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Message to the community on the war in the Middle East

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Message from Dean Charmaine Williams

Dear FIFSW community,

We have all seen the shocking events unfolding over the weekend. I want to bring your attention to the University’s message on the war in the Middle East, available here.

Witnessing the atrocities carried out in Israel this past weekend by the terrorist organization Hamas has been very distressing. As a Faculty of Social Work, I believe we must condemn the actions that have created so much suffering and continue to cause fear and trauma for the people who are living through it. I know that there are people in the FIFSW community who have connections to Israel and Palestine. The strong feelings that affect us when seeing news of Israelis and Palestinians experiencing violence are even deeper for these friends and colleagues. I hope we will all extend our understanding and support to those of us dealing with worry for the safety and wellbeing of people who are living through this conflict. Whatever our views are on the context for this conflict, as people and social workers committed to promoting health, safety and social justice, we hope for a day when there will be a peaceful resolution.

Please remember that there are supports available to you if you need them. Students who are in need of immediate support can reach out to U of T Telus Health Student Support at 1-844-451-9700 and make use of services available at the UofT Health Services. Faculty and staff are encouraged to contact the Employee and Family Assistance Program at 1-855-597-2110. As always, the kindness and understanding that we show each other is a vital part of being a community in which anyone who is affected by devastating global or local events feels included and supported.

Please keep well and support each other. Don’t hesitate to reach out to instructors or managers if you have concerns or need support.


Charmaine C. Williams, PhD
Dean & Professor
University of Toronto
Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work


Message from Joseph Wong, Vice-President, International, University of Toronto

The University of Toronto is deeply saddened by the attack on Israel’s civilian population, the outbreak of war this past weekend, and the ongoing volatility in the region. We condemn terrorist violence and express our horror at the kidnapping of civilians.  We share our immense grief for the loss of life and offer our heartfelt condolences to all those suffering in Israel and Palestine and to everyone who has been personally impacted.

The University joins the international community in its calls for a peaceful resolution to the conflict, grounded in dialogue.

Over the weekend, we immediately contacted our students in the region and confirmed their safety. We have also reached out to international students from the region studying at U of T to offer our support. The University recognizes that many in our community have direct and indirect ties to the Middle East and we are concerned for everyone’s well-being.

Students in need of immediate support are asked to contact U of T Telus Health Student Support at 1-844-451-9700. Faculty, staff and librarians are encouraged to contact the Employee and Family Assistance Program at 1-855-597-2110.

Students seeking academic support services and/or considerations are advised as follows:

As in any conflict, members of our community will hold strong and opposing views. In keeping with the University’s unwavering commitment to the values of diversity, inclusion and the open exchange of ideas, we urge our community to engage in respectful dialogue.

Joseph Wong
Vice-President, International

The above message is cross-posted from U of T Global