About Us

Common Humanity is a non-profit organization based in New York City which seeks to build understanding, respect and friendship with the Middle East and Muslim world.   We believe that the road to peace in the Middle East lies in recognizing the humanity of people on all sides of the conflict we’re in.  Instead of sending more guns to the Middle East, we should be sending compassion and humanitarian relief supplies.

Since our beginning in 2009, we have led three medical

delegations to Damascus during which North American

doctors shared their medical expertise with their Syrian

colleagues.  Sadly, the war in Syria has prevented us from

returning but we are seeking to continue our medical

delegations elsewhere in the Middle East.

During one of our visits, we made contact through the

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees with a

group of Iraqi refugee artists who had fled to Damascus. 

We began purchasing their paintings and bringing them

back to New York, exhibiting and selling them, and with

the money we received going back to Damascus and

repeating the process by buying another round of

paintings.  The exhibits we’ve held have attracted

hundred of visitors who have expressed appreciation for

the opportunity of seeing a part of the beauty and humanity

of Middle East and Arab culture.

Encouraged by the positive response we’ve received, we’re trying to expand our outreach.  We believe that our message of peaceful co-existence is urgently needed today.  We are working to “take our show on the road” and exhibit these beautiful paintings in other parts of the country.  Your contribution will help us accomplish that goal.

Mel Lehman is the director of of Common Humanity.   He has worked in international humanitarian issues for several decades, inducing two decades at the National Council  of Churches.  He has traveled extensively in the Middle East and has published a number of articles about his experience.

Videos About Our Work

Mel Lehman discusses his work with refugee art (right)

Mel Lehman in the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus,

Syria, in 2010 before the war (links on home page)

A video about exhibiting Iraqi refugee art


Articles About Our Work 

Eastern Mennonite University Dec. '16  Alumni Magazine 

CNN Inside the Middle East Blog  

Articles by Mel Lehman

Book Review:  The Radical Muslim and Mennonite


2013 regional Journey Award from Everence, a Mennonite-related

financial services organization (photo at right)


East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church, Oct. '17, "Spiritual Resources to Help

     End the Forever War" Audio Version

Other Related Works by Mel Lehman


"Christmas Cards to Bethlehem" video produced by Mel Lehman for United Methodist Church http://www.umtv.org/archives/Christmas_Cards_To_Bethlehem.htm

Articles by Mel Lehman

God's Voice in an Arabic Lesson, National Catholic Reporter (won award)

Middle Easter:  Op-Ed in Newark Star-Ledger (won award)


Growing Up Under Occupation:  http://www.cnewa.org/default.aspx?ID=3209&pagetypeID=4&sitecode=HQ&pageno=1

Articles about Mel Lehman



Christmas Card Exchange with Palestinian Schools

Ancient Heritage of Middle East and Muslim World in Tour of Biblical Archeology in Metropolitan Museum of Art

Mel Lehman received the 2013 regional Journey Award from Everence for his work with Common Humanity.

Mel Lehman, Director of Common Humanity Bio

Common Humanity led several medical delegations to Syria before

the current civil war.  Above, inside the historic Umayyad mosque.

(c) 2018 by Common  Humanity