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The Asper Foundation Awards Annual Funding to University of Manitoba International Law Program

January 14, 2020 — 

Winnipeg, MB – The University of Manitoba’s Robson Hall Faculty of Law is pleased to announce that its locally founded international law program – celebrating its tenth anniversary and one of Canada’s largest international programs – will now be supported annually by The Asper Foundation which is located in Winnipeg, Canada.

In recognition of The Asper Foundation’s generosity, the highly competitive, for-credit summer program which brings students to Israel will be renamed The Asper International Program on Israeli Law and Society (Mishpatim) formerly called Introduction to Israeli Law and Society Course Program.   

Running for three weeks every May, the course compares the Israeli and Canadian legal frameworks and features numerous excursions across Jerusalem and Israel, including trips to the Supreme Court, the Israeli Parliament and more. Course subject matter includes topics ranging from business law, to immigrant and refugee law, and human rights law to international trade law.

Leonard Asper, Chairman of The Asper Foundation, noted “A program like this combines the Foundation’s commitment to Canada, Winnipeg, education in general and interactions with Israel’s democratic institutions. International experience for local law students benefits our local and national communities by creating a group of lawyers who bring back a diversified education with their gained knowledge. It’s an otherwise unavailable opportunity to compare and contrast the legal systems of Canada and Israel and receive immersive experience in Jerusalem and the wider region.”

From Jerusalem, the Provost of the Rothberg International School, Prof. Noam Shoval shared, “The Asper Program on Israeli Law and Society is the flagship Canadian program at the Rothberg International School. The overwhelming majority of Canadian students who participate in our programs are participants in this summer course, and we are delighted to be celebrating ten years of partnership with the University of Manitoba.”

Dr. Jonathan Black-Branch, Dean of Law at Robson Hall, emphasized the significance of this gift to the students’ education, saying, “Providing law students with the opportunity to study the law abroad is invaluable. This generous gift from The Asper Foundation gives our current and future generations of law students a wonderful learning experience that will resonate far beyond a traditional classroom experience. On behalf of the Faculty and our students, I say to the Foundation a heart-felt thanks for their vision and unrelenting support with this and so many other contributions over the years.”

Founded in 2010 by Robson Hall law professor Dr. Bryan Schwartz, at inception, the program was exclusive to the University of Manitoba’s Robson Hall students. It has since welcomed over three hundred students from seven law schools in five provinces across Canada and now annually attracts approximately 60 students.  The course is taught in partnership with The Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Law School, which is consistently ranked among the top 100 in the world, and the Rothberg International School – the international arm of the university which has decades of experience in hosting international students.  

Dr. Schwartz, an award-winning scholar and teacher, as well as practicing lawyer and international arbitrator, remarked, “This is tremendous news for Canadian law students. Year after year I hear from participants that this is the highlight of their law school experience.  We have scrambled every year for private donations to make the program accessible to all students; this extraordinarily generous gift from The Asper Foundation puts us on a sustainable path forward into the future. Their commitment will bring to fruition a decade of volunteered effort all around to make this program outstanding in its own right – and, I hope, an inspiration for many more of its kind.”

In celebration of the tenth anniversary of the program, Dr. Schwartz has organized a major international conference being held May 18-19, 2020 at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem on the Independence of the Office of Attorney General to coincide with the course. 

Information about the program can be obtained from Kari Zalik: kzalik [at] hebrewu [dot] org

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