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Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge

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Message from the President
Team Leads
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Message from the President

Mamdouh Shoukri

We want to fully engage with and encourage the support of the entire York community – students, staff, faculty, alumni and donors – in this very important initiative. While this global crisis requires a global response, we strongly believe that, together with our university partners in the GTA, there is much we can do as a local community to coordinate and augment our efforts.

Mamdouh Shoukri
President and Vice-Chancellor, York University

Team Leads

Osgoode Hall Law School is committed to the pursuit of justice through law. This commitment has led to a long tradition of education, scholarship, community engagement and activism in the refugee context, both in Canada and globally.

The Osgoode community (faculty, students, staff, and alumni) is embarking on the Lifeline Syria Challenge in order to make a positive difference in the Global Refugee Crisis, and as part of a broader effort to support refugee communities, and the families fleeing conflict and chaos and seeking a new beginning in Canada.

Team Lead: Lorne Sossin

York University Sociologists and Friends are frustrated with how wars, profiteering and political posturing are forcing people from their homes, and how our immigration system is stopping them from getting to safety.

We say, "refugees are welcome in our communities."

The unprecedented humanitarian crisis has prompted us, as Canadians and the descendants of immigrants ourselves, to take action and connect with global citizens in need. We embrace the opportunity to introduce a Syrian family to a welcoming Toronto. Through team leader Jeff Galway, a graduate of Osgoode Hall, our group of ten friends and many more supporters is able to partner with York and access the university’s resources and expertise.

Team Members: Joe and Marilyn Calderone, Jeff and Holly Galway, Betty and Gavin Ivory, Norah and Paul Oulahen, Mary and Mark Shea

The creative thinkers, makers, innovators, and advocates in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design are passionate about social justice. Now, during this time of humanitarian crisis stemming from civil war in Syria, twelve million people – half of the country’s population – are displaced and homeless. Four million of those live in exile beyond Syria’s borders.

AMPD for Syria is a powerful opportunity to give hope to a family that has been uprooted from their existence. Through the Lifeline Syria Challenge we will bring a family of four to the GTA. As the circumstances for Syrians continue to deteriorate, together we can provide an opportunity for hope and resilience to flourish. Please join us in contributing to AMPD for Syria. For more info contact

The Faculty of Health is committed to keeping people healthier, longer, and for Syrian refugees that starts with a new home, safe from conflict. That is why we are pleased to join the efforts of our colleagues across York University and at Ryerson, University of Toronto and OCAD, in establishing a ‘Team Health’ to raise funds and support a family of Syrian refugees.

​We are committed to providing not only financial support but also the talents of faculty, students and staff who volunteer to join Team Health to ease the transition of a family to a new and healthy life in Canada. This crisis underscores our important focus on Global Health and commitment to social justice. Team Health is proud to offer our support and invite you to join us.

Team Lead: Harvey Skinner

The faculty, staff and students of the Music Department at York University, along with our families and many friends, are committed to welcoming a Syrian family to Toronto, and helping them to thrive. Like so many other Canadians, we are compelled by the plight of Syrians forced to leave their homes, jobs, schools, and friends, through no fault of their own. Our group is small, but diverse and dedicated, and drawn together by a need to respond to fellow mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers - in crisis.

We are a group of scholars and activists committed to justice and to fostering welcoming environments for intercultural contact and collaboration. Individually and as a group we welcome the opportunity to participate in helping a family settle in Toronto and join our community. We have come together to support them as they make this city their home.

Team Lead: María Constanza Guzmán

We are a group of friends with connections to the Mathematics and Statistics department at York University. Many of us are immigrants to Canada ourselves and feel especially grateful for the quality of life that we have here. The urgency of this crisis has encouraged us to act to sponsor a family.

Team lead: Mike Zabrocki

We are Social Science students at York University, assisted by faculty and community members, seeking your help to sponsor a Syrian refugee family. As is common at York, most of us are recent immigrants ourselves. Our third-year experiential education course, Work for a Change, is designed to teach us strategic organizing, research and communications skills.

We want to use our new skills to help others find safety and security in Canada. Please help us help a family suffering from war and chronic insecurity.

We are grateful for the opportunity and privilege to offer refuge and safe haven for a Syrian family. In undertaking this project we are motivated by the urgency and injustice of this human disaster and reminded of our own families’ and friends’ histories of sacrifice and oppression. As a group of over 15 Torontonians, with support from the Faculty of Environmental Studies, through Prof. Sarah Flicker and students, we are ready for this

transformational experience of sponsoring a refugee family and committed to supporting their settlement process. Please consider joining us and making a donation.

Team lead: Sarah Flicker

We are a group of labour arbitrators, professional neutrals, resolving disputes between employers and unions throughout Ontario and Canada. Like all Canadians, we were moved by the plight of Syrian refugees and resolved to do what we could to help. We chose the Osgoode Hall Law School - York University Lifeline Syria Challenge because it is ready – with sponsorship teams ready to go – to use the money we raised to fund the resettlement of one or more Syrian refugee families, and to allow individual donors, if they wish, to become personally involved and work with Osgoode faculty and students.

Click here to learn more about the Osgoode Hall Law School initiative and to see a full list of donors.


Contact us

To contact and learn more about York’s Syria Response and Refugee Initiative, including its participation in the Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge, please click here.