Nazanin Afshin-Jam is an Iranian-Canadian entertainer, public speaker and human rights activist born April 11, 1979 in Tehran, Iran. She immigrated to Canada with her family in 1981 after her father, who was the head of the Sheraton Hotel in Tehran was freed from prison. She is a licenced pilot and flies both powered aircraft and gliders and achieved the highest rank in the Royal Canadian Air Cadets—Warrant Officer First Class.
Afshin-Jam is a graduate of the University of British Columbia with degrees in international relations and political science. After her matriculation, she served with the Red Cross as a Global Youth Educator, becoming involved in such matters as land mines, children and war, the poverty-disease cycle, and natural disasters. She also received M.A. in diplomacy with a concentration in international conflict management from Norwich University.
In 2003, she became Miss World Canada and joined in the Miss World contest in Sanya, China, where she ranked second. Afshin-Jam is a human right activist, She was opposed to the death penalty given to 18-year-old Iranian woman, Nazanin Mahabad Fatehi, who was sentenced to death by hanging for stabbing one of three men who tried to rape her and her niece in Karaj. Nazanin Fatehi was exonerated of murder charges and was released after Afshin-Jam raised $43,000 on-line for bail.
Afshin-Jam was awarded the “hero for human rights award” from Youth For Human Rights International and Artists for Human Rights. In November 2008, she received the “Global Citizenship Award” by the University of British Columbia’s Alumni Association, ,”Human Rights Hero Award” from UN Watch in Geneva, Switzerland (April 2009) and the Emerging Leader Peacemaker Award by the YMCA’s Power of Peace Awards. In 2012, Afshin-Jam received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. In 2016 she was conferred an honorary Doctor of Laws, honoris causa from the University of Western Ontario
Also in 2009, Afshin-Jam signed an open letter of apology posted to Iranian.com along with 266 other Iranian academics, writers, artists, and journalists about the persecution of Bahá’ís. She also chaired the first annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. In 2012, she advocated for the closure of the Canadian embassy in Tehran. She participated in the documentary film Honor Diaries which explores the issues of gender-based violence and inequality in Muslim-majority societies.
In April 2007, Afshin-Jam’s released her debut album, “Someday”. She also released other albums including “I Dance 4 U”, “I Do” and a Christmas single “On Christmas Day”.
|Afshin-Jam and family|
Afshin-Jam is married to Peter MacKay who was Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. The couple has one son named Kian (2013) and one daughter named Valentina (2015)