Our second annual Dr. Hanycz Leadership Lecture took place on March 8th featuring a keynote address by five-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee and internationally-recognized human rights and inspirational peace activist, Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish.The evening also included a panel discussion moderated by CBC London journalist, Kate Dubinski and panelists: Chair, School of Leadership and Social Change, Dr. Marlene Janzen Le Ber; Brescia alumna Leenat Jilani ’13 and first-year Foods & Nutrition student Esraa Hassan.
About Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish
Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is a Palestinian Canadian 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 for 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. Izzeldin Abuelaish was born and raised in Jabalia Refugee Camp in the Gaza Strip and is the first Palestinian doctor to receive an appointment in Medicine at an Israeli hospital. Through his work, he has experienced firsthand the impacts of conflict in countries like Palestine, Egypt, Israel, Uganda, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia.
Dr. Abuelaish has overcome many personal hardships, including poverty, violence, and the horrific tragedy of his three daughters’ and niece’s deaths in the 2009 Gaza War. He continues to live up to the description bestowed upon him by an Israeli colleague, as a “magical, secret bridge between Israelis and Palestinians”. He is now one of the most outspoken, prominent, and beloved researchers, educators and public speakers on peace and development in the Middle East.
Dr. Abuelaish founded Daughters for Life, a Canadian charity in memory of his daughters and to honor his commitment to women’s empowerment. Daughters for Life provides young women in high school and university the opportunity to pursue higher education to become strong agents of change and advocates of peace; functions of women’s vital role in improving the quality of life throughout the Middle East and the world at large.
Currently, Dr. Abuelaish lives in Toronto where he is an associate professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. He remains deeply committed to his humanitarian activism in addition to his roles as a charity leader and inspirational educator.