A partnership between the University of Waterloo, Faculty of Arts, and the Shawky Fahel family has established the Foundation for Palestinian Studies. This website is operated by the Friends of the Foundation for Palestinian Studies. Our goal is to support the University of Waterloo and its work in the area of Palestinian Studies through financial contributions, volunteer work and by promoting the Foundation to our networks. Through the Friends of the Foundation for Palestinian Studies, fundraising activities will be undertaken to augment and support the work of the University of Waterloo. We will also provide members and volunteers with news and updates about the Foundation’s activities as well as  news and stories about the Palestinian people.

Shawky Fahel

shawky fahel, friends of palestinian
Shawky Fahel came to Canada over fifty years ago. As a successful businessman and entrepreneur, Shawky and his family are making a generous gift to the University of Waterloo in recognition of what Canada has given to them. The Fahel family contribution is establishing the Foundation for Palestinian Studies at the University. Mr. Fahel’s ambition is to make the Foundation and University of Waterloo the major North American centre for Palestinian studies.

The Cabinet

RheumatologistFaculty Member, McMaster University

Rafat Faraawi

Faculty Member, McMaster University

Rafat Faraawi is a licensed Rheumatologist in Kitchener, Ontario. He is also an Associate Clinical Professor in the Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, at McMaster University, Hamilton Ontario.

Rafat has been the Principal Investigator in over 30 clinical research trials and has authored more than 50 abstracts and publications. He is the Principal Investigator with the Kitchener-Waterloo Musculoskeletal Research Inc and the Consultant Rheumatologist with both the Grand River Hospital and St Mary’s Hospital, Waterloo Region.

Don Baker

Don Baker

“I am very pleased to endorse the Foundation for Palestinian Studies whose mission is to promote mutual knowledge and understanding in a troubled part of the world. Having lived and worked for many years in the Middle East, I am keenly aware of the sensibilities involved. I support all efforts to encourage reconciliation and to build the foundations for a peaceful and fairer future for the Palestinian people.”

Dr. Donald N. Baker has played major strategic roles in higher education in Canada and the Middle East.

In Canada, he was President of Mount Royal College (now University), Vice-President Academic of Wilfrid Laurier University, and Director of the Secretariat for Ontario’s Postsecondary Education Quality Assessment Board (PEQAB).

Dr. Baker has served as Dean and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at United Arab Emirates University, as Advisor to the President of Qatar University, and as Executive Dean of the Qatar campus of Virginia Commonwealth University.

He served on the international team that reviewed the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI). He twice formally reviewed the Qualifications Framework of the United Arab Emirates, once for the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) and again for the National Qualifications Authority. Also served as a member and secretary of the International Association of Assurance Agencies for Higher Education (INQAAHE).

He has authored or co-edited four books:

  • Landmarks in Western Culture: Commentaries and Controversies, 2 vols. (1968);
  • The Making of Frenchmen: New Directions in the History of Education in France, 1689-1989 (1989);
  • Catch the Gleam: Mount Royal, from College to University, 1910-2010 (2011).
  • Reaching Higher: Qatar University, 1977-2015 (Qatar University, 2016).

Dr. Baker has also written about quality assurance in higher education – e.g., Donald N. Baker and Terry Miosi, “The Quality of Degree Education in Canada,” Research in Comparative and International Education 5 (2010): 1-32.

Dr. Baker was born in Vancouver, Canada. He holds an Honours BA in history and international studies from the University of British Columbia and an AM and PhD. in history from Stanford University. He is married to Heather Dianne Baker and is the father of three adult children and grandfather of six children.


Heather Baker


“I am pleased to be part of the Foundation for Palestinian Studies and to help in whatever way I can expand knowledge of the Palestinian situation to the public.”

Heather Baker has spent many years working in the volunteer sector as a board and foundation member, fundraiser, event chair and board chair or president. She has been President of Alberta Ballet Company, the United Way of Kitchener-Waterloo and the Ontario director of the Mount Royal College (now University) Foundation. Heather’s career spanned from senior university administrative support, to communications and small business management.


David Viveash


“Having represented Canada in both Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, I very much welcome the establishment of the Foundation for Palestinian Studies and am pleased to be involved with the Friends of the Foundation.”

David Viveash retired from the Canadian federal public service in 2008. Most of his 37-year career was spent in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT, now Global Affairs Canada). He served abroad in Zambia, Malaysia, South Africa and Israel. He was Canada’s first resident Ambassador in Libya and the Canadian Representative to the Palestinian Authority.

David has worked at the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Since retiring, David is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Windsor and works as an independent International Affairs Consultant.

Former President Wilfrid Laurier University and Lakehead University (Ontario, Canada)

Dr. Bob Rosehart

Former President Wilfrid Laurier University and Lakehead University (Ontario, Canada)

“Having seen first hand the social, cultural and economic challenges faced by the Palestinian people, this Shawky Fahel-inspired Foundation is a great partnership with the University of Waterloo.”

Dr. Bob Rosehart is the Past President and Vice-Chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU), Waterloo, Ontario having served from 1997 to 2007. Before that, he served 13 years as President and Vice-Chancellor of Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Bob is the past-chair, and a current Board member, of St Paul’s University College at the University of Waterloo. Bob holds honorary degrees from University of Waterloo, Nipissing University and WLU as well as degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Waterloo.

Professor, Former President University of Waterloo

Feridun Hamdullahpur

Professor, Former President University of Waterloo

“The excellent initiative will help mobilize the vision of peace and harmony for the Palestinian people. Understanding and respecting the rich culture and history of Palestinians through the works of the Foundation will bring a long waited humanistic direction towards a lasting harmonious co-existence.”

Feridun Hamdullahpur, the University of Waterloo’s president and vice-chancellor (2010-2021), has been an engineer, educator and leader over the span of his career in research and higher education. In acknowledgment of his leadership in education and innovation, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013; L’ordre des Palmes academique by the Government of France in 2019.

Founding Director of the Graham Centre and Chair of the Advisory Board of the Trudeau Centre

John English

Founding Director of the Graham Centre and Chair of the Advisory Board of the Trudeau Centre

“Through the generosity of Shawky Fahel and his family, the University of Waterloo has created an important research centre that will study in detail the Palestinian presence in the Middle East and the Palestinian diaspora. It is unique in Canada and promises to make a significant contribution internationally in many disciplines.”

John English is a distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Waterloo. He’s been a Liberal Member of Parliament, a Special Ambassador for Landmines and a Special Envoy for the election of Canada to the United Nations Security Council. He has also served as President of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs, co-editor of the Canadian Historical Review, chair of the Board of the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Canadian War Museum.

Business consultant

Bob Kalbfleisch

Business consultant

Bob Kalbfleisch established his own consulting company in 1999 after a 30-year career in the Ontario Public Service. He has delivered on several business management projects including senior communications advisor to the Ontario Innovation Trust and the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund, CEO and Executive Director with Agricorp, and senior marketing and communications advisor for the University of Guelph’s Laboratory Services.

Bob was a founding Director of Canada’s Technology for Food (later Advanced Technology for Food Manufacturing) where the concept for the adaption of world class innovative manufacturing and information technology solutions for Canada’s food processors was cultivated.

Mossab Basir

Mossab Basir

Philanthropist and social entrepreneur

Michael Dan

Philanthropist and social entrepreneur

Michael Dan is a philanthropist and former neurosurgeon. Together with his wife, Amira, he has funded organizations that assist marginalized people in Toronto and helped to create the first privately-endowed research institute in the world geared to the unique health needs of Indigenous people. His commitment to peace in the Middle East is exemplified by his support for the University of Haifa, the Michael and Amira Dan Professorship in Global Health at The University of Toronto, and the St. John Eye Hospital in Jerusalem. Michael is a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario. He is a senior fellow at the Glendon School of Public and International Affairs, and holds three honorary degrees.

Nabil Fahel

Nabil Fahel

Postdoctoral Researcher York University

Maissaa Almustafa

Postdoctoral Researcher York University

Dr. Maissaa Almustafa holds a Ph.D. in Global Governance from the Balsillie School of International Affairs at Wilfrid Laurier University for which she was recognized with an award for Outstanding Graduate Work. Her publications and research focus on statelessness, refugee protection, refugees’ lived experiences, and the impact of refugees’ journeys on their lives and wellness. 

She is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Department of Political Science, Glendon Campus at York University and serves as an Adjunct Professor at the Department of Political Science at Wilfrid Laurier University. Dr. Almustafa also teaches courses in Global Governance, Global South, and Middle East Politics in the Department of Political Science at the University of Waterloo.

Dr. Almustafa is actively involved in refugees’ resettlement and integration through her roles as a member of the Board of Directors of Kitchener Downtown Community Health Center and Sancturary Refugee Health Center and as the former Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors at Reception House in Waterloo Region.  

Former DirectorCanadian Friends of Haifa University

Elham Farah

Former Director
Canadian Friends of Haifa University

“I endorse the Foundation for Palestinian Studies at the University of Waterloo because it helps to create meaningful, and inclusive experiences for everyone to integrate Palestinian traditions and values in the modern life in Canada.”

Elham is a retired teacher from the Hamilton–Wentworth District Public School Board, and with her husband, Joe, she contributed to building the chain of Farah Food Mart which later become Hasty Market convenience stores across Ontario.

Mrs. Elham Farah was born in Nazareth, Israel and immigrated to Canada after receiving her post secondary education at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She also holds a Master Degree in Education from Brock University, Ontario.  Elham has been a Director of Canadian Friends of Haifa University for more than a decade. Her passion is in education and social issues locally and internationally, which has led to participation in a diverse group of organizations over the years, including the CIC (Canada International Council), St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation Board, the Mohawk College President’s Campaign Advisory Council and the YMCA Hamilton, Burlington and Brantford. She advocates for Jews and Arabs by bringing all parties together to examine issues from the Canadian perspective, where everyone has the chance to see their culture reflected in our multicultural society.

Senior Fellow, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public PolicyUniversity of Toronto

Jon Allen

Senior Fellow, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy
University of Toronto

Born in Winnipeg in 1950, Jon Allen (LL.B., University of Western Ontario, 1976; LL.M., International Law, University of London School of Economics, 1977) joined the then Department of External Affairs in 1981.

In addition to postings abroad in Mexico City (1983-85), New Delhi (1989-92) and Washington (1997-2001), Mr. Allen also held the positions of Director General, North America Bureau (2001-2004) and Minister (Political Affairs) at the Canadian Embassy in Washington (2004-2006). As Assistant Deputy Minister, Americas (2010-2012), he managed Canada’s relations with North America, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

From 2006 to 2010, Mr. Allen was Canada’s Ambassador to Israel. From 2012 to 2016 he was Ambassador to Spain and Andorra. From December 2012 to July 2014, he was Chargé d’affaires a.i. to the Holy See.

He is currently Chair of Project Rozana, a non-profit aimed at building trust between Palestinians and Israelis through health and on the Board of Transparency International Canada.

Chief Legal Officer Cybin, Inc.

Gabriel Fahel

Chief Legal Officer Cybin, Inc.

Currently, Chief Legal Officer with Cybin Inc. Gabe was previously legal counsel with the Canadian government, General Counsel for Mundo Media and GrowPacker.

Clerking for the Ontario Court of Appeal in 2000, Gabe assisted the Court in Parker—a precedent setting case resulting in the legalization of medical marijuana. After 2000, Gabe assisted the Federal Court of Canada as a researcher introducing a new class action regime. He later represented plaintiffs and defendants in class actions ranging from historic abuses at Indian Residential Schools to same sex pension benefits. In successfully advancing public interest cases, Gabe led a three‐pronged strategy engaging the 1) courts, 2) media, and 3) members of parliament.

From 2006 to 2010, Gabe was part of a small team of legal advisors negotiating a two‐state solution between Israel and Palestine as part of US‐sponsored negotiations and participated in high‐level meetings with senior diplomats from the US, EU and Canada, including Tony Blair.

After 2010, Gabe joined Mundo Media, an advertising technology company as Associate General Counsel, and later as General Counsel. After five years, Gabe was recruited under the federal government’s Policy Leaders program as legal counsel and tasked with an array of national security, constitutional, and regulatory reviews, including Health Canada’s evolving medical marijuana licensing regime and its intersection with the criminal law. Gabe also acted as counsel for GrowPacker, a cannabis co‐ packing company in California.

Throughout his professional career, Gabe has been active in federal politics, successfully managing nomination and election campaigns, and active in two leadership campaigns. From 2015 to 2017 Gabe was Chair of the National Council on Canada‐Arab Relations, a national charity in Ottawa and hosted non‐partisan receptions on the Hill and facilitated advocacy efforts.