Summer in Beirut

Lara Deeb and students

While conflicts in the Middle East generated headline news, this summer three Scripps College students lived in Lebanon and either met with Palestinian refugees or interned at a conflict management think tank in Beirut.

The students are seniors Monica Dreitcer, Bryn Morgan, and Claire Wilson, all majoring in Middle East and North Africa studies. In addition, Morgan is also pursuing a dual major in religious studies.

Dreitcer studied at the American University of Beirut last spring and stayed in Lebanon to interview Palestinian refugees on family planning practices. She relied on a translator to communicate.

“I found a community that was caring, hospitable, and soon where I was most comfortable. I was talking to women I had never met before, whose language I didn’t speak well, and whose futures were mostly much more limited than my own. But they welcomed me into their homes, gave me strong coffee, and answered my questions,” Dreitcer says.

Morgan was a recipient of a Summer Internship Grant in Conflict Management, funded by Margaret Towne D’Albert ’54, which supports experiences at organizations dedicated to peace and conflict resolution. The grant funded her internship at the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies, a Beirut-based think tank. She also conducted interviews as part of her senior thesis research on young adults’ personal relationship with their religion, in light of the role sectarianism plays in Beirut.

“I got to do research that fascinates me to no end and experience and learn more about an amazing city and region!” says Morgan, who studies Arabic and who has previously visited Morocco, Egypt, and Jordan.

Wilson was a volunteer program instructor at Shatila, a Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut. She began volunteering at the camp while at the American University of Beirut this spring. She stayed in Lebanon for the summer after she was awarded funding from Scripps College’s Davis Family Foundation Leadership Internship Grant.

“I had the opportunity to dramatically improve my Arabic language skills, and I gained valuable knowledge of the process of humanitarian aid and development work,” says Wilson, who has conducted field research in Jordan. “All of this insight has played a valuable role in deciding my career path.”

Above: Monica Dreitcer ’13, Claire Wilson ’13, Bryn Morgan ’13, and Associate Professor of Anthropology Lara Deeb in Lebanon this past summer.


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