Convocation 2023 Honourees

Atlantic School of Theology (AST) is proud to announce that Taleb Abidali and Hossein Mousavi will be receiving Honourary Degrees at the upcoming convocation ceremony on May 13, 2023.


Born in Iraq, Taleb Abidali has been an influential player in the Halifax business community for many years. After achieving remarkable success as the owner of a construction company in Kuwait, he established a food production company in Turkey, with distribution throughout the Middle East. Motivated by the desire for something more, Mr. Abidali moved to Halifax in 1992.

Mr. Abidali is the recipient of many awards for his contributions to the community and volunteer work, including Bedford Volunteer Distinguished Service Award for HRM 2013, Gold Award for Businessperson of the Year Halifax Chamber of Commerce 2013, Arab Business Leader in Canada 2017, and Babylon Award of Excellence from the Embassy of Iraq in Ottawa 2019. Mr. Abidali also received an Honourary Degree (Doctorate of Civil Law) from Saint Mary’s University.


Prior to founding Cresco in 1989, Hossein Mousavi began his university education with an eye on a medical degree. However, his artistic heart prevailed, and with a Bachelor of Science degree from Saint Francis Xavier University in hand, he followed his dream into home renovations. Today Hossein is widely respected for his visionary methods and progressive thinking when planning communities.

Mr. Mousavi regularly gives back to the community through his charitable work with many organizations. He has also assisted numerous charities through Cresco over the past 35 years. One of his most notable achievements is The Hossein Mousavi Family Foundation, which he founded 5 years ago, dedicated to enriching the quality of community life through charitable giving.

"We are thrilled to be recognizing two exceptional individuals whose work embodies the values of AST and reflects our commitment to promoting interfaith dialogue, social justice, and the pursuit of knowledge," said AST President, Dr. Tim O’Neill. "Mr. Abidali and Mr. Mousavi have made significant contributions to their respective fields, and we are proud to honour them with these well-deserved awards." As noted by their respective nominator, recognizing Abidali and Mousvai with this recognition meets AST’s vision as a university that builds bridges with different religious traditions and communities. Both individual’s contributions to interfaith outreach, particularly through the Al-Rasoul Islamic Society, demonstrates their devotion and commitment to leading and promoting interfaith dialogues and initiatives.

The Honourary Degree recipients will be present at the convocation ceremony, which will take place at the Cathedral Church of All Saints in Halifax on May 13th, 2023.

In addition, we will honour the following as associates in recognition of previous service to AST.

  • The Rev. Debra Burleson
  • The Rev. Dr. William J D Close
  • The Rev. Dr. Sally Shaw
  • Cynthia Thomson
  • Dr. Tom McIllwraith