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

    http://vimeo.com/21645558

    Articles by Mel Lehman

    http://mennoworld.org/2017/09/11/columns/book-review-the-radical-muslim-and-mennonite/

    Articles About Our Work 

    Eastern Mennonite University Dec. '16  http://emu.edu/now/crossroads/2016/12/06/common-humanity-bshara-nassar-ma-15-and-mel-lehman-71/

    http://www.cnn.com/blogarchive/insidethemiddleeast.blogs.cnn.com/category/culture-calendar/culture-contributors/

    http://www.bridgestv.com/Bridge_Builders.aspx (scroll down to "Mel Lehman")

    Awards

     

    2013 regional Journey Award from Everence, a Mennonite-related

    financial services organization (photo at right)

    Sermons

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

         End the Forever War" Audio Version:  https://www.ecsmc.org  Published:  

         http://mennoworld.org/2018/01/05/the-world-together/ending-the-forever-war/

    Mel Lehman's Work Before Common Humanityd

    Video

    "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)

    http://www.wcc-coe.org/wcc/news/press/00/07feat-e.html

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

    Articles about Mel Lehman

    http://www.cnewaindia.in/default.aspx?ID=699&pagetypeID=6&sitecode=CA&pageno=1

    https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2000/october2/22.29.html

    Christmas Card Exchange with Palestinian Schools
     

    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