E8-S4 The journey of a humanitarian worker with Hanadi Mehdi

Summary & Key Takeways

Growing up in a civil war is –unfortunately- no that uncommon for many of us.  But raising someone to break the cycle of vengeance and hate in the midst of war is remarkable.  This was the childhood of today’s guest, Hanadi Mehdi. Borned and raised in the midst of Beirut’s 15-year cruel civil war, Hamadi learned from her parents the value of education and on-the-ground peace and reconciliation.  In Episode 8 of Season 4 hear about her grad school experience  abroad, and what she is doing now to bring about positive social change through her work at the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Episode 8 of Season 4 is brought to you by The Rotary Peace Fellowship and the Graduate Program in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence at the Heller School for Social Policy at Brandeis University.


Click here to listen to Hanadi  

 In this episode we discuss:

  • War as “normalized” day-to-day practices for Hamadi as she grew up 
  • How Hamadi became a teacher and dealt with the problems of how to tell “the history of the war”
  • While Hamadi always wanted to be a humanitarian worker, she studied to have a degree in English Literature and became a teacher
  • How volunteering became her entry point to doing humanitarian work
  • How a good mentor was the key for Hamadi’s finding her graduate program (Heller School for Social Policy)
  • Hamadi’s take on why to do a graduate degree
  • Hamadi’s first job after graduation in South Sudan with ICRC
  • Reasons why ICRC didn’t hire Hamadi when she first applied
  • From South Sudan, to Iran and back to Beirut with the ICRC
  • A day in the work of Hamadi (in Iraq and Beirut)
  • Growing her family and returning to Beirut
  • On motherhood and sustaining a career with ICRC
  • Top three things to pursue a career in the humanitarian/social good space
  • How Hamadi copes with the stressful nature of her job



Heller School for Social Policy

International Committee for the Red Cross


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This episode was brought thanks to the Rotary Peace Fellowship and Brandeis University:

Are you an existing or emerging peace leader looking to take your career to the next level? You might be eligible to receive full funding to pursue a MA or professional certificate in peace & conflict studies. Learn more about Rotary Peace Fellowships at www.rotary.org/peace-fellowships

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