When scanning the academic fields of study at higher education institutions including the University of Toronto, a recognizable gap exists that signals the erasure of the study of Palestine and that we suggest contributes to Palestinian students and many other Middle Eastern identities often feeling invisible, erased and/or unsafe on campus. This issue was recently amplified and highlighted by U of T Censure that resulted in numerous academic boycotts.
As students, we believe it is extremely important to hold space for an open dialogue and discussion to:
- Provide a general overview on the importance of studying Palestine as a critical component to understanding the history and current issues facing the Middle East.
- Provide an in-depth discussion on the vital role and responsibility higher education institutions have in providing the study of Palestine to their students.
- Attempt to unpack why other highly acclaimed universities like the University of London and Columbia University prioritize Palestinian Studies departments while others, like the University of Toronto, opt out.
- Promote a call to action to encourage a “Palestine Studies” program at U of T that we believe would help raise the overall academic standards, enhance our student learning experience, and broaden student perspectives.
Student at the Munk School for Global Affairs and Public Policy
Lina Lashin is a graduating student at the Munk School for Global Affairs and Public Policy, earning her degree from Trudeau’s Centre for Peace, Conflict and Justice Studies, with minors in African Studies and Near Middle Eastern Studies. Her academic interests include the study of institutions and governance, Arab intellectual history, and the relationships between Law and society. These interests are exemplified in her positions on student unions, academic journals, conferences, research committees and mentorship programs. Lina is deeply interested in enhancing student experience at the University of Toronto, particularly through meaningful community partnership and cultivating space for robust dialogue and debate.
Founder of Buycott Palestines
Sabrine Azraq is the found of Buycott Palenstines a call to support, trade with, invest in, and collaborate with Palestinian businesses, organizations. She is also part of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women and manages their national projects. She works with the Honourable Senator Marilou McPhedran on projects pertaining to Muslim youth and the Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA). She obtained a Master of Education from the University of Toronto's Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Prior to this, she completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto Scarborough, where she co-founded Toronto Students for Justice in Palestine and co-led the implementation of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS).
Palestinian student and organizer in exile
Shatha AbuAhmad is a Palestinian student and organizer in exile, who utilizes social media as a means of countering propaganda, disrupting spaces and providing accessible information about the occupation. Her primary area of interest is the field of decolonial studies and strives for a free Palestine within our lifetimes. Follow Shatha on Twitter @nonshathaa