Bringing universities to refugee camps in Kenya

The idea of bringing university education into refugee camps grew from a long-term scholarship program run by the World University Service of Canada (W.U.S.C.), which has offered scholarships in Canadian universities to 1,350 refugees from around the world over the past 35 years….Starting in 2010, a series of workshops brought together the African Virtual University, an online learning network; Kenyatta University in Nairobi; Moi University; W.U.S.C.; Windle Trust Kenya; York University and U.B.C. From these meetings, Borderless Higher Education for Refugees was born. “We knew it would be big in terms of resources, organization and thinking,” said Wenona Giles, a professor at York University and a co-leader of the project, in the New York Times Oct. 6. “We are going to be offering degree programs and that had not been done before, so that took a lot of chutzpah.” Read full story.

Canadians released from Cairo prison unable to leave Egypt
Two Canadians released this weekend from an Egyptian prison have been barred from flying out of the country, reported CTV News and others Oct. 6. John Greyson, a Toronto filmmaker and York University professor, and Tarek Loubani, a physician from London, Ont., checked in Sunday at the Cairo airport for a flight to Frankfurt, Germany, where they would have transferred to a flight to Canada, but were prevented from boarding because their names were on a “no flight” list….Greyson’s sister, Cecilia, told CTV News Channel that Canadian consular staff had been working through “red tape” to complete the necessary paperwork to get her brother and Loubani out of the country. Read full story.

Longer lifespans demand new investing approaches
Longer lifespans require sharper thinking about how you divide your money between stocks and bonds….“I’ve never been a fan of 100 minus your age,” said Moshe Milevsky, co-author of Pensionize Your Nest Egg and a finance professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, in The Globe and Mail Oct. 4. “It’s a very blunt instrument.” Nor does Prof. Milevsky like modifications of the 100 minus your age rule that use 110 or even 120 to get a higher level of exposure to stocks. He prefers to mix stocks and bonds according to personalized factors, such as whether someone has a pension, their health outlook in retirement, the value of their home, their debt levels and their interest in leaving money to others after death. Read full story.

Professors defend costs of textbooks
The cost of textbooks has been a matter of contention for students and faculty for years, especially amidst rising tuition costs in recent years, reported The Varsity Oct. 7….Professor Avi Cohen teaches economics at U of T and York University, and has helped co-write the textbook for his course, as well as publish eight editions of study guides for economics. His textbook is bundled with the online resource MyEconLab, where students complete online quizzes for 15 per cent of their final grade. While Cohen admits that a student could successfully take the course relying solely on this e-resource, he states that the cost of losing the educational support that a textbook gives is much higher than the cost of the book itself. Read full story.

Calgary-based mining company suing Costa Rica for more than $1 billion
A billion-dollar showdown is looming in Central America this week as a Calgary-based mining company Infinito Gold announced it will sue the country of Costa Rica for violating its trade agreements with Canada….International arbitration expert and Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Gus Van Harten says Infinito Gold may have a case. Through international trade agreements signed between countries, international arbitrators have the power to override court and government decisions of sovereign countries. “So on the one hand, in a way, it’s the Costa Rican government’s fault,” said Van Harten in Global News Oct. 4. He also says the international arbitration system is tainted, and that arbitrators, who are given immense power to settle disputes, aren’t proper judges. Read full story.

Can Tehran be trusted?
This year’s presidential elections in Iran initially seemed to offer little possibility of change….Hassan Rouhani’s surprise victory was overwhelming. He won more than 50 per cent of the popular vote, tripling the support earned by his closest rival. “He’s an establishment man. Don’t forget it,” said York University political science Professor Saeed Rahnema in Maclean’s Oct. 3. “But he now represents elements that think confronting America has not been working and has damaged Iran and that it is better for the Islamic Republic to have this rapprochement.” Read full story.

York pursuing libel action against Toronto Life

York University is taking legal action against Toronto Life over a recent article about sexual assaults at the school, reported Now Magazine Sept. 27. The story, which appears in the October issue of the magazine, is titled “Fortress York” and examines a string of on-campus attacks that the author purports have made the school infamous for sex assaults….In a statement posted to the school’s news service on Sept. 17, York President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri said the article “presents a wholly distorted picture of women’s safety on the campus of York University.” Read full story.