Nazanin Afshin-Jam is an international human rights activist, singer/songwriter, actor, model, former Miss World Canada and President and co-founder of “Stop Child Executions” organization. She is also a public speaker represented by the National Speaker’s Bureau.
Nazanin learned at an early age of the threat people face when their human rights are ignored. She was born in Tehran in 1979 at the height of Iran’s Islamic revolution and a year later her family was forced to flee after her non-political father was arrested and tortured at the hands of the fundamentalists. Growing up in Canada after escaping an uncertain future in Iran, Nazanin knew not to take her freedom and good fortune for granted. Her conscience would not allow her to forget those who live in fear every day, in any country where people’s basic human rights are not respected.
Nazanin began community service at a young age. She was heavily involved in school life, co-founded a Global Issues club in her highschool and received the school’s top honour. She became a pilot, licensed to fly both powered aircraft and gliders and achieved the highest rank in the Royal Canadian Air Cadets as Warrant Officer First Class.
After graduating with a double-major degree in International Relations and Political Science from the University of British Columbia with exchanges to the International study Center at Herstmonceux Castle in England and at l’Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris in France, Nazanin became an advocate by volunteering as a Global Youth Educator with the Red Cross teaching on subjects ranging from the Landmine Crisis, Children affected by War, the Poverty-Disease Cycle and Natural Disasters.
Nazanin searched for a way to gain a stronger voice to spread awareness to the masses. After learning of Miss World’s motto “beauty with a purpose” and aim to raise money for children’scharities around the world, Nazanin entered and won the title of Miss Canada and came 1st runner up at Miss World in front of 2.2 billion viewers. She found the forum she needed to elevate her advocacy to the next level. During the next couple years, she traveled the world raising awareness and funds for a variety of causes including the 2003 earthquake in Bam, Iran; the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami; fistula affecting young women in Ethiopia 2005; Variety the Children’s Charity; bridging the digital divide through youth advocacy and started a movement to stop the practice of bear farming in Asia with her sister.
In 2006 Nazanin searched for another platform to reach the masses and began her journey as a singer/songwriter writing lyrics about issues close to her heart. Near album completion, a human rights violation emerged from Iran that affected Afshin-Jam so strongly she felt compelled to put her music on hold and turn all of her attention towards it.
In January of that year, an Iranian judge sentenced 17-year old Nazanin Fatehi to death for killing a man in self defense as he and two other men attempted to rape her and her 15-year old niece in a park in Iran. Outraged by the unjust sentence, Nazanin started an international campaign and petition to save her namesake’s life. The Save Nazanin Campaign attracted significant international media coverage and the ensuing public and government support led to more than 350,000 signaturesbeing collected on the petition which was presented to the United Nations and Iranian government. With the pressure from the international community, in June 2006 the head of Judiciary in Iran ordered a new trial, and in January 2007 Nazanin Fatehi was released after Nazanin raised $43,000 on-line for bail while her lawyers worked on her case.
Nazanin eventually continued her music and released a multilingual, pop-world beat album called “Someday” in April 2007 which charted in the US and UK. The music video for her anthem like single “Someday” became an instant hit with 300 000 viewers in the first month of release.
Nazanin’s battle against child executions continues. She co-founded the Stop Child Executions organization – found on the web at www.stopchildexecutions.com – with the goal of halting the practice in Iran and in the handful of other countries where it still continues.
As of February 2008, Nazanin was appointed a director on the Board of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation by the office of the Prime Minister of Canada to help eliminate racism in Canada. In 2011 Nazanin graduated with a degree in Diplomacy with a concentration in International Conflict Management from Norwich University in the United States.
Nazanin continues to address human rights abuses worldwide in China, Burma, Darfur and other countries with tyrannical regimes in particular in relation to women and children in Iran and the Middle East. She has done speeches at the UN, EU, UK , Canadian Parliament, numerous universities and conferences with media features on CNN, BBC, CBC, FOX, Al Jazeera TV and radio shows, talk shows and print stories in Glamour, Seventeen, Chatelaine, Flare, Vanity Fair magazine and newspapers worldwide.
Through her speeches Nazanin hopes to continue being a “voice for the voiceless” and deliver her messages of freedom, peace and love worldwide.
Well-known for her social work and being a global star, very few know about her wonderful journey into motherhood. Women Fitness brings to you an exclusive interview with Nazanin Afshin-Jam, as she shares with us her life as a mother of two and her post-pregnancy fitness secrets.
To read her complete interview, go to the next page!