Our founding donors: A bold vision celebrates five years

In 2010, Peter and Melanie Munk established their bold vision to create a unique, world-leading academic enterprise through a landmark gift to the University of Toronto. In just five years, the Munk School of Global Affairs has taken great strides to make their vision a reality.

Peter and Melanie Munk are two of the world’s leading philanthropists. Their gift of $35 million for the Munk School of Global Affairs is the largest single individual gift in the history of the University of Toronto. Along with their original benefaction to found the Munk Centre for International Studies in 2000, their total gifts to the university exceed $51 million, one of the most extraordinary examples of individual generosity in the University of Toronto’s history.

Peter Munk is the founder and Chairman Emeritus of Barrick Gold Corporation. He was born in Hungary and graduated from the University of Toronto in 1952 (B.A.Sc., Electrical Engineering). Melanie Munk is his partner in many philanthropic initiatives, championing innovation in patient care at the University Health Network’s Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. Together, Peter and Melanie Munk have made significant contributions to support higher education, improve health care and advance public policy.

Mr. Munk has an Honorary Doctor of Laws (1995) from the University of Toronto. He and Melanie Munk were each awarded an Honorary Doctor of Sacred Letters from Trinity College, University of Toronto, in 2004. Peter Munk has received numerous awards, including being named as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1993. In 2008, he was promoted to Companion of the Order of Canada. The most prestigious level of the Order, this recognition is given to Canadians who have demonstrated the highest degree of merit to Canada and humanity, on the national or international scene.

He has been inducted into The Canadian Mining Hall of Fame and The Canadian Business Hall of Fame, and he was the first Canadian to receive the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship. Mr. Munk was also the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012, and in 2016 he was awarded the Commander’s Cross with Star of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary. Peter and Melanie Munk live in Toronto.

Peter and Melanie Munk

“The world continues to become more complex and defined by forces beyond the nation state,” Meric Gertler, President of the University of Toronto, said recently. “Peter and Melanie Munk have given Canadians a powerful means to understand and navigate this fluid global reality. In fulfilling Peter and Melanie Munk’s original vision, the Munk School of Global Affairs has become one of the world’s leading contributors to the global conversation on the most important issues of our time.”

“The world is changing. We want to do our part to ensure that Canada not only secures its place on the world stage, but helps create the knowledge that improves people’s lives.”
– Peter Munk

Supporting Excellence in Global Affairs

Building a space for world-leading research, teaching and public engagement on the global issues that matter most is a long-term endeavour that requires a wide range of visionary philanthropic collaborators. The work of the Munk School of Global Affairs wouldn’t be possible without them. Thank you for your support.

In September 2015, the Munk School’s Asian Institute announced an extraordinary gift of $5 million to support innovative teaching, research and programming on comparative cross-Asia projects and Asian worlds across the globe. As part of this gift, the Richard Charles Lee Directorship of the Asian Institute was endowed. The Directorship is named in honour of the late Richard Charles Lee, who was a trade ambassador for Hong Kong and served on the governing councils of the University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Celebrating the heritage and future of Hellenic scholarship in Canada, in April 2016, the Hellenic Heritage Foundation made a remarkable $1.75 million gift to the Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies to establish a Hellenic Studies curriculum, in perpetuity. Thanks to this contribution, the program will be permanently taught at the University of Toronto, including courses on modern Greek language and literature, and courses on subject areas relevant to contemporary Greek issues, society and politics.

Helping to develop a new generation of innovators and problem solvers, the Power Corporation of Canada has established a scholarship fund to support top Master of Global Affairs students. This donation will help to educate global citizens who have the knowledge, leadership skills and global fluency to meet the most pressing challenges of the 21st century.

The Veneta Elieff and Danny Filipovic Graduate Awards in Balkan Studies were established this year by Danny Filipovic, in memory of his late wife, Veneta Elieff. They are awarded on the basis of academic merit to Master’s students in the Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, for the purpose of student exchange, an internship or research in the Balkans, including all countries of the former Yugoslavia, Albania, Bulgaria and Romania.

The Lionel Gelber Prize is a literary award for the world’s best non-fiction book in English on foreign affairs. Committed to deepening public debate on global affairs, Focus Asset Management sponsored the Lionel Gelber Prize podcast series. Through this new partnership, each year, a series of interviews with shortlisted authors will reach a wide audience across Canada and around the world.

Recognizing their ongoing support, the Munk School of Global Affairs would also like to thank:

The Lupina Foundation for its contributions to the Comparative Program in Health and Society, supporting interdisciplinary, comparative research on the social dimensions of health through an extensive range of fellowships; and for its support of the Munk School of Global Affairs student research labs.

The Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation for its support over the past 15 years of the Program on Water Issues, one of North America’s leading programs of research and public education on water.

Avana Capital Corporation, The Maytree Foundation, TD Bank Group for their support of the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance, which focuses on the fiscal health and governance challenges facing large cities and city-regions.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for its ongoing contribution to promoting German and European Studies in Canada, providing dissertation fellowships, and research and travel grants.

Finally, many thanks to the Academy of Korean Studies, Almos Tassonyi, Aurea Foundation, Cvachovec Foundation, J. M. Durland, The D H Gales Family Charitable Foundation of Toronto, The Lionel Gelber Foundation, Maria Hanus, Tom Mihalik, Toronto Financial Services Alliance and our community of donors who supported various Munk School projects, programs, centres and institutes between May 2015 to April 2016.

Left to right: Justin Poy (grandson of Richard Charles Lee), Prof. Joseph Wong, Eileen Lam, Joshua Barker, Cheryl Regehr and Prof. Stephen Toope.

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