InterFaith Works, a Syracuse non-profit dedicated to inter-faith understanding and coop- eration, presented five honorees in May with their annual Leadership Award, three of whom are affiliated with Syracuse University. The award seeks to recognize those who show “devotion to faith, dedication to community and distinction in career”. These five honorees—Mr. Ahmad El- Hindi; Anis Obeid, M.D.; Rev. Thomas V. Wolfe, Ph.D.; Louis Kriesberg, Ph.D.; and the Honorable Minna Buck—are unique in that they have worked together for over thirty years in the Syracuse Area Middle East Dialogue (SAMED) to tackle issues of religion, conflict and dialogue.

Mr. Ahmad El-Hindi grew up in a Palestinian village, traveled by sea for seventeen days to arrive in Syracuse at age nineteen and has acted as an indispensable member of the community ever since. He received admission into Syracuse University’s engineering program and built his own business from the ground up. El-Hindi never ceased in advocacy for the Middle East, promoting education for Palestinians and aiding in the founding and funding of several Middle Eastern Studies programs, including SU’s own.

Reverend Wolfe serves as the Senior Vice President and Dean of the Division of Student Affairs at SU, following a ten-year term as Dean of Hendricks Chapel and before that as Interde- nominational Protestant Chaplain. He also served on the board of directors for both InterFaith Works and Vera House, a refuge for victims of domestic violence.

Louis Kriesberg is Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Maxwell Professor Emeritus of Social Conflict Studies, and founding director of the Program on the Analysis and Resolution of Conflicts at SU. His work with SAMED is a clear merging of his interests and experience in cross-cultural communication and conflict resolution.

Dr. Obeid is the former Director of Echocardiography at Syracuse’s Crouse Hospital and a clinical professor of medicine at SUNY Upstate Medical University. In addition to SAMED, he has participated in the Arab American Medical Association and the Arab American Anti- Discrimination Committee.

The Hon. Minna Buck worked as an attorney at the city, county and state levels and as Deputy Director of Onondaga Neighborhood Legal Services (ONLS) before election as Onondaga Family Court Judge in 1982. She has been a vital member of the Women’s Fund of Central New York, an organization dedicated to the promotion and support of women’s leadership and success.

Through their collaboration, these five honorees have found that conflict can be used to encourage growth and progress. The methods by which we engage conflict determine whether the outcome will be such growth or persistent tension and violence. By facilitating inter-faith dialogue, SAMED members believe that violent conflict can be mitigated, internationally as well as locally. For a video about the honorees, see