Avi Benlolo to receive the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (honoris causa) from the University of Haifa


In his role as the leader of one of the top Jewish human rights foundations in Canada’s organized Jewish community, Avi regularly publishes commentary in leading Canadian newspapers. He is widely interviewed by the media for his thoughtful perspective on a wide range of issues, including analysis of world events, foreign and national policy, human rights and social justice. He is among the top Canadian speakers and writers advocating the empowerment of young Canadians to help make the world a better place for everyone.

Avi’s academic focus included in-depth research on the Holocaust, antisemitism and racism. Through his work on genocide studies he documented survivor testimony from multiple genocide events around the world. In 2012, the Government of Canada appointed him to the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education. The Lieutenant Governor of Ontario awarded Avi with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for service to Canada and his community.

In 2015, The Canadian Jewish News selected Avi among “The Jewish community’s movers and shakers – Influencers . . . who make the Jewish community tick”.

Avi is the founder and guiding force behind the annual Spirit of Hope Benefit, Freedom Day, the Tom and Anna Koffler Tolerance Training Center, “Compassion to Action” Holocaust education             


missions, the pioneering Tour for Humanity mobile Tolerance Education Center and Speakers Idol. He has produced top educational videos including “Unless” and “Never Again.” He moderated two Toronto Mayoral debates in 2010 and 2014, and his educational programs, which focus on human rights and respect for diversity, are attended by over 100,000 people every year.

Avi Benlolo regularly confers with Canadian political leaders at all levels and senior officials in law enforcement and education, as well as leading journalists and thought-leaders. Most recently, he was asked to testify to Parliament about Bill-C51, and contributed a chapter in a recently published book on combating antisemitism called “Tackling Hate".

"It is a true honour to have been chosen to receive this degree from the University of Haifa; this recognition is really a tribute to the ongoing work of our leadership and members of FSWC, who are so supportive of our efforts to foster greater tolerance and respect for diversity in Canada", Avi commented.

"The City of Haifa and the University are unquestionably models of vibrant inclusivity, and I am so honoured to be acknowledged by an institution which practices in a very concrete manner the values advocated by FSWC. I have to admit this is all very exciting", he added.

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Mount Carmel Dinner - May 1, 2016
Robert Lantos receives honorary doctorate degree from the University of Haifa

Lantos produced such critically acclaimed films as the Oscar-nominated Being Julia, Golden Globe winner and Academy Award nominated, Barney’s Version, Golden Globe nominee Sunshine, and Golden Globe and Academy Award nominated Eastern Promises. He also received the Canadian Academy’s Best Picture Award for Black Robe, The Sweet Hereafter, Sunshine and Ararat.

In a powerful, moving and inspiring speech to 550 guests gathered at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Hungarian-born, Lantos, addressed current attitudes towards Israel, comparing pre-war Hungary to modern day Jew hatred.

University of Haifa President Amos Shapira, and Vice President for Development and External Relations, Yariv Sultan, presented the Honorary Doctorate degree to Lantos. Heather Reisman delivered a warm tribute to Lantos and Simcha Jacobovici and Gerry Schwartz performed the“hooding”. Also participating in the program, were Canadian Friends President, Dr. Arnie Aberman and Dinner Patron, Tony Comper.

Robert’s children, producer Ari Lantos and stills photographer, Sabrina Lantos, attended the event, together with leaders from the Toronto community and guests from the entertainment world including Honorary Tribute Chair, celebrated Canadian filmmaker, Atom Egoyan.

Dinner proceeds  established “The Robert Lantos Scholarship Fund” for students enrolled in the University’s Israel advocacy program,
“Ambassadors Online”.

Robert Lantos speech

"Promoting The Power Of Truth" video

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