Jasmine Jahanshahi
University of California Berkley
Science Po, Paris
Paris, France
April 2011

Twenty-two year old Jasmine wouldn’t let herself be mediocre in
anything, which led her to do well in everything she did. She was a
phenomenal pianist, held a Brown Belt in marshal art and was an
excellent snow skier, as well as  the Co-President of her graduating
class in her high school. She chose University of California, Berkeley
and majored in Political Science and History. Jasmine was the Chair
Woman at UC Berkeley U. N. model and also volunteered in assisting
homeless and abused women with their medical needs in California.
Jasmine was later was accepted into Science Po, an elite university in
Paris where she thought she would live out her dreams. She had already
traveled to many places within Asia and Europe and spoke English,
Persian and French all very beautifully. Yet before she could continue
trekking the globe, her time was unexpectedly cut short.

On April 14, 2011, Jasmine died in an apartment fire in Paris that
took the lives of four others and injured another 57 people. The fire
was horrifically preventable, and the condition of the apartment
building surprisingly bleak for a developed country. The lack of
knowledge about fire prevention in different countries clearly
highlights a need to better disseminate information to all, especially
to students who are studying abroad.

What made Jasmine different was not what she did, but who she was.
Megan Clement, Jasmine’s friend and roommate at Berkeley described her
tenacity as such: “Jasmine never wasted time. She never stopped
studying because, she told me, she could never know everything, so how
was she supposed to know when to stop? Whatever she did, it was in her
nature to do it with her entire being. This is how she accomplished so
much.”

Reed Johnson, Jasmine’s boyfriend from college said, “She understood
that life is not suppose to be easy; that you are suppose to work
terribly hard at times, to become and remain someone you can be happy
with. It is especially remarkable that she did this without trying.”

Through her experiences, Jasmine learned to see with her heart. I
salute ClearCause for passionately demanding transparency and mandated
standards for student abroad programs and educating parents and
lawmakers about the lack of safety standards on for our students and
scholars. As a father who lost his dream girl to student abroad
program, I would have suggested a different path for my daughter’s
adventure if I was more aware of all the facts regarding her safety.
Below is a quote that a professor extracted from one of Jasmine’s
papers:

“The beauty of a memory is that it can’t be killed. It can only be
reconstructed. This reconfiguration of the past  may be so utterly
different than the truth that it may seem that the truth is lost
forever. However, through activism, art, music and literature the
passage of time can be re-opened.” – Jasmine Jahanshahi

Reza Djahanshahi, father of Jasmine