WEcast Episode #6
Shohreh Roshani was born to an Azerbaijani family in Iran, and Azerbaijani’s language, music and culture are very different from the majority of people in Iran. For the first 5 years of her life she lived in a small town in the Azerbaijan part of Iran, among very high mountains with harsh winters that last 8 months of the year.
Shohreh then lived in Tehran from the ages of 5 to 23, and when she was 7 years old Muslim extremists came to power in Iran. Since Shohreh and her family were not Muslim and belonged to the Baha’i Faith, this change of government altered her family’s and her community’s lives. Shohreh’s cousin, Ruhi Roshani, was kidnapped and murdered by the extremists at the beginning of the revolution in Iran, and a year later her uncle, Dr. Masroor Dakhili, who was a very active member of the Baha’i Community, was arrested and executed.
Shohreh’s family was forced into hiding for 18 months for the protection of her father who was a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran. During this 18-month period she and her family stayed with different friends, relatives and members of the Baha’I community. However, Shohreh’s father, Dr. Syroos Roshani, was arrested by Muslim extremists, along with other members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran, and executed in December 1981. A documentary called “Iranian Revolutionary Justice” produced by the BBC, which can be found on YouTube, shows the history of this period. In this documentary footage of Shohreh’s father is shown defending the Baha’i Community of Iran to Muslim clergy right before execution. Shohreh and her mother are interviewed in the documentary as well.
Since Iran’s Islamic government does not allow Baha’is to attend university, Shohreh was deprived of the right of education. However, equal rights for men and women are one of the principles of the Baha’i Faith, therefore, Shohreh had the support of her family to choose to study anything that she wanted. Shohreh then came to Canada in 1994 as a potential bone marrow doner to her sister, Shiva Roshani, who had leukemia. Shiva was 14 years older than Shohreh and had left Iran to continue her education in 1976, three years before the Revolution in Iran.
Shohreh’s extraordinary life has inspired her passion for both justice and the environment. She also excels in both math and applied sciences, so when she had the opportunity to study Civil Engineering at the University of Alberta, she chose to focus on environmental engineering which had additional environmental courses to the traditional Civil Engineering program. Shohreh is now a very proud professional engineer who has been running her own environmental consulting business for the last 7 years called Ursa Environment Inc. Ursa Environment Inc., has helped many small businesses to resolve their environmental complications and succeed in their business.
Links mentioned in this episode:
Iranian Revolutionary Justice Documentary – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdsFrwJb8NM
Ursa Environment Inc. – https://ursaenvironment.com/
DID YOU KNOW?
Ursa Major is a constellation in the northern sky, whose associated mythology likely dates back into prehistory. Its Latin name means “greater she-bear,” referring to and contrasting it with nearby Ursa Minor, the lesser bear.