Thank you – for making peace possible!

Dear Friends,

Last Monday  was a touchstone in Tanenbaum’s history. Not only was it our 2016 Gala – PEACE MADE POSSIBLE – but we began the journey toward our 25th anniversary, next year. I’m so grateful to all of you who were able to be with us – for what was truly a powerful evening. Thank you!

U.S. Army Major Kamal Kalsi, the first Sikh granted a U.S. Department of Defense religious accommodation in over a generation, moved everyone with his personal story about how hard it was to practice his religion freely in the U.S. Army, our nation’s largest employer. He shared a little of what it was like to be a doctor in Afghanistan. But one thing Kamal didn’t say was that he won the Bronze Star for his heroism. He reminded us all, “We can build walls or we can build bridges.”

Our speakers also talked about the pain and injury resulting from religious bullying, discrimination and hate. And how Tanenbaum provides effective strategies to counter divisive rhetoric and violent conflicts.

This year’s 2016 Media Bridge Builders, Nicholas Kristof, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist, and Sheryl WuDunn, also a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, provided insights into the many challenges facing us today. Both showed how even small efforts by each of us can make a huge difference.

Sheryl shared how a small nonprofit helped save children’s lives, while Nick shared how he manages to remain hopeful, despite reporting on the world’s greatest atrocities. Though he witnesses the world’s worst, he also sees the world’s best: acts of compassion and ordinary individuals displaying unexpected feats of bravery. In his own words, “I am a believer in drops in the bucket.”

Nick is right. We can all do something.

With hope for the future,

Joyce S. Dubensky

What Hind Found: Hope in Syria

Tanenbaum Peacemaker Hind Kabawat recently visited Syria, her homeland. The trip marked her first return to the country since the beginning of its uprising in March 2011, though she has been actively working for peace and reconciliation throughout the conflict. While much of the media coverage of Syria has worried over sectarian violence and the involvement of extremist groups, including Al Qaeda, Hind tells of a very different experience on the ground. In an article for the National Post, a Canadian newspaper, she writes,

“While crossing the border into free Syria, I wondered whether, as a Christian, I should wear my cross and keep my head uncovered. Kafarnabel is a conservative Sunni Muslim village, but I was struck by the community’s openness and tolerance. When I raised the issue with a young man I knew, Qutaiba Khalil, he replied: “No, Madame, you must wear your cross, it is a sign of your faith.”

Read more about Hind’s experience in Syria at the National Post website.