Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish

2012 Recipient


Izzeldin AbuelaishThe Consortium for Peace Studies at the University of Calgary is extremely pleased to announce its sixth annual Calgary Peace Prize recipient — Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish (fondly known as the the Gaza Doctor). His condemnation of violence and his unwavering commitment to promoting peace makes him an outstanding nominee. We are honoured to recognize the strength of his conviction to neither hate nor seek revenge, and the multiple ways in which he brings this vital message not only to Israelis and Palestinians, but also to the global community.

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, MD, MPH, a Palestinian medical doctor who was born and raised in the Jabalia refugee Camp is a passionate and eloquent proponent of peace between Palestinians and Israelis. He received his elementary, preparatory and secondary education in the refugee camp schools. He received a scholarship to study medicine in Cairo, Egypt and then a diploma in Obstetrics and Gynecology from the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynecology University of London.

From 1997-2002 completed a residency in OB/Gyn at the Soroka University hospital in Beer Sheva Israel followed by a subspecialty in Fetal medicine in Italy and Belgium; then  a Master in Public health (Health Policy and Management) from the Harvard University.

Before his three daughters were killed in January 2009 during the Israeli incursion into Gaza, Dr. Abuelaish worked as a researcher at the Gertner Institute at the Sheba Hospital in Tel Aviv.

Abueaish has been an important figure in the Israeli-Palestinian relations for years, working in Israeli hospitals, treating Israeli and Palestinian patients and fully believe that health is an engine for the journey to peace. This horrific tragedy did not harden Abuelaish’s heart; neither did it weaken his resolve to act for humanity. He continues to live up the description bestowed upon him by an Israeli colleague, as a magical, secret bridge between Israelis and Palestinians.

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish currently is Associate Professor of Medicine at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University Of Toronto.

He has been invited to speak in The European Parliament, Belgian Parliament, House of Commons, the American Congress, State department, Forum 2000 in Prague. In addition, he has given talks all over the world in academic institutions, Universities and organizations in Canada, USA and Europe.

About his Book: “I Shall Not Hate”

You can do a lot. You can support justice for all by speaking out loudly to your family, friends, community, politicians and religious leaders. You can support foundations that do good work. You can volunteer for humanitarian organizations. You can vote regressive politicians out of office. You can do many things to move the world toward greater harmony…

“I know that what I have lost, what was taken from me, will never come back. But as a physician and a Muslim of deep faith, I need to move forward to the light, motivated by the spirits of those I lost. I need to bring them justice… I will keep moving but I need you to join me in this long journey.”
— excerpt I Shall Not Hate

I shall not hate.img_assist_custom-200x302Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish – now known simply as “the Gaza doctor” captured hearts and headlines around the world in the aftermath of horrific tragedy: on January 16, 2009, Israeli shells hit his home in the Gaza Strip, killing three of his daughters and a niece.

By turns inspiring and heartbreaking, hopeful and horrifying, this is Abuelaish’s account of a Gazan life in all its struggle and pain. A Palestinian doctor who was born and raised in the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, Abuelaish is an infertility specialist who lived in Gaza but plied his specialty in Israeli hospitals. From the strip of land he calls home (a place where 1.5 million refugees are crammed into 360 square kilometres of land), the Gaza doctor has been crossing the lines that divide the region for most of his life, as a physician who treats patients on both sides of the border and as a humanitarian who sees the need for improved public health and education for women as the way forward in the Middle East.

But it was Abuelaish’s response to the loss of his children that made news and won him humanitarian awards around the world. Instead of seeking revenge or sinking into hatred, in this personal account of his life, Izzeldin Abuelaish is calling for the people of the Middle East to start talking to each other. His deepest hope is that his daughters will be the last sacrifice on the road to peace between Palestinians and Israelis.

Since I Shall Not Hate was first published in Canada in early 2010, it has been translated into fifteen languages and Dr. Abuelaish has travelled all over the world to spread his message of peace. He has received countless personal messages from readers who were deeply inspired by his story and his determination to be a force for good in the world rather than succumb to anger and hate. Dr. Abuelaish has been featured at conferences and literary events attended by thousands of participants from all walks of life.

Click here to see the recording of this talk. NUTV recorded an indept interview of Dr Abuelaish in their studio. Click here to view this interview. To view pictures of this event, click here.