Azeez Shaheen Medical Clinic opened today, Dr. Naseeb Shaheen speaks at the ceremony

Today, Dr. Naseeb Shaheen, son of renowned Palestinian philanthropist Azeez Shaheen, spoke at the opening of a new Birzeit University medical clinic named after his father. Dr Shaheen is a professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature at the University of Memphis.

In the presence of Birzeit board of trustees chair, Dr. Darwish Nazzal, university president Dr. Hanna Nasir, and members of the Birzeit Administration and local municipalities, Shaheen said, "The clinic will be here for the benefit of the student body, the benefit of the faculty, and the benefit of the staff, and we are very happy this is taking place.

Birzeit University president Dr. Hanna Nasir thanked Naseeb Shaheen and his brothers, Shaheen, Shouky, and Tawfeek, as well as those who donated equipment to the clinic, for their generous support. These included the Palestinian Health Services Council in Jerusalem, Dr. Mousa Yusef Nasir, Mohammad Tarbush, and Michel Sifri. Special thanks were offered to the Arab Technical Company who donated and installed the underfloor heating system of the clinic.

Shaheen explained the mission of his father's foundation, the Azeez Shaheen Charitable Trust. "Most of my father's wealth he put into the Trust," said Shaheen, "There are nineteen schools and charitable organisations, most of which are in Ramallah and Jerusalem, which every year are going to receive a goodly sum in order to help them in their efforts. There are homes for the blind, homes for aged people, other charitable societies, and almost all of the schools in Ramallah are going to receive this help for the next twenty years. At the end of this period the trust will be broken up and each of these institutions will be given the percentage allotted to them."

Azeez Shaheen passed away last year at 101 years of age and never actually got to see the clinic himself, as a building permit was delayed for over a year by Israeli authorities. When building did finally commence, he was too ill to visit the site from his home in Ramallah to see it for himself.

"Birzeit was the first Palestinian university and, in my opinion, the best university in Palestine. A university like this deserves to have a modern clinic," said Shaheen, "May all of us always work together to improve the university."

The clinic was supposed to have one-and-a-half floors but, when the contractors began digging, they didn't find a rock base as quickly as they imagined. As the foundations were therefore much deeper than anticipated, a decision was made to expand the original plan. The clinic now has three floors, which will include a medical clinic staffed by a doctor and two nurses, and facilities for a specialist, another floor for a dental unit, and a student athletic facility in the basement.

After the speeches, guests then toured the clinic and attended a brief reception.