Watching babies make friends

Gabriela Markova, a PhD student in York’s Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health, is studying infant interactions with peers during the first year of life, wrote the Toronto Star Nov. 29 in its Deep Thoughts column.

"The focus is to investigate how infants interact and if they develop close relationships which we later determine as friendships," says Markova, who works out of the York Centre for Infancy Studies with her supervisor Professor Maria Legerstee. So far, her research shows some indication that the babies form a precursor to friendship during their group meeting. That is, the babies seem to remember and recognize each other. She also finds that as with adults, a dynamic between the three babies emerges. "There is the leader, the shy baby, and then two babies interact more with each other than the third baby."

Markova hopes to be finished collecting all the data by the end of April. The research, like the other work done at the Centre for Infancy Studies, will help to better understand and communicate with these complex little beings.

Baton or wrench, maestro/mechanic is hands-on

When he waves his baton, the Symphony Orchestra of Canada comes to life. Despite his presence and power on stage, maestro Stefanos Karabekos (BA ’78) is humble and hasn’t let fame or fortune go to his head, wrote The Globe and Mail Nov. 29.

Instead of getting chauffeured around town or driving an expensive high-end vehicle, this graduate of York’s Faculty of Fine Arts drives something more modest – two used Chevrolet Cavaliers, a 2001 coupe and a 1995 sedan with 260,000 kilometres on it. "These cars did not leave me on the road anywhere in all these years. There are more beautiful cars, more expensive cars, but with this amount of money, these cars are so reliable. I’m so happy.

Boycott urged of Israeli academics

The idea of academics boycotting Israeli universities to protest the plight of the Palestinians got its first public airing in Canada last night, when a crowd of several hundred turned out for a highly charged debate at Ryerson University, wrote the National Post Nov. 29.

It was headlined by Salim Vally, visiting professor at York’s Atkinson School of Social Sciences, and a South African activist who called Israeli universities "crucibles of racist logic," and argued that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is worse than the apartheid system that once blighted his country.

He called on Canadian academics to boycott their Israeli counterparts, just as South African universities were once boycotted. "Israeli academics are not victims, they are privileged and pampered," said Vally, who teaches at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

His speech drew the most impassioned applause of the night from the overwhelmingly supportive crowd, although there were some dissenters.

The boycott proposal, which originated at two British universities in 2002, sparked an international academic crisis this year when the British University and College Union voted to sever all professional ties with the eight Israeli universities. The decision drew condemnation from university administrators around the world, including the presidents of 20 Canadian universities [including York’s then President & Vice Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden].

Hasbara respresentative vows to continue support for Israel

Last week at York University I attended the speech by Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch, a speech which was mentioned in Barbara Kay’s column, wrote Jonathan Mackenzie, vice-president of communications for Hasbara at York, in a letter to the National Post Nov. 29. Kay was dead on when she wrote about intimidation of pro-Israel students, wrote Mackenzie. After the presentation, some students turned the question and answer period into a circus. Several shouted that Marcus was a "racist" and some said the presentation was a "hate crime" against Palestinians and Muslims in general.

The executive board of Hasbara at York, which sponsored the speech, has worked hard this semester to promote Israel on campus, and we will continue to do so in spite of the intimidation tactics of some radical activists.

On air

  • Nicholas Cepeda, a psychology professor in York’s Faculty of Health, and one of his students, Shabnam Monzavi, spoke about Cepeda’s study of cramming for exams, on CBC TV (Toronto) Nov. 28.
  • Marc Lesage, sociology professor at York’s Glendon College, spoke about Toronto’s night club scene and those who frequent the entertainment district, on TFO’s “Panorama” Nov. 28.