Building a strong, multi-faceted and mutually beneficial Canada-Israel relationship is at the core of our work as Jewish and pro-Israel advocates. In this effort, nowhere is there greater potential than in the field of academic research and technology.
I am pleased to share with you an historic agreement signed today between the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (the AUCC) – which represents 97 Canadian universities and colleges – and the Association of University Heads of Israel. The agreement commits both to “work together in order to facilitate, promote and support international research collaboration between Israeli and Canadian universities”, representing an important escalation of already burgeoning Canada-Israel academic ties.
The signing ceremony took place during a mission to Israel – co-hosted by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs – of Canadian university presidents, including from Simon Fraser University, University of Calgary, University of Saskatchewan, Queen’s University, Concordia University, and St. Francis Xavier University. For years, the Centre has worked to identify and foster natural partnerships between Canadian universities and their Israeli counterparts. In particular, this work has involved regular missions to Israel of university officials, faculty, and student leaders, enabling Canada’s top academics to connect with world-class Israeli institutions, including Hebrew University, the Technion, the Weizmann Institute, and Tel Aviv University – to name just a few. We are proud to have partnered in this effort with Ambassador Miriam Ziv, who has made a priority of deepening bilateral relations in the fields of education and scientific research.
Delegation of university presidents from across Canada with Dylan Hanley of CIJA and Christine Tausig Ford of the AUCC, at the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada of Hebrew University.
Just as it is important to fight anti-Israel rhetoric where it manifests itself, it is critical that we share with our fellow Canadians the story of Israel as the world’s “Start Up Nation”. More importantly, we must translate this compelling story into practical, on-the-ground and in-the-lab partnerships between the best minds in Canada and Israel. As AUCC Vice-President Christine Tausig Ford noted: “Canada and Israel share a common commitment to educational attainment and research excellence, and are among the best in the world in these important indicators of global leadership. Increased collaboration with universities in Israel will strengthen the research and teaching missions of Canada’s universities and benefit both countries’ economies.”
Indeed, today’s agreement not only lays the foundation for further collaboration that will yield mutual academic and economic benefits. It emphatically underscores the values Canada and Israel share as fellow democracies committed to high-quality education, open markets, and – above all – freedom.
As Jewish and pro-Israel Canadians, today’s announcement is very much worthy of celebration.