Dr. Doured Daghistani, my father, was awarded the 2015 Silver Medallion by the Miami Coalition of Christians and Jews (MCCJ). The Silver Medallion is awarded to those who symbolize MCCJ’s mission of creating intercultural understanding between races, religions and ethnicities of all types. Indeed, MCCJ aims to recognize those whose humanitarian efforts propel community inclusiveness and cooperation to build a truly diverse, fair and respected society. My father is being honored this award at the organization’s 80th anniversary and has been recognized as the first Muslim to receive this honor.
I am extremely proud of my father for this achievement. As an immigrant who came to Miami from Damascus, Syria in 1986, he faced an entirely new culture, language, and way of life completely foreign to him. In this regard, he really was not so different from everyone else who had made their way to this city, which is why I believe he has been able to create so many cherished relationships with those from completely opposite backgrounds.
Throughout his career he has been acknowledged as one on the most caring and thoughtful leaders in his community. When I explain my father is a pediatric oncologist, most perceive this as a great burden that they would not want to carry. Yet when I see him interact with his patients and coworkers, he not only brings a contagious energy and spirit that welcomes any person he speaks to, but always puts a smile on the faces of those he touches. It is this effortless charisma and compassion for all people he meets that I find so inspiring.
Through all his work, he has still been able to find time over the last four years to be a national leader in helping with the humanitarian crisis in Syria. Without care for acknowledgment or prestige, colleagues and friends have consistently asked Doured to step up and lead the community in understanding and assisting with these efforts. Without thought, he has risen to every occasion and put his heart to building awareness in our community, not just to help the Syrian people but to create a more understanding and accepting society here in South Florida. I have witnessed his tireless efforts and seen much of his time go unnoticed for the cause of peace, liberty and justice for all. At times, when some would choose to hide or not get involved, I have seen his actions and words move crowds in ways those same people standing idle would think was uni
maginable. He, too, moves me. I see his efforts creating a society better than the one he was put in. He knows it can be done and with that contagious spirit he makes others believe the same. I have no doubt he will continue fighting the good fight and motivating his community to do the same. I am empowered by his actions and words and know his work, my work, and those of so many will change the way history is written.
University of Miami (Class of 2014)
Emerging Leader Alumni (2012-2013)