Common Humanity: Bshara Nassar MA ’15 and Mel Lehman ’71

December 6th, 2016


BSHARA NASSAR MA ’15 (ABOVE) AND MEL LEHMAN ’71 (BELOW)¬†both believe in the power of art to connect humans. Nassar, based in Washington D.C. and Lehman, of New York City, travel the country and beyond with their respective nonprofit organizations, collecting and showing Arab and Muslim artwork. They met at Homecoming and Family Weekend, when Nassar staged the “Hope is Stronger Than Misery” exhibit. 20161015-homecoming-art-openHis Nakba Museum Project, focused on Palestinian history, is moving toward a permanent home in Washington D.C. “In a world where hatred is brewing, art helps us retain our humanity, open our hearts and minds, and understand one another on a deeper level,” he says.

Lehman is founder and executive director of Common Humanity, which seeks to build understanding and friendship with the Arab and Muslim world. The or-ganization began in 2009 with medical delegations to Syria and has continued with touring art exhibits that raise funds for refugee artists. “Our entertainment, news media and political leaders continually offer us negative images of the Arab and Muslim world,” Lehman says. “But we need to remember that there is much good there and the vast majority of people there want peace just as we do. Our Iraqi refugee art exhibits help visitors to see the richness and beauty of Middle East culture and to recognize the common humanity we share with the people there.”