About Us

Learn more about CIDO's history, team and hear what people say about us.

The History of CIDO

Shawky Fahel, CIDO's Founder and Chairman was raised in Jaffa, Israel, in a family with strong Christian faith principles. He was taught from an early age the importance of helping people and giving back to the community, and it has been his life-long practice to help others.

Since its beginning, CIDO has spearheaded several international projects that have had an indelible impact on the recipient community. This has included:

Improving the lives of infirm patients in 2000 by delivering 100 hospital beds to St. Joseph’s Hospital in East Jerusalem in partnership with Grand River Hospital, Saint Mary's Hospital in the Waterloo Region and Saint Joseph HealthCare in Hamilton, and 75 wheelchairs to the Abu Raya Rehabilitation Centre. The Canadian Government graciously provided transportation through the Department of National Defence.
Late Constable David Nicholson of Waterloo Region Police Service
Prior to being shipped to Ramallah, the wheelchairs were donated to be used at the funeral of Constable David Nicholson from the Waterloo Regional Police department, who died in the line of duty on August 12, 1998 while trying to save a child from drowning.
CIDO CEO Shawky Fahel had an audience with Pope John Paul II in Rome, who praised CIDO and blessed their humanitarian efforts.
Shawky Fahel holding newspaper with image of himself and Pope John Paul II
East Jerusalem obstetrics conference
Co-hosting an obstetrics conference on preterm delivery in East Jerusalem in partnership with the Canadian Representative Office in Ramallah to improve the health and wellbeing of mothers and their babies.
Donating a portable, battery operated CT scanner to the Regional Hospital of Sunyani in Ghana to help alleviate their high infant mortality rate and improve obstetric cases.
CT Scanner
Shawky Fahel
Founder & Chairman
Shawky started JG Contracting Ltd in 1979. He now owns and operates several successful businesses under the JG Group. A Palestinian by birth, he has written extensively about improving relations between Palestinians and Israelis. Shawky is the distinguished recipient of several honours and awards including Waterloo's Citizen of the Year, Rotary International's Paul Harris Fellowship Award as well as several humanitarian and outstanding volunteer awards.
Dr. John English
Director, Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History
Member, Trudeau Centre for Peace, Conflict and Justice Advisory Board
John is a distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Waterloo. He’s been a Liberal Member of Parliament, a Special Ambassador for Landmines and a Special Envoy for the election of Canada to the United Nations Security Council. He has also served as President of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs, co-editor of the Canadian Historical Review, chair of the Board of the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Canadian War Museum.
Heather Baker
Heather has spent many years working in the volunteer sector as a board and foundation member, fundraiser, event chair and board chair or president. She has been President of Alberta Ballet Company, the United Way of Kitchener-Waterloo and the Ontario director of the Mount Royal College (now University) Foundation. Heather's career spanned from senior university administrative support, to communications and small business management.
Don Bourgeois
Don practices regulatory law, charitable and not-for-profit law. He was General Counsel for a regulatory and law enforcement agency in Ontario, reporting to the Ministry of the Attorney General. Don is the author of Public Law in Canada, and several texts for the charitable and not-for-profit sector, including The Law of Charitable and Not-for-Profit Organizations. In recognition of his contributions to his community and profession, Don is the recipient of several honours and awards.
Ray Simonson
Business Entrepreneur
Ray is an experienced tech CEO and start-up founder. He is the co-founder and CEO of Glove Systems Inc. and has extensive experience with large capital project management, construction software, building high-performing teams and in fundraising. He led the October 2010 MBO of Coreworx. Ray serves on several private and public boards.
Dr. Bob Rosehart
Retired President, Wilfrid Laurier University and Lakehead University (Ontario, Canada)
Bob is the Past President and Vice-Chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU), Waterloo, Ontario having served from 1997 to 2007. Before that, he served 13 years as President and Vice-Chancellor of Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Bob is the past-chair, and a current Board member, of St Paul's University College at the University of Waterloo. Bob holds honorary degrees from University of Waterloo, Nipissing University and WLU as well as degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Waterloo.
Bob Kalbfleisch
Business Consultant
Bob established his own consulting company in 1999 after a 30-year career in the Ontario Public Service. He has delivered on several business management projects including senior communications advisor to the Ontario Innovation Trust and the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund, CEO and Executive Director with Agricorp, and senior marketing and communications advisor for the University of Guelph's Laboratory Services. Bob was a founding Director of Canada's Technology for Food (later Advanced Technology for Food Manufacturing) where the concept for the adaption of world class innovative manufacturing and information technology solutions for Canada's food processors was cultivated.
Dr. Rafat Faraawi
Faculty Member, McMaster University
Rafat is a licensed Rheumatologist in Kitchener, Ontario. He is also an Associate Clinical Professor in the Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, at McMaster University, Hamilton Ontario. Rafat has been the Principal Investigator in over 30 clinical research trials and has authored more than 50 abstracts and publications. He is the Principal Investigator with the Kitchener-Waterloo Musculoskeletal Research Inc and the Consultant Rheumatologist with both the Grand River Hospital and St Mary's Hospital, Waterloo Region.
David Viveash
David retired from the Canadian federal public service in 2008. Most of his 37-year career was spent in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT, now Global Affairs Canada). He served abroad in Zambia, Malaysia, South Africa and Israel. He was Canada's first resident Ambassador in Libya and the Canadian Representative to the Palestinian Authority. David has worked at the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Since retiring, David is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Windsor and works as an independent International Affairs Consultant.

Pope John Paul II on meeting with CIDO chair Shawky Fahel in 2004

I take this opportunity to encourage you, all associated with the work of [St. Joseph's] Hospital, always to give the best of yourselves in generous service to the sick, with the greatest respect for their human dignity and their unique value in the eyes of God.

Right Honourable Paul Martin, former Prime Minister of Canada

Through CIDO's partnership with the scouting organizations in five Middle East communities, long-term peace and conflict resolution outcomes can begin to be addressed. Your focus on youth activities that build leadership and citizenship values will have significant future benefits.

The Honourable Lloyd Axworthy, former Minister of Foreign Affairs

I would like to express my admiration for the charitable work CIDO is undertaking. I am sure it will grow to be an important link between Palestinians and Canadians. Your efforts contribute positively to Canada's image and reinforce our own objectives.

The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Member of Parliament for Waterloo

Through your new project you will provide youth with opportunities to learn new life skills regardless of differences or the family they were born into. This will leave a lasting impact on these young people's lives and provide them with incredible life experiences that will stay with them well into their futures.

Raj Saini, former Member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre

CIDO's focus on addressing the needs of Indigenous communities and providing the resources necessary to thrive particularly resonates with my community and represents a commitment that the Government of Canada has made to all Canadians.

Paul Rostrup, former President of the Rotary Club of Kitchener

We are pleased that you as a long-time member of the Rotary Club of Kitchener are carrying forward Rotary values in a practical and very energetic way that could bring very important results for youth as well as peace and conflict resolution in the Middle East.

Alfred Kour, Coordinator, 'Messengers of Peace', the Israel Boy & Girl Scouts Federation

Thanks to your support, we launched last week the first-ever seminar for 10th-11th grade Scouts, in which we explored the idea of living together and improving the society in Israel. The 90 Scouts participated in joint activities focusing on topics related to co-existence and youth's ability to bring about social change. They also took part in practical joint volunteer communal activities in the city of Shefa-'Amr.

Lilach Karni, 16-year old Jewish Israeli Girl Scout reporting on her 'Messengers of Peace' event

I never imagined that these kinds of friendships would be created. I can confess that the strongest bond I had was with a Christian girl from Jaffa. I will tell you a little secret—we cried when we said goodbye.

Dr. George Rantissi, St. George's Orthodox Council, Ramleh

On behalf of the Orthodox institutions in Ramleh, we deeply appreciate your concern and attempt to assist our community and the Orthodox Scouts. Your efforts are making a genuine change.

Karen Redman, Chair, Region of Waterloo

I am impressed by the demonstrated commitment of CIDO for the improvement in the standard of living of those living in the Middle East, particularly youth. Our Canadian youth are fortunate to have access to programs and services to nurture their quality of life. The generoisty of those who support CIDO to bring similar opportunities to youth in the Middle East is worthy of our support.

Dave Jaworsky, Mayor, City of Waterloo

I think that it is so important that there is an emphasis on community youth, with a focus oin the importance of helping them build life skills.

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