip to Iran and were returning to Canada to celebrate with their friends. Ghafouri-Azar, 35, and Mamani, 36, were among 57 Canadians who lost their lives. A total of 138 passengers were headed to Canada, including many members of the higher-education community.
Both Mamani and Ghafouri-Azar had completed master’s degrees within the last two years in Concordia’s Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Aerospace Engineering at the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science.
“The way they touched all of us is the way we will continue to remember them in our hearts,” says Ali Dolatabadi, one of Ghafouri- Azar’s graduate degree supervisors. “I can’t recall ever seeing Siavash without a huge smile on his face.”
Suong Van Hoa, Sara’s master’s supervisor, recalled: “Sara was a wonderful person with a bright future in front of her. I feel fortunate that I had the opportunity to work with her for three years.”
A private memorial service was held on January 10 at Concordia. More than 150 people — friends, colleagues, students, alumni and members of Montreal’s Iranian community — filled the room to grieve together and share memories of Ghafouri-Azar and Mamani. Many spoke of the couple’s dedication to their studies and loyalty to those around them, as well as their dream of starting a new life together in Canada.
The couple had both found jobs as engineers in Montreal while they pursued their studies at Concordia — Mamani at Bombardier, and Ghafouri-Azar at Pratt and Whitney Canada. It’s important, said one of their close friends, to remember the couple’s love for each other. “We are here not just to mourn them — we are here to celebrate their marriage. I take peace in knowing they were so happy together and that they will remain together forever.”