Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish on Israel, Palestine and forgiveness

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Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, MD, MPH, is a Palestinian physician and an internationally recognized human rights and inspirational peace activist devoted to advancing health and education opportunities for women and girls in the Middle East, through both his research and his charitable organization The Daughters of Life Foundation. He has dedicated his life to using health as a vehicle for peace, and, despite all odds, succeeded, aided by a great determination of spirit, strong faith, and a stalwart belief in hope and family.

Dr. Abuelaish is the first Palestinian doctor to receive an appointment in Medicine at an Israeli hospital. His work as both a health-care practitioner and a peace advocate mobilizes health as a tool for peace.

Dr. Abuelaish's book, I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey, an autobiography of his loss and transformation, has achieved critical acclaim. Published in 2010, (currently in 23 different languages), and inspired by the loss of his three daughters -- Bessan, Mayar, and Aya -- and their cousin Noor to Israeli shelling on January 16, 2009, the book has become an international bestseller.

In nominating Dr. Abuelaish for the Nobel Peace Prize, the Belgian Parliament named him the "Martin Luther King of the Middle East." Dr. David Naylor, President of the University of Toronto, called Dr. Abuelaish a remarkable ambassador for peace and an exemplar of forgiveness and reconciliation. President Barak Obama has referred to him as an example of strength and reconciliation in his address on May 19, 2011 when he discussed the possibility of peace within the Middle East.

Dr. Abuelaish has founded Daughters for Life, a Canadian charity that provides young women in high school and university the opportunity to develop a strong voice and play a more influential role in improving the quality of life through their education throughout the Middle East. Currently, Dr. Abuelaish lives with his five children in Toronto where he is an associate professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

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