Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced three fellowships for students
at the University of Toronto Friday.
In addition, Blair announced that the university will be the host post-secondary institution for the Tony Blair Faith Fellowship program.
“The Tony Blair Faith Foundation program is an exciting exploration
of how faith communities can contribute to the common good in civil
society,” said Richard Chambers, director of the university’s
“The choice of three University of Toronto students
in the inaugural selection of fellows is a reflection of the
university’s wider commitment to developing life long scholars
contributing to ethical decision-making in a multi-faith global
The Tony Blair Faith Foundation aims to increase understanding
between faith communities throughout the world through inter-faith
encounter and action.
The Foundation has launched Faiths Act as an
opportunity for people around the world of all faiths to work together
in pursuit of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),
one of which is the battle against malaria.
The Faiths Act Fellows leadership program
will support 30 exceptional young people, aged 18-25, from Canada, the
United States and Britain as they begin a journey as ambassadors for
interfaith service and the Millennium Development Goals.
The fellowships for the three U of T students involve a 10-month
internship to explore the role of faith communities contributing to the
common good in civil society.
Specifically, the fellows will be charged
with raising awareness about the United Nations Millennium Development
Goals and the eradication of malaria.
They get training with Blair in
London, a month-long exposure trip to Africa, a $25,000 stipend, a
laptop and a cellphone and follow-up placement for eight months with a
host organization in Canada.
• Biographical sketches of the three UofT Fellows •
Hilary is 22 years old, Christian, and is currently pursuing a degree
in education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the
University of Toronto. She graduated from McGill with a bachelor’s
degree in world religions, political science and French language in May
2008. Hilary gained experience in interfaith work as a volunteer under
the supervision of Anthony Mansour at the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism
where she gained exposure to interfaith projects on both the micro and
macro levels. She is fluently bilingual in French and English and has
networks with faith communities in both Montreal and Toronto. Hilary is
inspired to mobilize other young people to form interfaith
relationships and further the MDGs.
Areeba is a 22 years old, Muslim, and is completing her Bachelor of
Arts in human biology and geography at the University of Toronto. She
is fluent in English and Urdu. She has a passion and demonstrated track
record for community service. She has served as the director of
volunteers and campus relations with Meal Exchange at the University of
Toronto where she has also served on the governance committee and
community serve subcommittees of the Multi-Faith Centre. She has
extensive experience with Centre for Community Partnerships while at
university, volunteering and organizing a host of events to assist
students in making a difference in the wider community.
Danny is 23 years old, Jewish, and is currently serving as the national
program director of Canadian Young Judea. He received a Bachelor of
Arts in religion from the University of Toronto. Danny was invited as a
youth representative to the Canadian launch of the Faiths Act
Fellowship and was inspired to apply for the fellowship after meeting
Tony Blair at the Toronto launch event. Danny has demonstrated his
ability to speak with ease in front of dignitaries and was invited by
the Governor-General of Canada to visit five countries in Africa as one
of two youth ambassadors. He has a long history of involvement with
youth, from serving on the national board of Youth Judea to starting a
community organization called The House where young Jews can come
together to discuss relevant topical issues in an open, welcoming
atmosphere. With his clear vision of purpose and ample organizing
experience, Danny will excel at mobilizing young people of diverse
faiths to champion the MDGs.