Different Dialogues : Dr. Qais Ghanem

In conversation with Dr. Qais Ghanem.
Professional background: Neurologist, Published Poet, Novelist, Creator-Presenter of Canadian Radio Show – Dialogue with Diversity.

In Dubai, from my drawing room, while we achieved the immeasurable scope of Sheikh Zayed Road, this is how usefully the interview took place. As our dialogue began demonstrating questions and answers, mid-way between our related talk, it was evident as at the end that the world is a gracious place with persons like Dr. Qais Ghanem anywhere. Never leaving his side, topics of universal peace, unity, brotherhood, gave me the idea of the multi-skilled seasoned man – Dr. Qais Ghanem.

Born in Yemen, and having moved to Canada 37 years ago, Dr. Qais Ghanem is a neurologist, medical teacher, published poet, novelist, peace-organizer and creator-presenter of a very popular weekly Canadian radio show – Dialogue with Diversity. To top all of this, he also possesses the prosperity of instant wit!

In Ottawa, 8 years back, when Dr. Qais Ghanem went to attend a debate, “Establishing Peace in the Middle East”, in the Canadian Parliament, he saw the practical value of organizing: Potlucks for Peace, at his residence. He was successful in forming discussion groups belonging to diverse cultures and alive with the necessity to communicate. Every Friday noon, his radio show on CHIN Radio 97.9 FM, Dialogue with Diversity shows Dr. Qais Ghanem interviewing people from different ethnic sections of societies. The one hour radio show is supported by a website where he uploads these audio tapes and the pictures of his guests.

Currently, Dr. Qais Ghanem is on the Faculty of University of Ottawa, practicing medicine at the Ottawa Hospital where he is Director of the Sleep Centre; and at the National Defence Medical Centre, he is Director of the Neurophysiology and Sleep Laboratory. Dr. Qais Ghanem has over 20 medical publications to his credit. He is the past President of the Canadian Society of Clinical Neurophysiologists 2002 – 2005. In his voluntary non-professional capacity, Dr. Qais Ghanem has been Past President of the Arab Canadian University Graduates Association (1992-2002).

Dr. Qais Ghanem’s personal motto is SCSC – which stands for Stop Complaining Start Contributing. Proficient in Arabic, English, French, basic Italian - breaking down barriers and removing differences is the same way for Dr. Qais Ghanem, as the way of being a good human being. He has the undying interest in proving to the world that we are all equal and we must treat each other with complete respect. He says, it doesn’t matter whether a person is whiter, taller, richer. Very relevantly, Dr. Qais Ghanem sized up his belief stating: ‘The enemy is someone whose story you have not yet heard, and once you have heard that story, maybe, he can no longer be your enemy’. To have proven the point, Dr. Qais Ghanem’s Radio Show, Dialogue with Diversity won the Canadian Ethnic Media Award two times.

Adding additional pulse to the interview, Dr. Qais Ghanem remarked, “If you hear of Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi), you have to love India”. Spot on, Qais and me were applauding the great Indian leader who had lived and died for the cause of peace.

Running for the Green Party in the next Federal Election is Dr. Qais Ghanem’s way of contributing to building a better future for his and all other grandchildren of the world. He has promised to raise all the issues that others are afraid or unwilling to raise, and to demand accountability from seniors. He believes very strongly in the equality of people irrespective of origin or education or income. He has always recognized that people want respect, want to be heard and often want to contribute to society, and he will dedicate his time to achieve that. In other words, Dr. Qais Ghanem hopes to make a palpable difference.

Q 1. What has been the turning point of your life?
A. There are many in everyone’s life. Graduation from University, first job, marriage, the birth of the first child, the death of parents, and for some the publication of one’s first book.

Q 2. If you could go back in time, what would you want to do?
A. I would have been a more effective fighter for human rights had I been an economist or a social anthropologist, or, a lawyer or even an elected member of some parliament.

Q 3. What are your future dreams?
A. At this age, dreams become very limited. Time is so limited. But I still dream that somehow people who have known nothing but agreed all their lives, might wake up and realize that they need to help those who have been less fortunate than them. But it is a dream, and dreams do not usually come true!

For further information, check website: www.dialoguewithdiversity.com

Geeta Chhabra

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