Journalist Nathan Jeffay has reported from the front lines of the Israeli-Arab conflict, a region fraught with political and religious unrest. But the lessons he has learned there have given him invaluable experience about the paradoxical sides of humanity.
Jeffay will share his experiences at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13 in Olin Auditorium. His talk, Coexistence in a Conflict Zone, is sponsored by the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life and Hillel Shalom. The event is free and open to the public.
"I'm still surprised by the unlikely places and contexts that I find people of very different backgrounds and outlooks coming together in this turbulent region," Jeffay said.
Jeffay has spent over a decade reporting in the Middle East. He has covered visits by President Donald Trump, former President Barack Obama and Prince William. Previously, he studied and worked as a journalist in Britain for several years.
"Arriving here [in 2007] and covering the day-to-day was a bit of a culture shock, but even more interesting than I could have ever imagined," Jeffay said.
For Jeffay, witnessing the duality of humanity is an everyday occurrence. He is constantly reminded that the propensity for violence is a common human trait, and yet so is the ability to coexist.
"I remember going straight from a funeral of terrorism victims to a prenatal appointment with my wife, where Arabs and Jews sat in the waiting room comparing bumps," Jeffay said.
As a husband and father, living in the Middle East has had a profound impact on Jeffay's personal life. He and his wife expanded their family of three by fostering a child. Jeffay credits his experiences living and working abroad for the inspiration to take on new responsibilities.
"I've seen the enormous cruelty that can abound, but also the sense of humanity that unites many people on different sides," Jeffay said. "I've gotten an insight into the fragility of human beings, but also a sense that this fragility needn't always be a done deal."