Najme Kishani Farahani (2012 - 2013)
Civil engineer, transportation planner, educator, NGO manager, mountain climber and volleyball player – Najme brings this unusual combination of skills, and more, to the Sauvé Program.
Born in Arak, one of the central provinces of Iran, Najme studied civil engineering at the Sharif University of Technology. At the same time, she began volunteering with different Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) devoted to social development.
Continuing her studies as a graduate student in Transportation Planning, she became increasingly involved in the research core of a community of volunteers, called the Asemaan Group. Their mandate is to provide Iran’s current students and future decision-makers with essential individual skills that are not adequately addressed in the country’s formal education system. These skills include Systems Thinking*, the focus of the Asemaan Group for the last six years, as well as “Peace Education”, a module that Najme is launching as a Sauvé Scholar.
Najme’s involvement in the Asemaan Group and other educational projects reinforced her strong belief in the influence of education on social progress and the promotion of peace, and led Najme to leave her field of civil engineering to pursue her passion for education. She set out to understand what effective skills education should develop and how these skills should be promoted in a particular society in order to address controversial international conflicts. This brought her to McGill to study education.
Her strong academic background in education and engineering, reinforced by eight years of experience contributing to and managing different non-profit organizations, give Najme a unique foundation for her current research on peace education and conflict management amongst Iranian children. Iran is an intercultural country with many ethnic groups, languages, and religion minorities. These groups are not considered by Iran’s centralized education system. Bullying, exclusive education, otherness, and labeling are problems within Iranian schools that are rarely addressed.
As a Sauvé Scholar, Najme is working to design and develop a comprehensive educational package for promoting peace education among Iranian Students. This package focuses on the activities through which students acquire the skills that improve their conflict management and addresses bullying, labeling, and otherness. Her aim is to use this package to empower students with the skills that will help them to understand and respect differences and that enable them to communicate effectively with those who have different beliefs and characteristics. This work may also go further, by bringing together a range of actors, building a network of the activists in NGOs, schools, universities, media and connect academia with practice and financial support.
When not applying her energies to planning for educational activities, Najme enjoys mountain climbing, volleyball, biking, reading books, photography and playing her Persian Ney (an end-blown flute).
* Systems Thinking (ST) is a set of skills and abilities required to identify and understand the structure of a system; that is, how the various elements constituting that system interact with each other, and the ways in which they might shape the behaviour of that system. ST Education improves students’ decision-making abilities and prepares them to effectively deal with the complexity of the modern world.
Country of origin
Contact Najme Kishani Farahani: Najme.Kishani@sauvescholars.org