In 2003, Abir Al-Khalil (IIPES 01) earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the American University of Beirut (where the language of instruction is English) and a law degree from the Lebanese University (where the language of instruction is Arabic).
Al-Khalil has been active in social and legal volunteer projects throughout Lebanon. She is also very interested in working with the “synergy” between journalism and the law. She is currently working as a copy editor at The Daily Star, International Herald Tribune .
IIPES provided Al-Khalil with the opportunity to expand her academic, cultural and professional goals.
“IIPES was a memorable experience. It provided me with a first time exposure in several spheres. It is a program that offers participants, alongside a graduate-level seminar in ‘conflict resolution’ and political economy, the opportunity to learn through interaction.
“It brings together a culturally rich and talented assortment of young people from diverse, even conflicting backgrounds and guides them into interesting and productive debate. By solely witnessing such a crowd and observing how its individuals interacted, one could reflect into oneself to reassess self-image on the basis of the strengths and weaknesses of others.
“Also for a participant, it is unique to learn about yourself from the totally unexpected responses to you of fellow participants – generally first time acquaintances. It gives a person the incentive and the space to reflect on the course of one’s life.
“I learned that true strength lies in a person’s ability to tolerate others and survive in the midst of disagreement. I learned that it is counterproductive to intimidate people into a false sense of acquiescence. And that the strength of one’s position emanates from how it reaches to the opponent’s stand and builds on its points of concurrence and diversion.
“It is especially important for Lebanese to participate in IIPES. For them, it is a rare opportunity to interact with people from different cultural backgrounds all at once. IIPES is definitely a great mind-opener from many respects.”