BMW award recognizes the drive for excellence at York

In 2002, BMW Group Canada set the wheels in motion to help students in the Centre for German and European Studies (CCGES) reach their academic destinations. Now in its third year, the BMW Canada Award for Excellence continues to acknowledge outstanding CCGES students focused on driving the centre’s international objectives.

Right: From left, Lorna R. Marsden, president and vice-chancellor York University; Frederick Peters, 2005 BMW Canada Award for Excellence recipient; Lindsay Duffield, president, BMW Group Canada; and Michael Mohr, vice-president finance & administration, BMW Group Canada

On April 6, representatives from BMW Group Canada and the York community attended a ceremony to present Frederick Peters with the third annual award. Peters is a doctoral candidate in political science who is also pursuing the graduate diploma in German and European Studies.

Mark Webber, director of the CCGES described the centre as a “people place”, where faculty members and students alike work together to create an atmosphere of strength and synergy.

“We are grateful to BMW for giving us the opportunity to celebrate the talent of our students,” said Webber. “We are proud to be producing a generation of graduate students who will be able to work, study and mediate between all sides of the globe.”

Left: Unveiling the BMW Canada Award for Excellence plaque in CCGES are, from left, Klaus Rupprecht, consul general of the Federal Republic of Germany; Lorna R. Marsden; Mark Webber, director of the CCGES; Frederick Peters; Lindsay Duffield; Michael Mohr; Kurt Hubner, acting co-director of the CCGES; and Paul Marcus, president and CEO of the York University Foundation.

The CCGES enables students studying in the humanities, social sciences and professional faculties to exchange ideas about Canadian-German relations with their peers and professors across all disciplines. Students obtain hands-on experience through study, research and internships abroad, and also have opportunities to present their works at national and international conferences.

Lorna R. Marsden, president and vice-chancellor of York University, echoed Webber’s thanks to BMW and expressed her pride in the outstanding accomplishments of the centre and its students.

“The BMW Canada Award for Excellence encourages our students to achieve the highest possible academic standards,” said Marsden. “Together with BMW Group Canada, we are creating the next generation of researchers in the field of Canadian-German-European relations.”

Marsden also commented on the increasing significance of the centre’s initiatives due to the growing number of people who work and function in German, in a diverse array of fields including culture, public policy and business.

Lindsay Duffield, president of BMW Group Canada explained that the company decided to establish the BMW Canada Award for Excellence three years ago to honour York’s outstanding commitment to European and, particularly, Canadian-German relations. “Excellence drives BMW every day. We view it as a benchmark, that pushes us to work at creating the ultimate driving machine and setting the bar worldwide in our industry,” said Duffield. “We are pleased to present this award to Frederick, who has clearly demonstrated that same drive and excellence in his work thus far.”

Peters’ research examines water privatization in the European Union and the Baltic states. His investigation, thus far, reveals the expansion of regulatory rules that accompany the marketization and commodification of water. He focuses on the far-reaching effects this could have on the environment and social justice.

Kurt Hübner, acting co-director of the CCGES and a member of the award selection committee, read a descriptive and comedic portion of the winning essay to the audience. “I want to commend Frederick on combining his great use of language and drama with his well-developed analytical skills,” said Hübner. “Just as BMW strives for excellence every day, these small details speak to a candidate’s drive for excellence in our selection process.”

Peters expressed his thanks to BMW for giving him the opportunity to be honoured among past award recipients and for supporting the vision of the CCGES. “This award acknowledges the work that I’m doing and validates its importance in the greater context of Canadian-German studies,” said Peters. “The support of my research and that of past award recipients really emphasizes the centre’s determination to support a socially and politically engaged, energetic, diverse and inclusionary vision of what Canadian-German studies are, and can be.”

To conclude the ceremony, Paul Marcus, president and CEO of the York University Foundation, commended BMW on being a company with community involvement and support built into its mandate. “It is my pleasure to extend our appreciation to BMW Group Canada,” said Marcus. “These are tough times for students and this award is really making a difference.”

Also in attendance at the event were, Klaus Rupprecht, consul general of the Federal Republic of Germany and 2004 BMW Award for Excellence recipient, Gülhanim Çaliskan. (See the June 30, 2004 issue of YFile.)

To further enhance the award reception, Sabine Veit, president of Bäckerhaus Veit Ltd., a renowned bread-making company established in Germany in 1927 and brought to Canada in 1993, supplied a selection of German pretzels and breadsticks.

This article was submitted to YFile by Allison Berg, communications officer, York University Foundation.