Description of work in Jordan:
Noah Merrill recently returned from six weeks of intensive work in Jordan
among Iraqi refugees displaced as a result of the ongoing Iraq crisis.
During this time, he conducted more than 40 in-depth formal interviews
with Iraqi families, and met informally with many more. Merrill
participated in frequent consultations with staff of international
humanitarian organizations, UN staff, and representatives of Iraqi civil
society and political groups. In addition to interviews with Iraqi
families and conducting an assessment of the humanitarian and political
situation in Jordan, Iraq, and the region, he was involved in direct
advocacy and service work on behalf of Iraqis facing acute needs in
Jordan, including working to secure release from detention, ensure access
to needed medical care, report abuses by officials, access information
about refugee services, and facilitate border passage into Jordan.
Following the current speaking tour, Merrill plans to return to Jordan to
continue this ongoing work.
Description of speaking event:
Merrill will present as part of a national speaking tour with the American
Friends Service Committee intended to bring the realities of the Iraqi
refugee crisis home to Americans. He will share the stories of Iraqis
forced from their country by violence and chaos, and describe their
struggles to survive in an increasingly hostile environment. He will
address the regional economic, environmental, and political implications
of the growing refugee crisis, its roots in Baghdad and Washington, and
the gathering threat posed to the world by the continuing creation and
portrayal of the "Sunni-Shiite" conflict. Finally, he will
highlight prospects for constructive action to move beyond opposition to
US military occupation and toward promoting a lasting, healing peace for
Iraq through partnership with Iraqis. Tax-deductible donations to support
the needs of Iraqi families made refugees in Jordan will be gratefully
Noah Merrill is a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). He
has worked, studied, and reported on conflicts and peacebuilding efforts
in Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. He is a regular
contributor to the news and analysis website Electronic Iraq (www.electroniciraq.net),
and serves as a project team member. From 2004-2006, Merrill served on the
Middle East Task Force of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).
He holds degrees in Anthropology and Cross-Cultural Conflict
Transformation. Merrill currently serves as a consultant to AFSC's Middle
East Peacebuilding Program focusing on analysis of the Iraq conflicts, the
creation of advocacy resources on Iraq issues, and the Iraqi refugee
crisis. He is based in Vermont.