Victor Dahdaleh supports neuroscience at McGill University
The Victor Dahdaleh Foundation – the charitable organisation of Canadian business leader and philanthropist Victor Dahdaleh – has announced a major donation to McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
The donation, which was announced at the Canadian High Commission in London, will be used to establish a new Chair in neurosciences at McGill’s Faculty of Medicine, and to expand an existing scholarship programme also backed by the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation.
McGill’s status as a global centre of brain research has also received an additional boost with the announcement of an $84million grant from the Federal Government’s Canada First Excellence Research Fund (CFREF) – an award Victor Dahdaleh was instrumental in securing.
Mr Dahdaleh, a McGill alumnus who has served on the board of the McGill University Trust since 1994 said: “I am honoured to support McGill’s ground-breaking work in neuroscience and to expand my commitment to a new generation of international students by providing scholarships to one of the world’s finest institutions of higher learning.”
The new Chair will build on McGill’s existing world-class research in neuroscience to develop an integrated approach to the study of chronic brain disease, incorporating diverse clinical disciplines including neurology, psychiatry and rehabilitation science.
In particular, the new programme will support ground-breaking work in neuroinformatics – a growing field involving computational analysis of neuroscience data to search for effective treatments of numerous disorders including Alzheimer’s, autism, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.
Speaking at the event at Canada House, McGill Principal and Vice-Chancellor Suzanne Fortier said: “This profound gesture of generosity by Victor Dahdaleh will contribute to McGill’s excellence in neuroscience, further our understanding of the brain and eventually translate into therapies for clinical treatment. His investment, which builds on decades of leadership in brain research at McGill and its Montreal Neurological Institute, will have a major impact on our understanding of brain function and disease, helping us address one of the great scientific and humanitarian challenges of the 21st century.”
Further funding has also been provided for an existing scholarship programme at McGill, established in 2007 by the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation to offer 16 annual scholarships – in perpetuity – to outstanding full-time undergraduates from low-income countries. This latest contribution from the Foundation will double this endowment, which will now fund 32 annual awards – also in perpetuity.
Both donations are matched dollar-for-dollar by McGill and other funders.
The neuroscience donation represents one of a number of programmes of medical research supported by the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation. In the UK, the Foundation is an established supporter of research into cardiovascular disease, and has funded grants for numerous academic studies at Imperial College London and at Royal Brompton Hospital in London and Middlesex – the UK’s largest specialist heart and lung centre.
Gordon Campbell, Canada’s High Commissioner to the UK, said the donation was a milestone for McGill and higher education in Canada. “This generous contribution from a McGill alumnus will not only support neuroscience research, but also ensure that Canadacontinues to play an active role in providing a world-class education to talented students from around the world,” he said.
The Victor Dahdaleh Foundation is committed to supporting education, health and wellness, and social and economic development initiatives around the world. At York University in Canada, Mr Dahdaleh recently funded the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health, a state-of-the art research facility which was funded by a record $20million donation to the university. The new institute will work with a network of global and local partners to reframe the ways in which high- and low-income countries collaborate on global health challenges.
In the UK, Victor Dahdaleh is an Honorary Fellow at London School of Economics, where he has funded a range of new initiatives and backed a scholarship programme to enable disadvantaged students from overseas to study at the school.
The Victor Dahdaleh Foundation’s support for education extends to Africa, where it is a donor to the Ethiopia-based Northwood African Educational Trust, which manages a school for orphans in the northwest of the country. St George’s School in the Azezo area of Gondar province provides free, high quality education for 200 of the area’s most vulnerable children.
Alongside these charitable roles, Mr Dahdaleh is a Fellow of the Duke of Edinburgh Award World Fellowship, a global network of supporters established in 1987 to extend the Duke of Edinburgh Award to young people around the world.
Victor Dahdaleh is the owner and chairman of Dadco, a privately owned investment, manufacturing and trading group established in 1915. A lifelong promoter of closer collaboration between Canada and the UK, he served as president of the Canada-United Kingdom Chamber of Commerce from 2004 to 2009.