Part of our series: FMHS community members from away – The Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) is made up of diverse communities, including people from across Canada and around the world. This series recognizes those from outside the province who have chosen to bring their talents and expertise to McGill University. Thank you for all that you contribute!

In 2000, Johans Fakhoury arrived in Montreal from Lebanon to study biochemistry as an undergraduate at McGill University, not entirely sure what that might lead to, or how long he would remain in Canada.  

He went on to complete a PhD in Experimental Medicine with a focus on oncology and ageing, also at McGill, followed by a postdoc and a few years in research before moving into administration. In 2021 was appointed Associate Director of the School of Biomedical Sciences (SBMS) in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS). 

Johans says, without a doubt, his selection of both McGill and the city of Montreal turned out to be unequivocally rewarding. “Montreal is the city for me, I’m enjoying it. I saw a lot of opportunity. I was bilingual – well, actually trilingual. So that helped a lot.”  

To better understand the political and social climate in Quebec, Johans enrolled in a course in Quebec politics offered by McGill.  “I wanted to embrace the French side,” he says. “I think I was naturally inclined to accept the culture and integrate myself into it. Being exposed to multiple cultures, multiple ways of thinking, broadens your horizons.” 

Johans reflects upon some of his most cherished moments as an undergraduate, and how they helped him understand and appreciate the province’s multiculturalism. “I was involved in the Lebanese Student Association at that point and that helped me to reach out to Hillel, the Jewish Student Society at McGill,” he says. “One of the projects we worked on was putting out a shared religious calendar for Muslim, Christian and Jewish students. That was a stepping stone in understanding the importance of building bonds between cultures. You can still retain your identities culturally, in a place where people are allowed to express their thoughts and have fruitful discussions.” 

The insights derived from those conversations attuned Johans to the various and diverse needs of students. “It helped me to understand the student’s perspective on receiving admin support, what it feels like, and sometimes not getting the information you need and being frustrated by red tape,” he says.  

In his administrative role at McGill, Johans intends to continue to implement policies that will sustain the university’s prominence in academia. “I plan to stay with McGill because I think it has a lot of potential to be a beacon of innovation attracting bright minds from different backgrounds. I hope that I can be in a place where I can effect change by implementing new policies that attract those who don’t necessarily think of McGill as an institution they’d like to come to, including francophones.” 

Johans Fakhoury (right) with son Leo and wife Sabrina Facchino.



Johans Fakhoury appointed Associate Director, School of Biomedical Sciences