Bahjat Mansour, 2019, Lebanon

My path to Fletcher: I was on a mission with the ICRC in Sa’dah, Northern Yemen when I began writing my application for Fletcher. With war in full swing, our humanitarian access and operations had bogged down and aerial bombardments were a half a mile away from our residence. As I reflected on my purpose in the humanitarian sector, the task of summarizing eight years of field experience in 800 words seemed impossible. I wrestled through several drafts during the evenings. One night at the office I settled on a version that was ready for editing and sent it to print before heading home. In my post-writing daze, however, I forgot to pick up the papers before leaving. The next day, I received a message from the head of the protection unit, stationed 340 miles away in the capital, Sana’a, to schedule an immediate Skype call. That request felt particularly strange, given that our offices had little communication. As it turned out, I had the printer setting set to the Sana’a office instead of Sa’dah. And, coincidentally, my essay was picked up by my colleague AND Fletcher alumna, Marta Costa Mendes (MALD 2009)! What are the odds?

On the Fletcher community: My introduction to the Fletcher community came shortly after I received my letter of acceptance from admissions. Last spring, a Fletcher alumnus and my childhood friend Nadim Choucair (MALD 2017) introduced me to his classmate, David Moulton (MALD 2018), who had expressed interest in the ICRC. I later met with Dave in Beirut during the summer. He connected me with several alumni and students who were in town as part of the Fares Center team working on the Tripoli project. Later on in Geneva, I met with another incoming student and two alumni over lunch. Even before stepping foot on campus, I realized that I wasn’t merely a student in a program, but a member of a tight-knit community with a global reach.

Favorite movie
Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez

Favorite landmark
Temple of Bacchus-Baalbek; Palmyra

Most memorable international experience
Getting stuck for a week in a beach lodge during the 2009 coup d'état in Madagascar

Global issue that brought you to Fletcher
Foreign military and humanitarian interventions and non-state armed groups

Best place to study
Deep inside the Ginn Library stacks

Fields of Study

International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution

International Security

Activities at Fletcher

The Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies

Fermentation Club

Education before Fletcher

BE, Civil and Environmental Engineering, American University of Beirut

Experience before Fletcher

Delegate, International Committee of the Red Cross, Iraq/Yemen/Djibouti/Lebanon

Field Engineer, Consolidated Contractors Company, Greece/Nigeria/Papua New Guinea/Madagascar