York University


Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish keynote speaker at York’s annual Inclusion Day

TORONTO, Oct. 4, 2010 − Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, the Palestinian doctor who continued to advocate for Middle East peace after the deaths of three of his daughters and niece by Israeli tank shells during an incursion into Gaza, will be the keynote speaker at York University’s annualInclusion Day − Dialoguing Across Differences. An important figure in Israeli-Palestinian relations for years, Dr. Abuelaish has received many awards including the 2010 Mahatma Gandhi Peace Award of Canada.

Born and raised in the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza, Abuelaish went on to become a gynecologist and obstetrician, and treated both Israeli and Palestinian patients in Israeli hospitals.

At the time of his daughters’ deaths in January, 2009, he was living in Gaza and working as a senior researcher at the Gertner Institute at the Sheba Hospital in Tel Aviv. He is currently an associate professor of medicine at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

Before the loss of his daughters, and since then, Abuelaish’s commitment to health as a means to save lives, promote respect and human dignity and achieve societal peace has made him an eloquent proponent of coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis.

“If I knew my daughters were the last sacrifice on the road to peace between Palestinians and Israelis, then I would accept their loss,” Abuelaish has said. He is in the process of establishing theDaughters for Life Foundation in memory of his three beloved daughters, Bessan, Mayar and Aya, to promote health and education for girls and women in the Middle East.

Abuelaish, author ofI Shall Not Hate: The Gaza Doctor’s Journey (Random House Canada, 2010), will speak to members of the York community and the public at6pm on Wednesday, Oct. 6 about how he still yearns for peace and how, despite his terrible loss, there is no hate in his heart.

Inclusion Day at York will also include discussions, presentations andworkshops about differences, including topics of race and racialization, gender expression and expectations, (dis)abilities, sexual orientation and classroom diversity. For more information and a full schedule of events, visit theCentre for Human Rights website or clickhere.

  • WHAT: Palestinian Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish speaking at York U Inclusion Day
  • WHEN: Wed. Oct. 6, keynote address 6pm, book signing 7:30pm
  • WHERE: Price Family Cinema, Accolade East Building, room 102, Keele campus
  • TICKETS: Admission free. Registerhere.
  • MAP: Building 92 onKeele campus map

About Dr. Abuelaish:
In addition to receiving the
2010 Mahatma Gandhi Peace Award of Canada, Dr.Izzeldin Abuelaish has been honored with the following awards: the 2009 Stavros Niarchos Prize for Survivorship, the 2009 Search for Common Ground Award, the 2009 Middle East Institute Award, and the 2010 Uncommon Courage Award, from the Centre for Ethnic, Racial and Religious Understanding at Queens College, NY. He was one of three finalists for the 2009 Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought, the European Parliament’s award for human rights and democracy campaigners. He was also chosen as one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in both 2009 and 2010 by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Jordan.

He has addressed leading governmental bodies around the world including the European Parliament, the American Congress and Canada’s House of Commons, as well as many academic institutions in Canada, the US and Europe. His story has been carried by CNN, Aljazeera International, BBC, CBC, ABC and other print and electronic media around the world.


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Media Contact:
Janice Walls, Media Relations, York University, 416 736 2100 x22101 /wallsj@yorku.ca