Individuals of all economic strata are shedding their jobs, hometowns, and lifestyle to embrace a wider experience and a more meaningful existence.
Nazanin Afshin-Jam (Persian: نازنین افشین جم) was born in 1979 in Tehran, Iran. Nazanin is a Persian human rights activist, public speaker as well as President and Co-Founder of Stop Child Executions. As though that is not enough accomplishment, she is also a singer, songwriter, model, actress, pilot, former Miss World Canada and Miss World 1st runner-up. She immigrated to Canada with her family in 1981 due to the oppressive political regime that arrested, jailed and tortured her father because he was serving alcohol and letting music be played in the hotel at which he was manager. Her father escaped to Spain, where his wife and daughters joined him. The family then moved to Vancouver, where he became a very successful hotel manager once again. Nazanin graduated from college with a double major degree from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and Political Science, studied at the prestigious Science Po in Paris as well as the International Study Center Herstmonceux Castle in England. As soon as Nazanin graduated she worked with the Red Cross as a Global Youth Educator, teaching subjects ranging from the Landmine Crisis, Children affected by War, the Poverty-Disease Cycle to Natural Disasters. She then attended Norwich University where she obtained her Masters in International Diplomacy. Turning her attention to the modeling industry, her efforts resulted in success in numerous top magazines including Glamour, Seventeen, Chatelaine, Flare and Vanity Fair. In 2003 she became Miss World Canada and joined in the Miss World contest in Sanya, China. She placed second at Miss World behind Rosanna Davison - Miss Ireland 2003.
Success in modeling led to becoming an actress with roles in The Chris Isaak Show, Scooby Doo 2, Cold Squad, Canada A.M. and Five Days to Fame: The Miss World Canada Story. Nazanin will be playing the role of Táhirih in Jack Lenz's upcoming movie Mona's Dream about the life of Mona Mahmudnizhad and the 9 other women who were executed in Iran for their belief in the Baha’i faith. Nazanin has had media features on CNN, BBC, CBC, FOX, Al Jazeera and numerous radio shows and talk shows. Nazanin continues to address human rights abuses worldwide particularly in relation to women and children in Iran and the Middle East including speeches at the UN, in the European Union and in both Canadian and British Parliaments. Nazanin is President and co-founder of Stop Child Executions. Stop Child Executions is a non-profit organization co-founded by Nazanin that is determined to put an end to executions of minors in Iran. The organization campaigns to raise awareness about the issue and to put pressure on the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, both in Iran and internationally. SCE is a follow-up effort to the successful campaign and petition that Nazanin established to help save the life of Nazanin Mahabad Fatehi, who was sentenced to hang for stabbing one of three men who tried to rape her and her niece in Karaj in March 2005. Preparation activities in support of this campaign commenced after the release of Nazanin Fatehi from prison and after more than 350,000 signatures were signed worldwide. With pressure from the international community, Nazanin Mahabad Fatehi was granted a new trial by the head of Judiciary in June 2006. In January 2007 Nazanin Fatehi was exhonerated of murder charges and was released on January 31, 2007 after Nazanin Afshin-Jam raised $43,000 on-line for bail while her lawyers worked on her case.
In February 2008, Nazanin was appointed by the Prime Minister of Canada's office to the Board of Directors of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. On the 9th anniversary of the student uprising in Iran, Nazanin Afshin-Jam made a speech in the British Parliament, commemorating the student uprising and mentioned some of the victims of the uprising. On September 23, 2008 Nazanin organized Ahmadinejad's Wall of Shame rally at Dag Hammarskjöld park across the United Nations in New York City while Ahmadinejad was addressing the UN General Assembly. In November 2008 Nazanin received the Global Citizenship Award from the University of British Columbia Alumni Association. In April 2009 Nazanin received the Human Rights Hero Award from UN Watch in Geneva, Switzerland. In 2009 she signed an open letter of apology posted to Iranian.com along with 266 other Iranian academics, writers, artists, journalists about the persecution of Bahá'ís. In 2009, Nazanin won the YMCA Power of Peace Award as a Young Emerging Leader. Through her speeches and music Nazanin hopes to continue being a voice for the voiceless and deliver her messages of tolerance, freedom, peace and love worldwide. On January 4, 2012, Afshin-Jam married Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay at a private ceremony in Mexico.
Her debut album album was released in April 2007 via Bodog Music. Bringing fresh phonic fusion to the forefront she combines a variety of rhythms, beats and melodies from all corners of the globe. Nazanin’s international upbringing and rich history fuel her music, as is evident in her multilingual release. She sings in English, French, Persian and Spanish. This genre-spanning song selection could be classified in many categories with prevalence in: Pop, Dance and World Beat. Nazanin charted at #20 in the Music Week - Commercial Pop Top 30 Club Chart with her debut single, I Dance 4 U and a music video for the song has also been released. Nazanin has been climbing the FMQB Top 40 chart in the US and is currently at #7 for her single Someday. The music video for this song has also been released and her new single I Do has been climbing the Billboard Chart in adult contemporary music and is currently #39. Nazanin's Christmas single On Christmas Day has also charted. In its first week of release it was ranked #59 on the ACQB chart and all proceeds of the song go to the Stop Child Executions Campaign. Nazanin wants to compose songs on Aung San Suu Kyi, Mahatma Gandhi and the Dalits in India and she has also dedicated her song Someday the Revolution Song - one of the 12 songs on her album Someday to Nazanin Fatehi and other youth in Iran.
As if this list of accomplishments were not enough, Nazanin is also a pilot and is licensed to fly both powered aircraft and gliders and has achieved the highest rank in the Royal Canadian Air Cadets as a Warrant Officer First Class. She is fluent in three languages: Persian, English, French and was voted one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World and in the 100 most talented girls for 2010. Click here to see the interview BRSpecial with Nazanin. Or watch her speak at TED - an annual event where some of the world’s leading thinkers and doers are invited to share what they are most passionate about.
The Tale of Two Nazanins is the true story of two women named Nazanin who both were born in Iran. One was a highly successful Canadian in the midst of a remarkable career, the other a frightened teenager languishing on death row in Iran. The book is about how an email brought them together and changed their lives forever.
In 2006, Nazanin Afshin-Jam had just signed her first record deal after having lived in the limelight for being first runner-up for Miss World, a beautiful sought-after fashion model as well as being a highly intelligent and well respected icon within the Iranian dissident community. But one day she opened an email that would dramatically change the course of her life. The subject of the email was about another girl named Nazanin who was a Kurdish girl facing a death sentence in Iran, as punishment for stabbing a man who had tried to rape her. Her name was Nazanin Fatehi and Afshin-Jam quickly came to the girls defence, entering into the world of international diplomacy and confronting the dark side of the country of her birth, with its honour killings, violence against women and state-sanctioned execution of children. While Fatehi languished in prison, experiencing conditions so deplorable she attempted to end her own life, Afshin-Jam worked desperately on the campaign to save her. The Tale of Two Nazanins weaves together the lives of these two women - one leading a life of glamour and opportunity, the other living in fear and abject poverty. She mounted a campaign which fought for justice that, if only for a moment, brought the Iranian regime to its knees. The Tale of Two Nazanins is an inspiring story of the bonds of sisterhood which speaks to the power of every individual to initiate and participate in bringing positive changes in the world.
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Iran is the only country in the world that 'officially' executes children. According to the United Nations, a child is a person under the age of 18. Despite the fact that Iran has signed International Covenants that forbid them to execute anyone who has allegedly committed an offence before the age of 18, they continue to do so. Since 2005, Amnesty International has recorded 28 executions of child offenders. Currently, there are at least 141 minors on death row in Iran. Time is of the essence. Together we will make them STOP the execution of minors! Sign the petition at www.stopchildexecutions.com to help to save their lives.
Yabanci is a book by a Dutch woman who moved from Holland to Turkey to starta new life in a Turkish village overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. A great read for those who are considering a move abroad or have lived in a different culture. Available in English as an ebook or in Dutch in both print and popular ebook formats...
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