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Faces of Syria

In partnership with:
With support from: Lowell Institute
Date and time
Sunday, January 09, 2011

Fully subscribing to Mark Twain’s phrase, "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness," Dick Simon and his family went to Syria in 2011 to better understand the human story behind the headlines. The Syria they experienced was not what they expected, the way our media has portrayed it. Simon said, "We found Syria to be a beautiful place with wonderful people. Our interactions with those we met opened our eyes and changed our perspective. Everyone welcomed us, including an encounter with President Bashar Assad, even after learning we were from the United States, the country which has imposed embargoes and labeled them Axis of Evil."

Dick Simon catalyzes business leaders making a difference through Young/World Presidents’ Organization (YPO/WPO), an international network of over 18,000 business leaders in 100+ countries. His work involves creating small, intimate groups of top CEOs from both sides of conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere to build trust and understanding, and engage in actions to bridge divides. Dick is a successful business leader, serial entrepreneur and real estate developer, and travels extensively throughout the world documenting the environments, cultures and people he experiences. Dick received his MBA from Harvard Business School and BA from Cornell University, and serves on boards including Free the Children, Griffin Museum of Photography, Hoffman Institute Foundation and Project Healthy Children, as well as the Guatemala Consul in Boston. He has been recognized by YPO as a Global Humanitarian and by HBS with its Making a Difference Award. He participates in the Clinton Global Initiative, TED, the Aspen Institute and other organizations. Simon says, “For me, photography is both a creative and spiritual endeavor; helping me to slow down, focus and actively engage with the natural world, people and cultures, increasing my ability to forge deep connections with my subjects. I travel throughout the world to see, experience, connect and learn. My photography is an attempt to capture and share the essential commonality of people. Absent the visual cues of costume, ethnicity and geography, we are all interchangeable human beings. This understanding is interwoven in my photography, presentations and lectures, and work I do with business leaders on opposite sides of geopolitical and religious conflicts, all of which address issues of perception, stereotyping, histories, and ‘the other/them’.“