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Society | Rights Activist, Beauty Queen Nazanin Afshin-Jam Weds

06 Jan 2012 01:05Comments

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Iran Standard Time (IRST), GMT+3:30

NazaninAfshinJamDalaiLama.jpg1:05 a.m., 16 Dey/January 6 Iranian-born human rights activist and former Miss World Canada Nazanin Afshin-Jam has married Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay in a private ceremony held in Mexico. The bride, born in Tehran in 1979, the year of the Revolution, immigrated with her family to British Colombia two years later. The groom, a native of Nova Scotia, was the last leader of the Progressive Conservative Party before its 2003 merger with the Canadian Alliance that created today's Conservative Party.

The National Post reports that after she was runner-up at the 2003 Miss World pageant, Afshin-Jam

went on to receive worldwide fame during her successful effort to save from execution a young Iranian woman who at age 17 had stabbed a would-be rapist to death. She then co-founded Stop Child Executions, a group dedicated to ending capital punishment of children in Iran.

Afshin-Jam, who holds international relations and political science degrees from the University of British Columbia, also serves on the board of directors of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. She previously served as a global youth educator with the Red Cross.

MacKay's personal life has frequently made headlines in recent years.

In a September 2006 article, the New York Times took stock of his "star appeal" and cited rumours that MacKay and former U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice were getting close to each other. The article described the defence minister as "the closest thing to eye candy on the diplomatic circuit."

In the first of the videos that follow, Afshin-Jam speaks at the "Stop Iran Now" rally in defense of Iranians' human rights, which was held outside the United Nations headquarters in New York in September 2008. The second is a CTV report from April 2009 about her successful effort to win asylum for Azita and Ahmad Shafaghat, who were persecuted and jailed by the Islamic Republic's authorities after their conversion to Christianity. In it she explains, "That's the reason why I even entered Miss Canada in the first place -- because I wanted a platform, so I could have a stronger voice and I could speak about these types of issues."

Photo above: Afshin-Jam and the Dalai Lama at the Vancouver Peace Summit, 2009.

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