Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Relief work for simple minded people

SPS international classes can give you headaches, heartaches, bad cases of anger, teacher hating thoughts, reminders of the upcoming revenge of Moctezuma, and once in a lifetime opportunities. That was the case when meeting with Dr. Mohammed Al-Hadid in Amman Jordan. He is the Chairman of the Standing Commission of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, or as I like to see it, the number one person in the area of disaster relief services in the world. The opportunity to meet Mr. Al-Haddid gave the whole group the opportunity to gain invaluable insights on issues of development, disaster relief and preparedness, basic understanding of the Red Cross-Red Crescent-Red Crystal commission and his personal views on practical operations.

MR. Hadid bases much of his work in a philosophy of inclusion, understanding, and cross-cultural communication in order to achieve peace and harmony. His work is based in a principle of impartiality that has allowed him to contribute to have the Red Cross-Red Crescent operate within many conflict areas in the world and with special success in the Israeli and Palestinian territories. This is also represented by a great adaptability that has led the organization to develop and employ three distinct emblems that can ensure acceptance, timely provision of services, obstacle breaching and the hard to accomplish goal to save lives. Here is where one of his main teachings takes place for those who work in the NGO-development world. Workers in this field often become dogmatic, entropic, and righteous while navigating with the flag of our causes and areas of expertise. Mr. Al-Hadid answers to these attitudes by pointing that things are quite simple when we focus and are guided solely by the real mission of helping those in need, not the political or personal agendas.

One of the examples of his speech of putting racial, religious and political interest aside is the collaboration he helped develop for Jordan with the Ben Gurion University in Be’er Sheva Israel. This in order to train young Jordanian paramedics on emergency medical response; this is a training that would have been available to Jordanians only by literally going to the other side of the world, and at a much greater expense. This example shows not only practicality, but focuses on the real development of infrastructure. Another lesson that can be learned from this man is the one of humility, the western perception of the person that in order to become great one has to do bigger projects as one progresses trough hierarchies, is contrasted by his humility. Mr. Al-Hadid has decided to step down from his position at the end of his current term, not because he is tired or retiring, but because he has a new mission to accomplish; to focus in more local issues in Jordan. I’ll think of him the next time when my colleagues dream and theorize about great international projects and politics, and down the local issues. I’ll think of him when I feel myself out of focus with the personal missions in my life.

Posted By Tomas Ramirez
Photo Credits: Elizabeth Hall

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