At a dermatology seminar in Germany, Dr. Basel Ben Saad-Edin, a Palestinian dermatologist trained at Hadassah, spoke glowingly about his educational experience. What follows are excerpts from his presentation, which was also published in Der Hautarz, a German dermatology magazine:

I am a Palestinian physician, living in Nablus. I studied medicine at the University of Damascus and did my internships at various Palestinian hospitals in the West Bank. I always wanted to become a dermatologist, but since the Palestinian Health Ministry has no recognized training program, I worked until now on a private basis in various clinics in Nablus. Until two years ago, I have never had any interaction with Israeli colleagues, and I did not speak Hebrew though I grew up less than a 15-minute drive from Israel.

…The Dermatology for Peace initiative was the brainchild of Professor David Enk, head of the Dermatology Department at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem. …the concept of Dematology for Peace was conceived to include the following components: joint dermatology internships for medical students at the Palestinian Al Quds University Medical School…; specialty training at Hadassah’s Department of Dermatology for nurses from the Al-Watani Hospital in Ramallah…; one-day workshops jointly for Palestinian and Israeli dermatologists as well as post-graduate dermatology training for Palestinian general practitioners organized by the Hadassah dermatology staff.

Well this was obviously a very ambitious program, but it honestly reflected the will for cooperation between professionals from both communities. Unfortunately, reality—in this case the intifada—dictated a different agenda. At the present state, only the residency training has been realized and I was lucky enough to be chosen as the first Palestinian dermatologist to train at Hadassah. For the last two years, I have been a full member of the Hadassah dermatology staff, participated in all the activities of the residency program, including ward rounds, grand rounds, out-patient clinic activities, and journal clubs. I have received a monthly salary, medical insurance, and boarding at Hadassah. I can truly state that I have professionally benefited greatly from the dermatology residency at Hadassah. …I have been exposed to sides of the Israeli society in terms of professionalism and friendship that I have had no chance of experiencing as a Palestinian in Nablus. … I have been discussing plans of establishing Palestine’s first dermatology ward in Nablus that will be affiliated with Hadassah via video-conferencing. …

I am looking forward to the day where I can welcome you all to the first Palestinain Dermatology Department in Nablus. I honestly believe that day will come.