A passionate and eloquent champion for peace in the Middle East, Dr. lzzeldin Abeulaish is a Palestinian doctor and infertility expert who was born and raised in the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. Despite incredible tragedy, Dr. Abuelaish has devoted his life to medicine and the search for reconciliation between the Israeli and Palestinian people. For years, Dr. Abuelaish has been an important figure in Palestinian-Israeli relations. He has treated Palestinian and Israeli patients and worked in Israeli hospitals, and is a committed advocate of forgiveness and healing as engines in the peace journey.
On January 16, 2009, Dr. Abuelaish lost three of his daughters and a niece when Israeli tank shells shattered his house in the Jabalia camp. In the face of this horrific personal tragedy, Dr. Abuelaish has continued to advocate for peace and harmonious coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis. Dr. Abuelaish continues to live up to the description bestowed upon him by an Israeli colleague: a magical, secret bridge between Israelis and Palestinians.
He has received the Stavros Niarchos Prize for Survivorship, which honours individuals and organizations that promote survivorship and resilience through outstanding contributions to peace, reconciliation and recovery in conflict- affected societies. He has also received a Search for common Ground Award; which are presented annually to honour outstanding accomplishments in conflict resolution, negotiation, community and peace building. And among other awards and honours, he was one of three finalists for 2009 Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought, the European Parliament's award for human rights and democracy campaigners. He was also a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.
An international foundation, inspired by Dr. Abuelaish's vision and commitment to peace and reconciliation, is being created, with headquarters in Toronto and the Gaza Strip. The Foundation, with an international mandate, is being established to nurture leadership among women and girls in Gaza and the Middle East in the fields of education and health. Inspired by Dr. Abuelaish's values and lifetime commitment to working across challenging situations, the foundation will honour the memory of his daughters and serve as their living legacy.
Dr. Abuelaish was born and raised in the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip and he received a scholarship to study medicine in Cairo, Egypt, and then received a diploma from the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of London. He completed a residency in the same discipline at Soroka hospital in Israel, followed by a subspecialty in fetal medicine in Italy and Belgium. He then undertook a master's in public health at Harvard University.
He is the author of the bestselling book I Shall Not Hate, which chronicles his life growing up in Gaza and the development of his outlook on life and peace in Israel and Palestine. He lives with his five remaining children in Toronto, where he is in associate professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.