Lebanon native Ramy Taleb, his wife Roula, and a handful of like-minded individuals are confident they have the solution to the sectarian violence that is plaguing their homeland–peace through forgiveness education.
Although Ramy has been working with Dr. Robert Enright, founder of the International Forgiveness Institute, for several years, he has now broadened his focus by forming a government-registered NGO (non-governmental organization)–The Foundation for Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Lebanon (FFRL).
“FFRL believes in identifying all people through a common humanity, seeking to break down dehumanizing perceptions resulting from sectarian division and establishing a path towards social reconciliation through the lens of forgiveness,” according to Ramy, Director of the FFRL.
“We work with youth and young adults from various communities in Lebanon, providing education in nonviolent conflict resolution through our Forgiveness Journey curriculum,” he added. “This involves developing an understanding of the spectrum of forgiveness, from a space of basic coexistence all the way to complete reconciliation.”
During the past couple years, the group’s “projects have included people from Lebanese, Palestinian, Syrian and Iraqi communities of various religious backgrounds,” according to FFRL’s website. “Intergroup engagement is core to our work, bringing opposed groups together in order to nurture the aspects of reconciliation they have learned from the Forgiveness Journey in a real world setting.”
Renewing Communities Through Forgiveness Education: A Prospect For Peace
Dr. Enright and his International Forgiveness Institute first pioneered this concept in 1985 and created the first scientifically proven forgiveness program in the US. Since 2002, Dr. Enright has focused almost exclusively on the development of forgiveness education curricula for children in war-torn, impoverished, and/or oppressed areas of the globe. The Foundation for Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Lebanon is one expression of this forgiveness education that now reaches to more than 30 countries around the world.
“Together with the IFI, we believe that forgiveness is a path to peace,” Ramy says. “With Dr. Enright’s help we are mentoring a generation of future peacemakers in the Middle-East.”
Independence, Civil War and Turmoil
On Nov. 22, Lebanon celebrated 73 years of independence from France. Those years have been marked, however, with continued sectarian violence and conflicts including an Israeli invasion, Syrian occupancy, and a Lebanese Civil War.
In addition to all that, the recent and ongoing influx of Syrian refugees has only added to the nation’s instability, with an estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees now seeking refuge in Lebanon. Furthermore, Palestinian refugees still make up another 450,000–this equates to a ratio of one in four being a refugee in Lebanon, the highest anywhere in the world.
1) Visit The Foundation for Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Lebanon website.
2) Watch a short 3:16 video about the FFRL.
3) Review the complete curriculum compendium for the Lebanese Forgiveness Education Program.
4) Donate to help FFRL mentor a generation of future Middle-East peacemakers in Lebanon.