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Milton Israel was born in Hartford, Connecticut on July 27, 1936 and obtained a Bachelor of Science from Trinity College (Hartford) in 1958. He pursued graduate studies at the University of Michigan where he received an M.A. in 1960 and Ph. D in 1965. His doctoral thesis in history was a study of “The Anglo-Indian in defense of authority, 1905-1910”.
It was during his last year of study for his doctorate that Milton Israel was hired as a lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Toronto. Two years after joining the University in 1966 he was promoted to Assistant Professor. In addition to his teaching and research he served as Assistant to the Dean, School of Graduate Studies from 1967-1970. In 1971 he was promoted to Associate Professor. Through the 1970’s and 1980’s Prof. Israel held a number of administrative appointments and served on a number of University and departmental committees and task forces. These included his service as Vice-provost from 1974-1979, Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee on International Exchange and cooperation (1981-1987), Board of Directors, OISE (1984-1987), Chairman, Presidential Task Force on Foreign Students (1984-1986), SGS review committee on the Centre for Russian and East European Studies (1984) and Advisory Committee on the professorship of ethnic studies (1989 -). In the 1990’s he served as Director, Graduate Centre for South Asian Studies. He retired from the University in July 2002.
During his career, Prof. Israel wrote and published extensively on South Asians in Ontario, Canada and abroad. His body of work includes two books Communications and power: studies on propaganda and the press in the Indian nationalist struggle 1920-1947 (Cambridge University Press, 1994) and In the further soil: a social history of Indo-Canadians in Ontario (Toronto: TOPIC, 1994). In addition he has been the editor or co-editor of many books, contributed chapters to other books, published articles and reviews, and reports.
In addition to his teaching, research and publication activities, Prof. Israel has been actively involved in the Ontario and Toronto multicultural community. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Multicultural History Society of Ontario since 1976 and has served as its Chairman since 1990. As Chair of the MHSO, he promoted and actively participated in the collaborative production of a book and exhibition entitled “Safe Haven. The refugee experience of five families” with the Royal Ontario Museum. In addition he was a major participant in the MHSO publication Encyclopedia of Canada’s Peoples published in 1999. Prof. Israel has chaired the Academic Advisory Committee, Asia Television since 1994, and has served as member of the boards of Maneka Thakkar and Company, Alliance for Ontario Universities and the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute.