On the occasion of Professor Saeed Rahnema’s retirement from York University, the School of Public Policy and Administration and the Department of Equity Studies combined to recognize his outstanding contribution to their respective programs and to York University with a reception in his honour at The Underground on Thursday, Nov. 12. The evening featured a number of dignitaries, special guests, and senior York University administrators as well as immediate family members, friends and former students. During his 21 years at York University, Rahnema established himself as a leading teacher, especially for his course on War and Peace in the Middle East.
The evening’s program – co-chaired by Professors Minoo Derayeh, chair of the Department of Equity Studies, and James Simeon, director of the School of Public Policy and Administration – featured presentations from York University President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri; Vice-President Academic and Provost Rhonda Lenton; Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies Dean Ananya Mukherjee-Reed; and Rahnema’s partner, Professor Haideh Moghissi, senior scholar and Trudeau Fellow. Also in attendance was MPP Reza Moridi, the Minister of Research and Innovation and the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. In addition, there were other senior York University officials including Dean Emeritus of the former Faculty of Arts at York University Robert Drummond and Professor David Leyton-Brown, master of McLaughlin College. A number of long-serving faculty dropped by to extend their greetings and well wishes to Professors Rahnema and Moghissi.
Derayeh stated that Rahnema’s excellent teaching has been recognized by a number of awards: The Government of Ontario’s Leadership in Faculty Teaching Award; York University Senate Committee on Teaching and Learning University-wide Teaching Excellence Award; and numerous times cited by Maclean’s Magazine as one of the most popular professors at York University. She noted that Rahnema actively pursued important research and consultancy activities: was collaborator in several major international research projects funded by SSHRC, CIDA and the Ford Foundation; helped in the restructuring and establishment of a number of institutions and training programs for civil servants in Canada and abroad.
Among Rahnema’s many accomplishments and achievements at York University one stands out in particular, helping to found the School of Public Policy and Administration (SPPA) and act as its founding Director. Professor James C. Simeon, current SPPA Director, presented Professor Rahnema with a Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of the SPPA faculty, staff, students and alumni, stating, “…that without the dedicated effort and leadership of Professor Rahnema there would not be a School of Public Policy and Administration at York University.”
Shoukri, Lenton, and Mukherjee-Reed, each praised Rahnema’s teaching and his commitment to his students.
Moridi said that he has known Rahnema for many years and has the greatest respect for his scholarship on the Middle East and his skills, abilities and understanding of public policy. He stated it is “Professors like Saeed Rahnema that provide their university with the sustained energy, enthusiasm and leadership to achieve great things.”
Moghissi was also invited to say a few words in honour of her partner’s retirement. She noted how deeply dedicated he is to everything that he takes on in life, whether its his teaching, research, his family, political activity and even his cooking.
After accepting his Certificate of Appreciation, Rahnema, thanked all those who supported him throughout his years at York University.