Ramzi Merhej - Lebanon

Summer 2010 Study of the U.S. Institutes on Religious Pluralism in the United States

"The SUSI program was the main turning point in my life, shifting my life's journey from being a
closed-minded person who believed in one rigid identity toward a person who is always willing to learn about himself through the different 'other,' while building my own complex identities. I wanted to change the world and make everybody another copy of me; however,
I ended up changing myself because I was able to appreciate and discover
the beauty of being different."

Ramzi was part of the DI's very first SUSI program in the summer of 2010. When he returned to Lebanon he worked to complete his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering but felt inspired to pursue further education in the field of peace and conflict studies (he is set to graduate with a master's degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from Philips University in Germany in August 2017).

With Dr. Ziad Fahed (another alum of the DI's dialogue training) and other SUSI alumni, Ramzi helped to found and develop Dialogue for Life and Reconciliation, a non-governmental organization promoting interfaith dialogue and building bridges between different communities. He is currently serving in a volunteer capacity as DLR's Vice-President and Program Manager.

Ramzi has also worked as a project officer with a Lebanese organization called Alef - Act for Human Rights. In that work he co-created a board game on interpersonal conflict transformation and worked on its development and testing. Later he managed two different projects with Search for Common Ground - Lebanon (SFCG). One project was to empower conflict local responses mechanism between Syrian refugees and Lebanese host Community in North Lebanon, and the other project was building bridges between Lebanese host community youth and Syrian youth refugees through arts in the Bekaa, North and South Lebanon.