Announcement - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Beirut Will Rebuild: A Message from the Middle East Initiative Faculty Director

| Aug. 07, 2020

Dear Friends,

There are no words that I can add to make sense of or to alleviate the pain of the tragedy that befell Lebanon and its storied capital, Beirut, this week. In a year marked by widespread illness, unrest, and uncertainty for all of us around the world, what Lebanon and its people have just undergone touches all of our hearts, and fills us alternately with gloom over what was lost and awe for the indomitability of the Lebanese spirit in tragedy’s wake. Beirut will rebuild. That global center of art, culture, and philosophy will recover. Lebanon’s people will continue to model for us all the creativity, brilliance, and toleration that have made their country and their capital the jewels of the Arab world.

The Middle East Initiative will strive in the coming weeks and months to provide resources for those who wish to understand what has happened and to explore the ways in which Lebanon’s people are moving forward with resolve, determination, and grace. In all of this, we will amplify Lebanese voices and Lebanese testimonials, and though we are fortunate to have strong ties in that country, we always welcome suggestions for new individuals from whom our community should hear and new organizations with whom we should engage. 

As we think about our brothers and sisters in Lebanon, we reflect also on the loss of life around the world, in calamities both well-known and unnoticed. Given the scale of suffering, our instinct might be to disconnect, to preserve our sanity by drawing a veil over our eyes and attending to our narrow lives and local concerns. But by drawing together now in support of Lebanon and in recognition of its fallen, we recover our common humanity, and take a step toward the alleviation of suffering everywhere.

On behalf of all of my colleagues at the Middle East Initiative, the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and the Harvard Kennedy School, I convey to you our fondest hope that the coming days will be ones of peace, justice, and understanding for all the world’s peoples.

Please stay well, stay safe, and stay in touch.

Sincerely and respectfully,

Tarek Masoud
Sultan Qaboos Bin Said of Oman Professor of International Relations, Harvard Kennedy School
Faculty Director, Middle East Initiative, Belfer Center for Science and International Affair

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Masoud, Tarek.“Beirut Will Rebuild: A Message from the Middle East Initiative Faculty Director.” Announcement, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, August 7, 2020.

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