On August 16th, 2016 Thomas and Hermine Schellen, while visiting Austria, were invited by UPF-Austria to speak about “Perspectives of the Situation in Lebanon: Reasons for the conflict in Syria, Situation of the refugees”. Mr. Thomas Schellen from Germany and his Austrian wife Hermine have moved to Libanon in 1997 and have been working there ever since. Mr. Schellen is a Journalist, Editor-at-large for the Executive-Magazine. He has been writing articles for economical and business journals in the Middle East for the last 20 years. She is UPF Secretary General in Libanon and has been involved in supporting refugees, specially during the last three years. Thomas Schellen shared some of his insights about the situation in the Middle East:


At the moment there is neither war nor peace in Lebanon. Society is divided: On one hand the family is the most important unit. Each family has traditionally 6-7 children, and all the relatives are connected to each other. They help each other. On the other hand family structures are very authoritarian, and there is a lot of nepotism. 80% of the population and more believe that one needs the right relationships in order to get a job.


All the states of the Middle East have their own portion of responsibility concerning the war which is going on. The politicians in power want to stay in power. Some of the historical reasons for the war go back as far as 1000 years.  The Israeli-Palestinian conflict contributed to the destabilization of the region. The Lebanon also has extreme dependencies on foreign powers like Iran, Saudi Arabia, USA, Russia and France. The perspectives for what is good for the Lebanon as a nation are very weak, the infrastructure is damaged. For example the supply for water and electricity has been instable even before all the refugees came into the country.




In 2012 the fights started at the border areas with Syria and 1,2 million refugees came within 2 years. Officially there are no refugee camps, because this would cause great aversion in the population. The reason for this is that since many decades there are Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. That’s why the new refugees are accommodated in private homes or in camps which are called “private”. But this strains the infrastructure more and more. Juvenile unemployment is over 40%. There are very few prospects for a better future. As the Lebanon tries to avoid more refugees, the flow of refugees has been shifted to Turkey and Europe.


Perspectives for peace nead a clear roadmap for peace for the whole region is needed and the superpowers have to be involved.


Hermine Schellen for several months has been able to distribute gifts of small amounts of money, which had been donated by UPF International as well as medical help to a “refugee camp” with a few hundres refugees. Through posters like “I’m a volunteer” at the universities in Beirut UPF was able to recruit students for voluntary work in the refugee camps. More than 100 students came and helped. They distributed food, toys and clothes that had been collected by students of the Lebanese American University. Hermine was able to get donations from the International Family Federation in Korea. So they were ables to build up in two camps a school where Arabic, Mathematic and English is taught.


Mr. and Mrs. Schellen received donations for their humanitarian work in Lebanon from the Austrian Family Federation, the Austrian Women’s Federation and from Ambassadors for Peace .




Relief for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon      UPF-Lebanon Continues Aid to Syrian Refugees

Beirut, Lebanon—Thanks to generous funding by its international partners, UPF-Lebanon once more was able to give much needed financial aid to 55 Syrian refugee families.

T. Schellen: An Assessment of the Implications of the Syrian Catastrophe


See also:




Toward Peace and Reconciliation in Syria and the Middle East - The Role of Religions
Vienna, February 5th 2016 - In the Vienna International Center (United Nations), 250 guests attended the World Interfaith Harmony Week conference on the theme "Toward Peace and Reconciliation in Syria and the Middle East - The Role of Religions".    


Video 1. Session  Video 2. Session




Consultations on the Crisis in Syria
Since 2012 the Universal Peace Federation has convened or contributed to a number of civil-society forums on the crisis in Syria.    weiter...