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A conversation with the distinguished
global leader in the fight against Cancer

Yohsin Lecture

Azra Raza

Chan Soon-Shiong Professor of Medicine & Director of Myelodysplastic
Syndromes Center at Columbia University

Confronting with Passion the Conundrum of Life

  • Friday, December 1, 2023
  • 3:30 - 5:30 pm
  • H.M. Habib Auditorium, Habib University

of the Talk

This lecture will explore profound questions that arise while navigating uncharted territory in the context of unsolvable medical challenges, with a specific emphasis on the human costs of a deadly disease like cancer. The lecture will convey heartfelt insights, capturing the delicate balance between the pain of witnessing human suffering while at the same time finding inspiration and reassurances that characterize this unique journey.

Using poetry and science, Dr. Raza will offer a distinctive perspective on the remarkable resilience of the human spirit when confronted with seemingly insurmountable obstacles, examining the current cancer landscape through the prism of human anguish, asking uncomfortable questions about why no one is winning the War on Cancer, what must change and how you can help shift the paradigm.

Speaker Profile


Chan Soon-Shiong Professor of Medicine & Director of Myelodysplastic Syndromes Center at Columbia University

Dr. Azra Raza, the Chan Soon-Shiong Professor of Medicine and Clinical Director at Columbia University's Edward P. Evans Foundation MDS Center, is a distinguished oncologist and dedicated researcher. She actively treats 30-40 cancer patients weekly and directs a cancer research lab while holding three endowed chairs. Over the years, Dr. Raza has collected >60,000 blood and marrow samples from patients, conducting extensive research and publishing novel findings in esteemed medical journals.

Her groundbreaking ideas, detailed in the bestselling book "THE FIRST CELL: And the human costs of pursuing cancer to the last," advocate a shift in cancer treatment from eradicating every last cancer cell to early prevention.

Beyond her medical work, Dr. Raza initiated the Urdu Mehfil in 1987, fostering creativity among writers, musicians, poets, and artists. Her passion for literature is reflected in her ownership of thousands of books in Urdu and English. Dr. Raza is a prolific speaker, delivering numerous lectures on science, medicine, poetry, and literature.

For two decades, she has served as an Editor on the website 3QuarksDaily, contributing to various intellectual discourses. This multifaceted leader's profile embodies a commitment to advancing both medicine and the arts in her relentless pursuit of knowledge and innovation.

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About The
Yohsin Lecture Series

This Yohsin Lecture is part of the Presidential Lecture Series that is sponsored by the Office of the President to bring the most distinguished scholars, artists and critics of our time to Habib University for engagement with civil society and the University's faculty and students. The Lecture is administered by Habib University's different schools and academic centers depending on the nature of talk and the invited guest.

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