It’s a first for the University of Aruba’s Faculty of Law, and a first for York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School.
With the signing of a student exchange and faculty mobility agreement on Oct. 7, the University of Aruba has its first ever exchange partner, and Osgoode has its first and only Caribbean exchange partner. (Aruba is a small Dutch Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela with a booming tourist industry because of its dry, sunny climate, sandy beaches and gentle surf.)
“It’s the first official agreement we have between the University of Aruba, the Government of Aruba, and a Canadian higher institution,” said Michelle Hooyboer-Winklaar (BA ’92), Aruba’s Minister of Education, Family Policy and Lifelong Learning, who was at Osgoode to sign the agreement as a representative of the University of Aruba. “We’re so pleased to be able to form this partnership.”
Other signatories to the agreement were Osgoode Dean Lorne Sossin and Marilyn Lambert-Drache, associate vice-president international for York. Also on hand for the signing ceremony in Osgoode’s boardroom were Osgoode Professors Carys Craig, associate dean, Research & Institutional Relations, and François Tanguay-Renaud, director of the Jack & Mae Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security.
Sossin said Osgoode is really excited to develop partnerships in Aruba in part because “we share a real sense, I think, of belief in democratic traditions and the rule of law and how to navigate between them.
“This is exactly the kind of experience to be encouraged, where you get faculty and students ideally travelling back and forth between two jurisdictions, where you introduce new ideas, and you ventilate our understanding of principles that matter to us,” he said.
The exchange agreement between Aruba and Osgoode, which has a well-established semester exchange program with universities around the globe, will allow Aruba and Osgoode to each receive up to two second- or third-year JD students per semester. In addition, Osgoode faculty or PhD students will be invited to Aruba as guest lecturers to fulfill teaching needs there.
Hooyboer-Winklaar said the notion of the Aruba-Osgoode partnership followed Netherlands’ King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima’s state visit to Canada in May, who arrived for the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Holland when Canadian troops helped drive the Nazis out of the country at the end of the Second World War.
Education was one of the key topics of discussion throughout the occasion of the anniversary, said Hooyboer-Winklaar.
“It was the springboard to say ‘What else can we do to make sure we can collaborate, that there are other opportunities that we can take advantage of?’,” she said. “This was the byproduct of that first initial meeting in May, and hopefully more to come.