28 February 2007
Peace Activists Jerry & Sis Levin to Speak at JSU
Jacksonville State University's Episcopal Campus Ministry and the
Department of Learning Services are sponsoring a program on a couple's current peace building efforts in Israel/Palestine
on Monday, March 12 at 3:00 p.m. in 1103A Houston Cole Library. Husband and wife team Jerry and Sis Levin will speak
about their ongoing peace building efforts in Israel/Palestine. The event is free and open to the public.
Jerry serves on a Christian Peacemaker Team there, and Sis is training teachers in Palestine as part of her Task Force
Design for Violence Prevention Resource Center. This institute, headquartered in Birmingham, AL, coordinates "comprehensive
programs for teaching alternatives to violence in the public school system." Their talk will include personal experiences
as well as the political background and signs of progress in this region of conflict.
Jerry and Sis are internationally known speakers on the history and current events in this volatile region. Jerry was
CNN Bureau Chief in Beirut in the 1980's when he was kidnapped and held hostage for almost a year before being released
unharmed. Sis Levin, originally from Mountain Brook, AL, has a doctorate in education from Columbia University and has
lectured widely on the conflict in Israel/Palestine and peace building efforts there. Their talk will give listeners
a first-hand account of the conflict and hope in a region that many believe holds the key to a peaceful future.
Jerry and Sis are home in Birmingham on a visit from their peace building in Israel/Palestine. Jerry works with the Christian
Peacemaker Teams who interpose themselves between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian civilians to prevent violence. Sis is
training teachers in Palestinian schools, Pre K – 12, to help children become “peace builders.”
The Levins’ involvement in the Middle East started years ago, when Jerry was CNN Bureau Chief in Beirut and Sis was in seminary
there. Jerry was kidnapped and held hostage for nearly a year, and partly as a result of that experience, converted from Judaism
to Christianity. Sis went on to get a doctorate in education from Columbia. Both have written books about their experiences,
and the kidnapping episode was made into a movie
Held Hostage: The Sis and Jerry Levin Story
starring Marlo Thomas as Sis Levin.
As a former television network journalist, Jerry Levin composed a collection of essays
comprising a series of periodic reports, reflections, commentaries, and analyses on the effects of violence and nonviolence in the
Occupied Territories and Israel, and Iraq. Jerry Levin's essays up until April 2005 have been compiled into a book,
West Bank Diary: Middle East Violence as Reported by a Former American Hostage.
Dr. Lucille Hare (Sis) Levin is founder and CEO of an educational institute currently being developed by an International Task Force
Office located in Birmingham. The new initiative, a collection of the best of the best educational and scientific materials in
an emerging field focused on "Violence Prevention," is being hailed for uniquely meeting a desperate need among the several academic
disciplines involved in "Conflict Management." Among its important projects is the coordination of comprehensive programs for
teaching alternatives to violence in the public school system.
Dr. Levin has served at the University of Alabama at Birmingham
as an Associate Scientist at the Injury Control Research Center and School of Public Health, and also as Adjunct Professor
in the UAB and Samford Schools of Education. Upon returning from California as Visiting Professor of Peace Studies at
Chapman University and where she had also taught workshops on "The Role of Forgiveness in Conflict Management and Reconciliation"
at Pepperdine Law School, UCLA, Stanford and others, Dr. Levin accepted the invitation to act as Consultant in Bethlehem,
West Bank and Jerusalem, Israel.
During months on leave from the Middle East assignment, she lectures regularly at schools like Georgetown, Notre Dame, Columbia
and many others nationally and internationally. In the UK she has lectured to standing ovations at the Cambridge Union Society,
as well as Oxford and St. Andrews University, Scotland.
Dr. Levin is perhaps best known for her role in negotiating the release of her husband, Jerry, CNN Bureau Chief held hostage by
Hizbullah in Lebanon - as relayed in her best selling book: Beirut Diary (InterVarsity Press, Il). She consulted
in the NBC-TV rendition: Held Hostage, starring Marlo Thomas as “Sis.”
The Task Force Design for the Violence Prevention Resource Center project has received endorsements which range from the Birmingham
City School Superintendent to the European Teachers Association and includes prominent members of the medical community. Born in
Birmingham, Alabama and educated at Randolph-Macon Women's College in Lynchburg, Virginia and the University of Alabama (both
Tuscaloosa and Birmingham campuses), Sis, the mother of five children, was in Divinity School in Beirut when Jerry, serving as
Cable News Network's Mideast Bureau Chief, was kidnapped and held captive in an isolated cell for eleven and one half months.
She worked tirelessly for her husband's release, both at home and abroad, using educational methods as her unique tool of diplomacy.
Viewing international terrorism in a larger context, which includes the need for peaceful dialogue and reconciliation, Sis has
become an outspoken advocate for community involvement in nonviolent conflict management and psychosocial understanding at the
global level. Her many appearances on the Today Show, Good Morning America and Network News Broadcasts
have produced an informal international educational network of a growing number of lay people who realize their unique opportunity
for facing the present challenge of diffusing tensions and creating world friendships. Encouraging families internationally in
church, school, and medical, legal, and educational professional groups by lecturing, conducting workshops, and designing educational
materials has become Sis Levin's principal occupation.
She completed her doctorate at Columbia University in International Education with a concentration in Peace Studies. She serves on
the boards and/or staff of the Human Rights Project, Educators Without Borders, the Save Lebanon Foundation, Pax World Service,
United Nations Association, and World Peacemakers.
Sis is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Scholar (Princeton), member of the National Press Club, Junior League and Rotary International and
the Episcopal Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, Alabama. She lectures with the many video cassettes she’s produced for
Adult Forums internationally. She has also written teacher training material for numerous local and rural school and community
classes and spoken to and taught over 1000 of these groups. Book and cassette sales have been impressive, seeming to indicate a need
on the public's part for information and education on the tragic global violence as seen in the light of its relevancy to interracial
communities at this pivotal moment in the history of violent conflict. From Birmingham to Bethlehem: The Victims’ Victory
is the title of her current seminar and book in progress.
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