KHCC Holds Memorial Event in Honor of Dr. Usama Al-Khalidi

Amman, April 20, 2022 – A memorial event honoring the late Dr. Usama Al-Khalidi was held under the patronage of HRH Princess Ghida Talal, Chairperson of the King Hussein Cancer Foundation (KHCF) and Center (KHCC), attended by HRH Prince Talal Bin Muhammad, and HRH Princess Wijdan Al Hashimi. The ceremony recognized the outstanding achievements of the late Dr. Al-Khalidi in science and academia, which inspiring generations of Arab scientists and developing scientific institutions in Lebanon, Jordan, and the Arab world.

In her speech during the ceremony, Princess Ghida stated: “I am delighted that the Cellular Therapy and Applied Genomics Laboratory will bear the name of Dr. Usama Al-Khalidi. Genomics is at the cutting-edge of cancer care – fundamental to its diagnosis and treatment. It fills me with pride that Dr. Usama’s name will be forever memorialized in the King Hussein Cancer Center.”

Prior to the inauguration of the laboratory, a memorial lecture was held in honor of Dr. Al-Khalidi. The lecture was presented by Prof. Dr. Stefan M. Pfister, Director of the Preclinical Program at Hopp Children’s Cancer Center in Heidelberg, and discussed molecular tumor classification and its effects on cancer patient care.

The ceremony, which was attended by scientific researchers from Jordan and the region, also included the participation of prominent international speakers including Dr. Talal Chatila from Harvard University, Dr. Miguel Abboud, head of the Department of Pediatrics at the American University of Beirut Medical Center, and Dr. Samir Atweh, Professor and Chairman of Neurology, at the American University of Beirut Medical Center.

The event also included a tour of the Usama Al-Khalidi Laboratory for Cellular Therapy and Applied Genomics.

About Dr. Usama Al-Khalidi

Dr. Usama Al-Khalidi (April 20th, 1932 – October 10th, 2010) was born in Jerusalem to Ahmad Sameh Al-Khalidi and Anbara Salaam Al-Khalidi. His father was a renowned educator and writer considered to be the father of modern education in Palestine, one of the leading Arab academics in the modern era, and dean of the Arabic College in Jerusalem. His mother was considered to be a pioneer of women’s empowerment in the region, having established the first Muslim women’s association in the Arab world in 1914, and an intellectual in her own right who translated The Iliad and The Odyssey into Arabic.

Dr. Al-Khalidi dedicated his life to excellence, and obtained a Bachelor of Science and a Master’s degree in Biochemistry from the American University of Beirut (AUB), and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Michigan. He led AUB’s biochemistry department and established its first Ph.D. department. He was then appointed Dean of the College of Medicine at the Arabian Gulf University in Bahrain before serving as an advisor to Bahrain’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce. He moved to Jordan and became the scientific advisor to HRH Prince Hassan Bin Talal and appointed Secretary General of Jordan’s Higher Council for Science and Technology.

During his lifetime, Dr. Al-Khalidi published two books and more than 40 scientific publications in biochemistry. Additionally, he received Jordan’s Independence Medal of the second degree in 1967, and the Distinguished Contribution Medal of the first degree in 1998 in honor of his remarkable contributions to science, education, art, and society.

In memory of his remarkable legacy, his family and friends established an award in his name at the American University of Beirut in 2015, and in 2017, Jordan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Kingdom to establish the Sir Isaac Newton-Khalidi Fund in his honor.