U of T Responds to Crisis in Syria

"We have watched news of the Syrian refugee crisis with overwhelming distress, sorrow, and frustration. Our reaction has been all the more visceral, particularly here at the University of Toronto, as we witness the disproportionate impact on young people and children.20150217_MericGertler

As in other parts of the world, local communities and neighbourhoods across our country, our province, and our city are joining an urgent, global response to the tragedy, profoundly demonstrating that empathy and kinship know no political or geographic bounds. I am proud to be part of one such community.

The University of Toronto is a collection of many diverse people, with different aims and purposes, but with a common goal of somehow making the world a better place. There are many examples of research, scholarship, and teaching from across our academic community that directly touch on issues raised by the crisis."(Read the president's complete statement on Syria.)

President Meric Gertler

Initiatives Underway

Current initiatives span five areas – Research, Scholarship and Education; Refugee Sponsorship; Expanded Scholars at Risk Program; Students, Faculty, and Staff Initiatives; and Medical and Dental Faculty and Student Initiatives.

Research, Scholarship and Education

The Program in Ethnic, Immigration, and Pluralism Studies and the Global Migration Research Institute at the Munk School of Global Affairs

University of Toronto Scarborough campus series of public talks and lectures about refugee and migration issues

North American Refugee Health Conference, one of the largest clinical conferences on refugee health in the world led and hosted by the University of Toronto’s health sciences community.

Refugee Sponsorship

University of Toronto joined Ryerson University, York and OCAD in the Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge to privately sponsor and help resettle 300 refugees in Toronto. To date, Toronto’s network of universities has raised more than $4 million, formed 100 teams, and helped 15 Syrian families, consisting of 93 people, to settle in Canada.

In addition to being a part of the Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge, University of Toronto has two additional teams that together are sponsoring 5 families and are raising over $160,000.

Scholars at Risk Program

President Gertler announced that University of Toronto's “Scholars-At-Risk” program at Massey College will be expanded with a new bursary for students at risk. The goal is to create a $1 million fund supporting 100 bursaries of $10,000 each, which the University would award over the next 10 years.

Extension of the program will include undergraduate and graduate students with refugee status in Canada. U of T is committing $500,000 to match donations of any size from students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters.

Student, Faculty and Staff Initiatives

There are numerous student, faculty and staff initiatives across all three campuses. You can read more about them In the News and Events

U of T Medical Refugee Clinic

Crossroads Clinic at Women’s College hospital – The first hospital-based refugee health clinic in Toronto, started by Dr. Meb Rashid, a professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM) at U of T.

U of T Dental Refugee Clinic

Faculty of dentistry has a long history of treating refugees. The clinic is located at 101 Elm Street and is open to walk-ins or by appointment 416-979-4900.