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Immigration to Integration: the success story of Irvin Studin

Irvin Studin
Irvin Studin

The discussion on Canada’s immigration laws has always been at the focal point of public debate. As the world refugee crisis unfolds, Canada is re-examining its immigration policies and is looking for better ways to integrate future new-comers.

In his 2010 article “Canada- Population 100 Million”, editor-in-chief of Global Brief magazine, Irvin Studin, foresaw Canada’s involvement in the challenges we face today. Because of his personal connection and professional expertise, Studin stands alongside top foreign policy experts in their attempt to shape Canada’s future.

Born into a Jewish family from Odessa and the eldest of three children, Studin recalls a very Canadian childhood. His family settled in the Goldfinch area at Bathurst and Finch in Toronto, which in the mid ’70s was home to a majority of Russian speaking Jews. However, the seemingly homogeneous environment did not restrict Studin’s exposure to other cultures.

“Though my parents had a good cohort of Soviet Jewish friends living in our area, I don’t recall myself being surrounded exclusively by Russian speaking friends. That gave me a refined instinct for cultures and a great ear for languages,” Studin explained. The absence of restriction on his cultural exposure later paved the way for an outstanding career.

Studin remembers his father’s reasoning for moving to Canada. “Canada wasn’t expecting as many Soviet Jews as other countries were. Therefore, the logical conclusion was, Canada must be hiding something good from us”.

Studin’s academic career began at Schulich School of Business at York University where he graduated with a bachelor of business administration and commerce degree. He continued his studies in England, completing master’s degrees from The London School of Economics and Political Science, and the University of Oxford (where he studied on a Rhodes Scholarship).

Upon his return to Canada, Studin completed his PhD from the Osgoode Hall law school where he received the Governor General’s Gold Medal. His long list of achievements includes several government positions in Canada and Australia and co-founding Ukraine’s Higher School of Public Administration in Kiev. He is currently the president of the Institute for 21st Century Questions and a visiting professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).

Much of Studin’s successes are a result of his upbringing. He is not afraid of speaking against the crowd and taking risks.

“My family immigrated while leaving everything behind. I was raised with the notion that everything is possible through hard work and industry.” Studin also credits his unique view on things to his relationship with Judaism. “Though we always were closely affiliated with the Jewish community, we were never very religious, and my parents encouraged me to question everything and explore the true nature of things”.

Studin’s love of culture and languages remains with him to this day as he frequently lectures in leading universities in Europe, Asia and North America. Studin continues to devote his time to the Jewish community through lectures at various Jewish centres. Studin is confident that in the future, the Russian Jewish community will be a leading force in Canadian society.

Published in the ЯCJN.