Humanitarian Sister Micheline Lattouf of the Good Shepherd Sisters was honored by Maryville University with the annual Sister Mary Byles Peace and Justice Prize & Lecture in April.
Lattouf was recognized for her work with the refugees of the Syrian conflict. Lattouf heads the Good Shepherd Social and Community Center in Deir al-Ahmar, a village in Lebanon’s northern Bekaa Valley. Thousands of families have crossed the border since the onset of Syria’s civil war.
“When I arrived in the community, the people were like sheep without a shepherd,” Lattouf said. “It was a very poor area and there was a great need. The children especially did not have a place to learn or a place to play.”
Today, the Center provides education for more than 300 refugee children, with many classes taught by Syrian teachers. School brings structure and a sense of normalcy to these children’s lives during wartime.
Additionally, Lattouf and her staff work with adult refugees to help them find employment options in the face of long-term displacement. They also provide the basics for survival including distributing shelter materials, food, water and clothing to families.
Earlier in the day, Lattouf met with Maryville students during a class taught by Germaine Murray, PhD, professor of English. The group discussed contemporary events, trends and issues facing citizens and leaders around the world. That discussion continued during Lattouf’s presentation. She shared that she believes conflicts can be resolved not through the lens of religion or politics, but through the lens of people.
“If we want to change something in the world, we need to start with the children,” she said. “If we want a more tolerant world, we need to be more tolerant in front of children. If we want a kinder world, we need to be more kind in front of children. They learn so much from our behaviors and our actions, and it’s our responsibility to teach them how we want it to be in the future.”
To view photos from the event, please click here.
About the Sister Mary Byles Peace and Justice Prize & Lecture
The Sister Mary Byles Peace and Justice Prize & Lecture, which carries a monetary award provided through the Sister Mary Byles Endowed Lecture Series Fund, has been established by Maryville University to honor the legacy of Sister Mary Byles, an esteemed professor of humanities and theology. Throughout her long career at Maryville, she was well-known among religious leaders in the St. Louis area for her significant efforts to further ecumenical and interfaith relations. The prize and lecture in her name will draw attention to the moral and ethical issues still existing in modern society, and further the University’s mission to instill a sense of social consciousness within its graduates.