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Exciting news!  My portraits from Lebanon are now on display in an exhibit, “Faces of Lebanon” at Octane Coffee on the Westside of Atlanta.

Exhibit runs: January 7- February 1
Opening Event: Friday, January 23 7-11 p.m.

My hope is to present you with a window into the magnificently resilient, inspiring, forward-thinking, eclectic country that is Lebanon. Despite its history of trials and tragedies, including a war from 1975-1990 which the country is still recovering from, Lebanon has persevered.  It has also generously opened its doors to others in need and remained a fairly stable and peaceful land amidst war-torn neighbors.

Unfortunately, the tides are beginning to change and new restrictions are beginning to arise as the number of refugees in Lebanon has skyrocketed in the last two years due to violence in both Syria and Iraq.  Prior to this recent influx, Lebanon received a flood of refugees fleeing from Palestine, largely from 1948-1967 when it was divided from the new state of Israel and came under the rule of Jordan. Currently, Lebanon is experiencing a growing number of immigrants from African and South Asian countries, as well. Now 25%, if not more, of Lebanon’s small population of four million is made up of immigrants and refugees.  You can imagine the challenge this places on the country’s infrastructure. Yet, what can they do?  How morally afflictive would it be for this culture steeped hospitality if they had to one day close their borders completely?

Amidst the challenges, uncertainties and pressures these fast changes have brought, the people in Lebanon–natives, refugees, and immigrants alike– live lives of astounding resilience, hope, and joy.  People are joining together, extending exemplary hospitality and showing remarkable compassion.  It is these people I introduce to you.

May you be blessed and inspired as you meet our brothers and sister in the Middle East face to face, eye to eye, story to story–yours and theirs, now a part of each others.

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Syrian girl living in the Sadnair Refugee Camp in northern Lebanon.