As a “reminder of the strides being made to create a legacy of global peace through dentistry,” Temple’s Kornberg School of Dentistry recently unveiled and dedicated a “Tree of Peace” sculpture created by UNESCO Artist for Peace Hedva Ser.
The seven-foot, 800-pound bronze sculpture of a tree is a gift from Allen L. Finkelstein, CEO of Bedford Healthcare Solutions and a 1969 Dental School alumnus. He donated the sculpture in honor of his children and grandchildren, as well as Temple’s Dental School and its dean, Amid Ismail.
“Today, we carry on from one generation to another and dedicate this tree if front of my alma mater to my children and to my grandchildren,” said Finkelstein. “Through dentistry, and our respect for one another, we will show the world what the true definition of peace is.”
“All humans want peace and need peace but, unfortunately, not all of us live in peace,” said Ismail, who is also the inaugural chairman of the Alliance for Oral Health Across Borders, an international organization focused on improving oral health around the world while working to promote peace. “To ascend beyond our divisions, faith and prejudices, is a prerequisite for peace.”
The sculpture was created by Ser, a French sculptor and painter named “Artist for Peace” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), “in recognition of her contribution to the defence of tolerance and the meeting of cultures through her art.”
In addition to Ismail, Finkelstein and Ser, the dedication ceremony included Temple Senior Vice President and Provost Richard Englert, Dean of the Hadassah School of Dental Medicine at The Hebrew University in Israel Adam Stabholz, Vice President for Student Affairs and Service at Al-Quds University in Palestine Musa Bajali, as well as a pastor, a rabbi and an emir representing the Christian, Judaic and Muslim religions.
“It's appropriate for this tree and all it represents to find its home here at the Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry,” said Englert. “Dentistry can be a powerful vehicle for peace because dentists all speak the same language.”
This is the third “Tree of Peace” sculpture to be placed at a dental school. The first was dedicated in 2007 at Hadassah School of Dental Medicine in Jerusalem, while the second was dedicated last year at A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health.