Dr. Durakovic was born May 16, 1940, in the historic city of Stolac, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in the Balkans. He grew up amidst the politically turbulent “Marshal Tito’s Yugoslavia”, during the dangerous period of pogroms, ethnic and religious persecutions, as the Communist Revolutionary and Partisan factions settled differences and fought for control of the region following World War II.
In that climate and backdrop, Dr. Durakovic earned doctoral degrees in Veterinary Sciences and Medicine at the University of Zagreb (Croatia), Yugoslavia.
He was a highly motivated young researcher at the Institute for Medical Research, Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts. As a gifted, locally renowned and celebrated scientist, physician, author and respected Muslim cleric, he felt the responsibility to use his skills and position for the benefit of the people of Yugoslavia. He was an outspoken critic of the Communist regime and became a well-known human rights advocate at great risk to himself. He was eventually forced to leave Croatia to avoid arrest and emigrated to Canada, where he was granted political asylum in 1969.
His scientific excellence attracted international attention, and Dr. Durakovic was awarded a full scholarship to complete postdoctoral medical studies at the Medical Research Council, Harwell, Oxfordshire, Great Britain (a leading nuclear research center). He completed his second degree in medicine at McMaster University, Ontario, Canada. Specialist studies in Radiology and Nuclear Medicine followed at the University of Rochester, New York, USA.