I was reading in last week's British Medical Journal about the Daniel Turnberg Trust Fund. Daniel was a very promising young doctor and medical researcher, with a long time interest in the affairs of the Middle East, who tragically died in a plane crash while on holiday in Malawi. His parents set up a trust fund in his memory to help researchers in the UK, Israel, Palestine and the rest of the Middle East to travel for short-term projects, in order to further their individual careers and promote bonds of friendship and collaboration.
This is the sort of thing that I regard as one of the primary goals of my bike ride challenge - this is what it's all about, and what the Nazareth Hospital is all about. I'm an Atheistic Christian, riding from a predominantly Muslim country to a predominantly Jewish country, in aid of a Christian (ostensibly theistic of course!) hospital. I'm hoping to meet people and do a little to build some bridges, and perhaps continue a bit of the work that Nazareth has actually been doing on *me* since I went there in 1993. We all have our paths to tread, I suppose, and as we move along, we come into contact with many different people. Contingency (you can call it "fate" if you want, but you'll lose some meaning) plays a major role in how events work out.
You plant a seed, and hope something will grow. I listened to a really good lecture at Warwick from one of the researchers supported by a Daniel Turnberg grant, and I hope this trust fund will continue to help scientists move between our countries and share their work. Maybe it has been overlooked, but scientific co-operation is one thing that can unite all races and creeds.
Viva la Scientia!