York University President and Vice Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri and Robert Haché, York vice-president research and innovation, have completed a successful mission to the Middle East.
The mission took place from May 15 to 20 and was led by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. More than 120 representatives from postsecondary institutions, public and private sector organizations accompanied the premier on the mission, which was organized to promote the exchange of information and knowledge, seek opportunities for collaboration and sign new business agreements.
During the mission, York’s president signed a number of important memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with leading postsecondary institutions in Israel and the West Bank.
On May 16, the president signed a renewed MOU with Tel Aviv University. The five-year agreement will provide students with educational opportunities, promote interest in the teaching and research activities of each institution, and engage in faculty and student exchanges. The agreement will see the two institutions collaborate on seminars, research projects and conferences.
On May 19, Shoukri took part in a Daughters for Life Scholarship Awards Ceremony and signed an agreement with Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish (LLD [Hon.] ’15), the founder and president of the charity and a professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. The agreement was also signed by McMaster University, and will provide 10 young women currently living in Egypt, Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria, as well as most other countries located in the Middle East region, with the opportunity to study in Ontario. One scholarship per year at each institution will be awarded for five years. The scholarships reflect the mandate of the Daughters for Life Foundation that lasting peace in the Middle East depends on empowering girls and young women through education.
York University entered into an MOU with Bethlehem University on May 20. The MOU outlines the cooperation between the two institutions in the areas of education, research and community service, including developing training and internship programs, exchanging faculty members and working together on research projects.
“Working with world-class institutions such as Bethlehem University allows York University to continue to expand our outlook and deepen our global impact,” said Shoukri during the signing ceremony. “Thanks to this agreement, we will be able to provide students in the humanities, business, social sciences, science and health with valuable experiential learning opportunities at an excellent university.”
The MOU with the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is a five-year agreement to collaborate on student and faculty exchanges, study abroad opportunities, joint research projects and initiatives and the staging of joint seminars, conferences and academic meetings.
“Thanks to this partnership, students and researchers from York University and Technion will be able to engage in mutually beneficial international research partnerships, student learning experiences, faculty exchanges and international recruitment,” said Shoukri.
As part of the mission, Shoukri and Haché met with researchers in life sciences and technology and representatives at universities in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa in Israel, and Ramallah and Bethlehem in the West Bank.
The mission was organized by the Province of Ontario to build on existing relationships, create new partnerships and attract investment to the province. Several leaders from Ontario institutions accompanied the Premier to the West Bank, where they sought opportunities to collaborate with Palestinian partners on innovation and education initiatives.
Mission delegates were joined by Dr. Eric Hoskins, minister of health and long-term care, Reza Moridi, minister of research and innovation, and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade Monte Kwinter.
York University has numerous existing agreements with postsecondary institutions in the Middle East, including Al-Quds University, Bar-Ilan University, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University. In addition, the University is home to the Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies, Canada’s first interdisciplinary research centre in Jewish Studies. The York University Visiting Professorship in Israel Studies was inaugurated in 2008 through the Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies.
York University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Jewish Studies, a York-Hebrew U Graduate Diploma in Jewish Studies for Educators, a Graduate Diploma in Advanced Hebrew and Jewish Studies, a Graduate Diploma in Jewish Studies, and an advanced undergraduate certificate in Advanced Hebrew and Jewish Studies.