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(December 13, 2001, Gazette)

Season’s greetings from the president

Axel MeisenAxel Meisen

This is a special time of year for many faiths and for many reasons. Many special events, religious and secular, fall into the period of mid-November to the end of December.

For example, members of the Muslim faith celebrate Ramadan from Nov. 16 to Dec. 16. Those who follow the Baha’i religion mark the death of their founder Abdul-Baha and celebrate his ascension on Nov. 28. The birthday of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanuk, is celebrated on Nov. 30. Christians celebrate Advent and then Christmas on Dec. 25. The eve of Hanukkah, a special time for those in the Jewish faith, is celebrated on Dec. 9. In the eastern world, Tohji-taisai is celebrated by the Shinto religion on Dec. 21.

In the secular domain, the United Nations marks International AIDS Day and the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery on Dec. 1 and Dec. 2, respectively. Here in Canada the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women occurs on Dec. 6. In addition, we are approaching the end of another calendar year.

All these special days allow us to think about our daily lives, our work and our families. If there is one unifying factor
among these days, it is the desire for people to commune and to celebrate the universal ideals of peace, respect, love and hope. During the Christmas season, a traditional wish is the offering of peace. This year, more than ever, there is a yearning for peace in the world: peace amongst individual people, peace amongst communities and peace amongst nations.

We at Memorial University, contribute to the creation of a more peaceful world through education, research and other scholarly, creative or professional work. Some of our work, such as history and political science, is focused directly on peace whereas other work, such as the sciences, arts and professional disciplines, helps to create the conditions for peace. Our university is also a place to foster friendships and to bridge the divides between nations, cultures and faiths. I wish to thank you for your dedication to Memorial University over this past year and to helping create a better world.

I wish you and your families an enjoyable and restful holiday season and all the best for the coming year. Happy holidays and New Year! I would also like to wish friends of Memorial, donors, alumni and other supporters in the community a happy holiday season.

Axel Meisen