New bursary: Helena and Jerzy Boraks Graduate Travel Bursary


December 16, 2019

man with his arm around shoulder of woman with glasses

The Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism is delighted to announce the new Helena and Jerzy Boraks Graduate Travel Bursary. This bursary will support graduate students wishing to undertake research-related travel, particularly in the northern regions of Canada.

Last spring, Heidi and Robert Boraks made a gift of $50,000 to Carleton’s Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism. Their donation was matched by the university, resulting in a $100,000 bursary. Though neither Heidi nor Robert attended Carleton University, they say they chose to give because” we have come to learn that Carleton is a special place.”

Robert manages the Ottawa office of Parkin Architects and is Parkin’s lead designer for justice, education, and northern design. His association with Carleton began three years ago when he was asked to teach a graduate design course at our school. He has recently been appointed as an Adjunct Professor, teaching the Extreme Landscapes course. It is run in association with schools of architecture from McGill, Technion, and Tel Aviv Universities, and sponsored by the Azrieli Foundation. The course challenges students to understand the physical and cultural forces that define some of the most challenging environments in the world – the High Arctic and the Negev Desert.

“Seeing the rapid growth in student awareness and the humility that has resulted from this exposure firsthand, I have come to realize the profound effect that research and travel can have on one’s understanding,” says Robert. “Many of us had our education supported through provincial funding and education bursaries. I was one of those recipients. It feels good to be able to carry on the tradition of supporting others; Carleton is the catalyst.”

The bursary is named in commemoration of Robert’s parents, Helena and Jerzy Boraks, who came to Canada as refugees from post-war Europe in the early 1950s. “In coming to Canada, they were given the opportunity to restart a life in a land of peace,” says Robert. By naming the bursary after his parents, Robert hopes to honour their efforts and aspirations for their family and adopted land.