North York senior completes her educational journey at York

At 72, Fernanda Cieri has finally achieved her dream to graduate from university, wrote the North York Mirror June 21.

Retiring from her job as a provincial property assessor in 1999, Cieri is now the proud recipient of a bachelor of arts degree in Italian studies from York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. She was presented with her degree in a convocation ceremony on Tuesday.

“I got so much encouragement from my children and my husband to go back to school and do what my dream was. When I was a child I couldn’t fulfil my dreams, but now I’ve fulfilled them at this age,” said Cieri.

“Apparently I was a good role model for many people, including students at the University. I studied with young students in their 20s and I think I inspired them. They look up to us. When you have an interest and are serious about learning, you take the courses very seriously and need to work very hard. It is a good example for younger people,” said Cieri. “To mix with younger people was an experience because I found them very interesting and they were so interested in the subject, too. Some were not even of Italian background, but we had a great time together.”

Now that she has earned her bachelor of arts, Cieri plans to continue taking courses that interest her, volunteer at the school and stay in touch with her classmates through alumni gatherings.

  • Cieri and her family also spoke about her graduation on CFMT-TV’s Italian language “Studio Aperto” June 21.

Protesters usually target corporations, says York sociologist

A survey of Web sites and blogs run by various protest organizations promoting their activities at the G20 summit reveals a startling number of “calls to action”, some containing language many would equate with openly promoting physical harm and destruction, wrote the National Post June 22 in a story about protests planned for the summit.

Professor Lesley Wood, associate chair in York’s Department of Sociology in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies who studies the tactics and organization of social movements, says activists typically target corporations, not people.

“Often the rhetoric of revolution gets used, but the reality is that the social movements that participate in protests against international financial institutions in Canada – from Quebec City’s FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) protests to Kananaskis’ G8 summit – have never actually initiated violence against people or even small businesses,” Wood said.

The shame of honour crimes

Between 2001 and 2004, Haideh Moghissi, Saeed Rahnema and Mark Goodman, all professors in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, conducted an extensive study of about 2,000 immigrants to Canada from Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Palestinian territories and Jordan, wrote The Globe and Mail June 22.

Not surprisingly, immigrants experienced a clash of cultures, including tension between individual rights and community loyalty. Another key area was gender equality: Immigrants believed women had more independence and rights in Canada than in their country of origin. Female immigrants believed this to be a good thing; the men weren’t so sure. Unsurprisingly, gender equity was found to be a primary source of tension between spouses. The study did not probe the cultural schizophrenia experienced by immigrant youths, or how families retained cohesiveness in the face of these tensions. This analysis is essential, given the recent murders of young women by family members for pursuing individual choices contrary to tradition.

Between 2006 and 2009, at least three women have been killed in Ontario for breaching family “honour”. The York University study and an analysis [done at the University of Toronto] make it seem that Canada’s spate of honour crimes may continue. Cultural tensions, male domination and instant social messaging are ingredients for disaster, wrote the Globe.

York’s equestrian club starts at a gallop

It’s not the first place one might look to for equestrian talent, but a team of York University horse enthusiasts has set out to dispel that myth, wrote the North York Mirror June 21.

The York University Equestrian Club’s 30-member equestrian squad, based out of Constellation Farms in the King Township area north of the city, has wasted little time in establishing itself in hunter-jumper and dressage circles in Toronto, the province and even the world.

Long known for its respected space, humanities and science programs…Canada’s third-largest university has made impressive strides in a short period of time.

And the non-varsity show team, created in 2009 when an astounding 23 York riders turned out, is already putting its Ontario University Equestrian Association (OUEA) league mates on notice. The team registered a decent middle-of-the-pack finish in its 11-team, 200-rider OUEA interuniversity league and earned Supporter of the Year and Team Spirit of the Year honours this past season. Tara Bassili finished second overall individually in her elite open division, while team captain and club founder Allicia Bankuti showed sixth.

The club competes in four divisions: beginner, novice, intermediate and open, and welcomes riders from all disciplines. Some members also compete in the Intercollegiate Dressage Association, which shows in the northern United States, said Bankuti.

On air

  • Professor Pablo Idahosa, coordinator of the African Studies Program in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, took part in a panel discussion on what soccer says about the world, on TVO’s “The Agenda” June 21.