Canada and the UK: closer together and looking ahead
It is a special year for my country.
In this month 150 years ago, the nation that brought us the light bulb, insulin, the walkie-talkie, Donald Sutherland and peanut butter, was formed.
In July 1867, the British North America Act merged four former British colonies into a single new country: Canada.
Since then, the two nations have had a profound and positive influence upon one another. They share a sovereign, HM Queen Elizabeth II, and a continuous tradition of parliamentary democracy.
The two countries are forever linked by a myriad of individual tales and relationships, and we shouldn’t forget either that commercially the UK is Canada’s fifth-largest trade partner.
As a proud Canadian living in London, UK, it is my mission to further the good relations between the country of my home, and the country of my heart.
Through our work with the Maple Leaf Trust, the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation has supported some of the best and brightest Canadian postgraduate students in the UK with the Canadian Centennial Scholarship Fund. It’s essential that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds can develop in our very best learning environments.
The Foundation also donates to the Trust’s Veterans’ Support Committee, established in 1949 to support the 20,000 Canadian veterans of the two World Wars who remained in the UK after they took their discharge.
To strengthen the ties between experts and policymakers, the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation has been an established supporter of the Canada-UK colloquium. From the sparks of this bilateral initiative, a network of parliamentarians, officials, academics, businesspeople, journalists, students and many others has been forged.
And on the arts scene, the Foundation is the principal sponsor of the Canada House Gallery in Trafalgar Square, London. The site has been at the centre of Canada’s presence in the UK for nearly a century, and its enviable exhibitions give talented Canadian artists the opportunity to showcase their work and promote Canadian culture.
In Canada itself, we support some of the country’s leading academic institutions, sponsoring scholarship schemes at the universities of York, McGill, and St Francis Xavier.
York University is among several academic organisations partnered with the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation to deliver cutting-edge research programmes. In 2015, the Foundation made a record $20million donation to help fund the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research – a state-of-the art facility addressing some of the most pressing issues of our time.
McGill University, located in Montreal, is one of the world’s leading centres of medical-doctoral research. The Foundation matches the funds for an endowment in perpetuity for 32 scholarships, targeting international students from low-income countries.
These are some of the ways in which we are maintaining close ties with some of Canada’s best institutions, supporting advances in healthcare as well as greater educational opportunities and artistic endeavour. In this momentous year for Canada, we must keep looking ahead and striving for closer partnership and collaboration. And we must also reflect on our common roots and common causes.