New monument helps Canadians confront a dark past, says York prof

As a country then permeated with racism and anti-Semitism, Canada arguably had the worst record of any Western nation in accepting Jews attempting to escape the Nazis, wrote York Professor Irving Abella, J. Richard Shiff Chair for the Study of Canadian Jewery in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, in an article for The Globe and Mail Jan. 18. [Abella was writing about a new memorial commemorating the fate of Jewish refugees on the passenger boat St. Louis in 1939, who were refused entry and returned to Europe.] When it came to Jewish refugees, “none is too many” was the official policy, wrote Abella.

Today’s Canada is far different – tolerant, generous, culturally diverse, humane, he continued. But a nation cannot move forward without recognizing the darker parts of its past. And an important confrontation with our history will take place this Thursday in Halifax at Pier 21, where a monument to commemorate the ill-fated St. Louis and its passengers will be unveiled by the Minister of Immigration, whose department was responsible for shutting Canada’s doors to the doomed Jews of Europe in the 1930s and 40s. What a redemptive irony.

And how symbolic. The very place where Jewish refugees would have landed and found safety, only to have the gate slammed in their face, will now host a permanent monument to their memory.

Designed by a child of Holocaust survivors, renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, the monument is called The Wheels of Conscience…. It is a stunning work of art, a compelling reminder that in the 1930s Canada was put to the test of civilization and failed. There is an enduring plea in the majestic symbolism of Libeskind’s sculpture: never again must Canada fail that test.

FES student works to curb growth of feral cat colonies in Toronto

Last week, the city of Toronto announced plans expand a volunteer-driven program to capture, sterilize and return ferals to their colonies around the city, wrote the Toronto Star Jan. 18, in a story about a new ban on cats roaming free in Oakville. There are between 100,000 and 300,000 ferals around the GTA, according to cat rescue experts.

Sarah May, a volunteer at Toronto Cat Rescue, notes her organization believes the trap-neuter-release program is the best way to reduce colony populations. “Our goal is to find a real solution to getting cats off the streets,’’ said the 20-year-old York University environmental studies student. “It’s not like we want cats out there, whether it be for the cats’ sake, the birds’ sake or public health’s sake.”

Schulich launches second cohort of ‘The Schulich MBA in India’

The Schulich School of Business at York University announced the start of the second cohort of the Schulich MBA in India, wrote India Infoline News Service Jan. 18. The Schulich School became the world’s first top-tier business school from outside India to launch an MBA program in the country last year. Following the success of the MBA program’s inaugural class in 2010, Schulich is today opening its doors to a second class of 40 students.

The program in India…has been established through a pioneering twinning arrangement between Schulich and the S.P. Jain Institute of Management & Research in Mumbai. The Schulich MBA Program in India has received government approval from the All India Council for Technical Education, the national regulatory body governing school accreditation and the delivery of degree programs in India.

“Over the last few years, leaders of Indian industry have been telling me that the country needs globally trained managers in order to grow and prosper.  Schulich has a global student body, global faculty, and a global curriculum and hence is ideally suited to meet India’s needs,” said Schulich Dean Dezsö J. Horváth, Companion of the Order of Canada and a past recipient of International Dean of the Year honours from the Academy of International Business.

Music grad will present multimedia jazz concert

Herb Ciceri (BA Spec. Hons. ’79), the director of music at Knox Presbyterian Church in Georgetown will bring more than his Sunday best to a concert on Friday, Jan. 28, wrote Jan. 17.

Ciceri will draw on his experience as a performer in cathedrals, concert halls, jazz clubs, churches, universities, corporate events, high schools, pubs, radio and television broadcasts to provide an eclectic evening of music.

Ciceri is a graduate of the music program in York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts, the Royal Conservatory in organ performance, as well as being an Associate of the Royal Canadian College of Organists, so the evening will not proceed without Bach and others on the pipe organ.

On air

  • Paulo Brienza, contract faculty member who teaches sociology and criminology in York’s School of Public Policy & Administration in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, spoke about the upcoming funeral for Toronto police officer Ryan Russell, on CBC Radio and other radio stations across Canada Jan. 17. His comments on the role of large funeral processions for police officers were also published by The Canadian Press Jan. 18.
  • Norma Sue Fisher-Stitt, spoke about the Shen Yun Performing Arts group’s performance in Toronto, on New Tang Dynasty Television Jan. 15.