Class of 2012 – Innis, CSI
“Barring some miracle from Harvard Law, I should be attending U of T Law School in the fall,” Christophe Shammas tells the Innis Alumni Network.
With a consistent record of academic excellence, it was not a surprise when Christophe received notice of early acceptance to Canada’s top law schools, U of T Law and Osgoode Hall.
He applied to Harvard Law, modestly explaining, “I really had no good reason for applying, I just thought I’d give it a try.” Christophe’s cumulative GPA of 3.84 and his LSAT rank of 97 percentile speak differently of his chances. He awaits Harvard Law’s decision in the meantime.
This coming June, Christophe will be part of Innis College’s 2012 graduating class, completing an Honours BA with a double major in Peace and Conflict Studies and Economics.
For two consecutive years Christophe has been the recipient of the Innis College Exceptional Achievement Award, and the Wasser Achievement Award. He has also been recognized on the Dean’s List.
Born in Toronto to Iraqi parents, Christophe spent most of his life growing up in London, UK. He chose to study in Toronto, where most of his extended family live, fulfilling his childhood ambitions of living and working in Canada.
“I had dreams of working in Canada since I was 5, while I was visiting my uncles and grandmother in Toronto every summer. Choosing to study at U of T was an easy choice.”
Being of Iraqi origins, Christophe has taken a personal interest in the struggles of the Iraqi people. His volunteer work for AMAR foundation, a UN affiliated charity, reflects his interest in Iraq’s struggles for democracy and development. He has been a research analyst for the Foundation’s Statistics and Information Departments supporting their work to provide health care and medicine to people living in war zones and areas of civil disorder in Iraq.
Even before embarking on an undergraduate career, Christophe had substantial knowledge of international governance. He spent a summer as assistant to a European Member of Parliament (MEP) in Brussels. “Working in the European Parliament gave me insight into how such a large and influential international institution functions,” says Christophe. He was also an active Model United Nations participant throughout his time in high school.
As a Peace and Conflict Studies student, Christophe is Executive Director for the sixth annual Peace and Conflict conference this February. The conference will delve into the issue of conflict in the post-colonial world. In addition to coordinating the conference, he will be presenting and leading a panel entitled “Accountability: The Issue of Governance.” U of T Political Science professors Paul Kingston and Victor Falkenheim will also be on the panel and the topic of discussion will focus on issues of government accountability in regions such as the Middle East.
Christophe further pursued his interest in international governance two summers ago when as an intern at Citizenship and Immigration Canada in Ottawa. “This was a great experience, because I was new to Canada, and it gave me the opportunity to familiarize myself with Canadian government and policy. It was the first time I was given the opportunity to work within the changing day-to-day dynamics of Parliament and policy-making decisions.”
Christophe has been very involved within the Innis College community. “When you’re at U of T there’s not that many communities you can be a part of, and the friendships I’ve made at Innis since my first year have had a profound impact on my life.”
Christophe has been a student leader for Innis frosh week, as well as a member of the Innis College Student Society as the Male Sports Representative. Throughout his time at Innis, Christophe has been an active member of the Men’s Intramural Soccer and Basketball teams. “If you don’t have extracurricular activities – you just get bored,” says Christophe.
When asked about the secret to his success, he explains, “You have to have balance, and know when to stay in and work, and when to go out and have fun with your friends.”
Christophe intends to focus on immigration and international law when pursuing his law degree. Innis College is proud of Christophe’s accomplishments and wishes him all the best.