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Amir Nazari, Diversity coach:“We will become more international inside and out”

In 1986, engineering student Amir Nazari left war-torn Iran for Sweden. Today. Amir uses his own experiences to recruit newly arrived and foreign-born engineers to ÅF. He believes that, together, ÅF and Pöyry can make the new company more international – inside and out.

Amir Nazari grew up with his family on the Iranian side of the Iran-Iraq border. Having completed school in his home town, he enrolled at the University of Tehran to study engineering; however, in 1980 the Iran–Iraq War broke out, causing enormous hardship for those on both sides of the border.

“I found myself in the midst of war and after suffering directly myself, I decided to flee. I arrived in Sweden alone in December 1986, first to Stockholm and then Kiruna. It was the coldest, darkest winter I have ever experienced”, says Amir.

After a few years in Sweden, Amir resumed his studies and eventually graduated from the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University with a degree in chemical engineering. In the summer of 2000 Amir moved to Stockholm and in 2016, Amir was offered the post he holds today as diversity coach, with the opportunity to lead a project to recruit newly arrived engineers to ÅF.

“The project commenced just as the stream of refugees from the Syrian Civil War reached its peak, and many of those fleeing the conflict were trained engineers. It was my boss who saw the opportunity in this and the potential in me. I had an engineering background and had myself been a refugee, so I could recognise myself in the experience of arriving in a new country and entering a new labour market”, explains Amir.

The project exceeded expectations and 146 newly arrived engineers have been employed at ÅF since March 2016. Nowadays, the project also focuses on foreign-born engineers and recruiting overseas engineers to Sweden.

“It’s been great to see the project succeed so well and of course, the idea is to continuously develop it and identify new opportunities. I hope that we can help other companies facing the same challenge and offer more foreign-born engineers the opportunity to gain a foothold in the Swedish labour market”, says Amir.

Amir is looking forward to the merger between ÅF and Pöyry, which he believes will open the way for a more international company – both within their respective countries and globally.

“ÅF brings with it experience and knowledge of internationalising the business by recruiting foreign-born and newly arrived academics. Pöyry contributes a business represented in several locations around the globe. This is an excellent combination – we will become more international inside and out”, says Amir.