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Sat Jan 11, 2020, 09:17 AM

'She was absolutely adored': Iranian scientist who died on flight 752 [View all]


‘She was absolutely adored’: Iranian scientist spent her life fighting for Indigenous voices in conservation

Ghanimat Azhdari was born into a nomadic tribe in Iran and was a PhD student at Canada’s University of Guelph, where she was working with Indigenous communities in the boreal forest to map cultural sites. This week, she died along with 175 others aboard Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, leaving friends and colleagues reeling over her loss

“She became an expert in participatory mapping and GIS [geographic information system],” says Holly Jonas, global coordinator for ICCA Consortium, for which Azhdari volunteered. “She was really fundamental to co-developing, with communities, these really sophisticated maps of life in Iran.”

(The ICCA Consortium works to advance territories and areas conserved by Indigenous peoples and local communities. The concept was the basic building block of Azhdari’s research.)

When she died, at 36 — among the 176 people killed in the Ukraine International Airlines disaster in Tehran on Jan. 9 — she had been in the early stages of bringing her integrative approach to Canada.


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