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Dr. Tawfiq Canaan

Pioneering Physician, Folklorist, National Advocate

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Date of Birth:



Beit Jala, Palestine

Place of Birth:

Why Featured?

Dr. Tawfiq Canaan was a distinguished Palestinian physician, author, and advocate, renowned for his extensive work in tropical medicine, his research in Palestinian folklore, and his political activism against British and Zionist imperialism.

Brief bio

Dr. Tawfiq Canaan was a prominent Palestinian figure, recognized for his multifaceted contributions as a physician, researcher, folklorist, and political activist. He played a pivotal role in confronting British and Zionist imperialism and was deeply involved in Palestinian society, particularly in Jerusalem.

Major Milestones


  • Graduation and First Publication (1905): Graduated with honors from the Syrian Protestant College (now American University of Beirut), delivering a speech on "Modern Treatment," which was his first published work...See More

  • Director of the Anti-Malarial Section, Jerusalem (1913): Appointed to lead the Malaria Branch of the International Health Bureau, significantly contributing to medical research in Palestine.

  • Army Doctor during World War I (1914-1918): Served as an army doctor in various regions during WWI, including Palestine and Sinai, and was in charge of the Ottoman medical labs.

  • Founding the Arab Medical Association (1944): Co-founded the Arab Medical Association in Palestine and served as its president, playing a crucial role in providing medical assistance to Palestinian freedom fighters.

  • Establishment of Augusta Victoria Hospital (1950): Instrumental in the establishment of the Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem, where he served as the medical director until his retirement in 1955.

  • Medical Research and Practice: Contributed extensively to tropical medicine, bacteriology, and the treatment of diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, and leprosy, and published numerous medical studies​​​​.

  • Folklore and Ethnography: Authored over 50 articles and books on Palestinian folklore and superstitions, significantly contributing to the understanding of Palestinian culture and identity​​​​.

  • Political Advocacy: Actively involved in political struggle, authoring works critiquing British and Zionist policies in Palestine and advocating for Palestinian rights.

  • Cultural Preservation: Collected and documented over 1,400 amulets related to Palestinian popular beliefs, which he donated to Birzeit University for preservation and study.

Date of Last Update: 
December 30, 2023

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