Izzeldin Abuelaish, MD, MPH
Dalla Lana School of Public Health
University of Toronto
The inaugural Douglas R. Wilson lecture was held on Wednesday, October 28, 2015 and featured Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish.
Dr. Abuelaish has been nominated for three consecutive years for the Nobel Peace Prize. He has been named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims five consecutive years by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Jordan, as well one of the 500 Most Powerful Arabs in the World. In Canada, he was named one of the Top 25 Canadian Immigrants, and was appointed to the Order of Ontario in 2013.
Dr. Abuelaish has been given seven honorary degrees from the University of Manitoba, Queen’s University, Victoria University, Sault College, McMaster University, University of Saskatchewan and The University of Western Ontario. He has also received several prestigious awards, including the Mahatma Gandhi Peace Award of Canada, the World Citizenship in Action Award, the Stavros Niarchos Prize for Survivorship, the Lombardy Region Peace Prize, and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. His long list of admirers includes Jimmy Carter, Nobel Laureates Elie Wiesel and John Polanyi, and Barak Obama.
Dr. Abuelaish has been interviewed by prominent journalists, including Christiane Amanpour, Anderson Cooper, Sir David Frost and Zeinab Badawi, and he has appeared on prominent media outlets such as BBC News Hard Talk, Fox News Channel (FOX), CNN, Al Arabiya News, London’s The Telegraph, ABC, TVO, The Globe and Mail, The Economist, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, the Boston Globe, People Magazine. Dr. Abuelaish has been referred to as the Nelson Mandela of the Middle East, and has been compared to Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King.
Dr. Abuelaish’s internationally best-selling book, I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity, an autobiography that centers on his life, his achievements, and the loss of his daughters and nieces in the 2009 Gaza War, has been translated to 23 languages and has achieved critical acclaim. It has become a testament to his commitment to forgiveness as the solution to conflict and the catalyst towards peace.
Dr. Abuelaish is the Founder and President of the Daughters for Life foundation, which provides education and leadership training to girls and women in the Middle East, regardless of religion and/or citizenship. Currently, Dr. Abuelaish lives with his five children in Toronto where he is an associate professor of Public Health at the University of Toronto.