Skip navigation
Margin Notes

The new face of Canadian university presidents

They came to Canada for their graduate studies, and stayed.

BY LÉO CHARBONNEAU | NOV 25 2010

The University of Prince Edward Island’s board of directors announced yesterday it has selected Alaa S. Abd-El-Aziz as the university’s next president. Dr. Abd-El-Aziz, who is currently the provost at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus, will take the helm of UPEI next July. Born in Cairo, he moved to Canada in 1985.

While I don’t wish to make too much of this (although a blog post may be doing just that), I note that he joins other Canadian university presidents such as: Amit Chakma (University of Western Ontario), Feridun Hamdullahpur (University of Waterloo), Mamdouh Shoukri (York University), Indira V. Samarasekera (University of Alberta) and George Iwama (University of Northern British Columbia).

Each born outside Canada, all of these individuals deserve recognition for their accomplishments irrespective of their places of origin. But, it is interesting to note that most of them came to Canada initially for their graduate studies and stayed. They are joined by several other university presidents in Canada who came here from the more traditional source countries of Western Europe and other English-speaking nations.

There has been much talk recently within the higher-ed sector and government circles that Canada needs to attract the best and the brightest from around the world. If these individuals are any indication, we are succeeding at least in one arena.

ABOUT LÉO CHARBONNEAU
Léo Charbonneau
Léo Charbonneau is the editor of University Affairs.
COMMENTS
Post a comment
University Affairs moderates all comments according to the following guidelines. If approved, comments generally appear within one business day. We may republish particularly insightful remarks in our print edition or elsewhere.

Your email address will not be published.

  1. Smokey / November 25, 2010 at 21:20

    “There has been much talk recently within the higher-ed sector and government circles that Canada needs to attract the best and the brightest from around the world. If these individuals are any indication, we are succeeding at least in one arena.”

    I don’t quite know how to read this and have to ask, what do you mean?

    What is it about them that makes you think they do not all 3 things — bright! — best! — and also from ‘around the world’?

    A stodgy uni will keep hiring the members of the closed circuit club and forever remain stodgy. More progressive universities which are aware that they are now completing in a global marketplace will think out of the box. I applaud these universities for hiring these people and I am sure they did hire “the best”, “the brightest” that applied, and they also happen to be from the other side of the world.