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Nazanin Afshin-Jam Biography

Nazanin Afshin-Jam is an Iranian-Canadian entertainer, public speaker and human rights activist. She is a former Miss World Canada. She is also president and co-founder of Stop Child Executions as well as the founder of "The Nazanin Foundation". She immigrated to Canada with her family in 1981. She is married to Peter MacKay, as of 2013, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.

Afshin-Jam was opposed to the death penalty being applied to 18-year-old Iranian woman 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. She started a campaign to help save the life of this minor including a petition which attracted more than 350,000 signatures worldwide. She has also dedicated her song "Someday", one of the twelve songs on her similarly titled album Someday to Nazanin Fatehi.

Eventually, with pressure from the international community, Nazanin Fatehi was granted a new trial by the head of Judiciary in June 2006. In January 2007, Nazanin Fatehi was exonerated of murder charges and was released after Afshin-Jam raised $43,000 on-line for bail while her lawyers worked on her case. For her efforts in helping save Nazanin Fatehi, Afshin-Jam was awarded the "hero for human rights award" from Youth For Human Rights International and Artists for Human Rights. The Tale of Two Nazanins by Afshin-Jam and Susan McClelland, chronicling the divergent lives of the 2 Iranian Nazanins whose lives intersected during Fatehi's trial, was published by HarperCollins.

Afshin-Jam initiated the Stop Child Executions Campaign and petitioned to help children on death row; the campaign was registered as a non-profit organization with 501-C 3 status in 2008. She is co-founder and President of the Stop Child Executions Organization, whose aim is to put a permanent end to executions of minors in Iran and abroad.

On September 23, 2008, Afshin-Jam organized "Ahmadinejad's Wall of Shame" rally at Dag Hammarskjöld park across the United Nations in New York as Ahmadinejad was addressing the General Assembly. In November 2008, Afshin-Jam received the "Global Citizenship Award" by the University of British Columbia's Alumni Association[16] In April 2009, Afshin-Jam received the "Human Rights Hero Award" from UN Watch in Geneva, Switzerland.

In 2009 Afshin-Jam was given the Emerging Leader Peacemaker Award by the YMCA's Power of Peace Awards. That same year, 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. That same year she chaired the first annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. In 2012, she advocated for the closure of the Canadian embassy in Tehran.

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.

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