For a quick overview of who we are and what we do, please consult:
The Levant: Past
The lands stretching out from the Black Sea to the Nile Delta and from the Eastern Mediterranean shores to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers constitute the cradle of humanity. It is here, at the intersection of Europe, Asia and Africa, that human beings began, some six thousand years ago, to build their first great cities and monuments, engage in trade and commerce, invent written forms of communication, write their first code of laws and first epic poems, and start to unlock the mysteries of nature in a systematic, scientific way. Many great civilizations, empires, languages and religions emerged from this Fertile Crescent and molded this region into one of the most diverse, dynamic, multicultural places on earth. Since the Middle Ages, Europeans and, later, North Americans have often referred to it as “the Levant” – the land where the sun rises, and have felt a very particular attraction and fascination with its history, its cultures, its languages, its peoples.
The Levant: Present
And yet, today, when news from the Levant reaches us, those living on both sides of the Atlantic, they tend to comprise graphic images of conflict, suffering, turmoil, and death. Civil wars, revolutions, inter-ethnic and religious strife take their terrible toll on human lives and greatly limit the opportunities many young people have to build better lives for themselves and their families and thus, to sustain their hope for a better future. This is particularly true of the ability to pursue higher education for refugees and displaced persons, for those belonging to religious and ethnic minorities, and for the many lacking the financial resources to continue their studies beyond the secondary level. Yet giving its young people the chance to pursue university studies is a critical element for this region’s future – for its ability to develop economically, to establish participative and legitimate structures of governance, and to create civil societies where the equal worth and dignity of every individual is respected and celebrated.