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Ambassadors for Peace

Call up a Friend


In Amman, Jordan, Dr. Ghazi Tayyeb got a phone call one day last year from a friend who said, “Are you an Ambassador for Peace?”

The soft-spoken former Commander-in-Chief of UN Forces in Croatia said yes.

The caller replied, “Prove to me that you are really an Ambassador for Peace.”

This challenge aroused his curiosity. “Let me hear your story to evaluate whether I can help or not. What do you want exactly?”

The caller said, “I have friends—a family consisting of three women and two men. They are in danger in Lebanon. They are in an area that is being shelled.”

Dr. Tayyeb knew that the situation at that time was very bad. There was a lot of shelling between the Hezbollah and the Israelis.

The caller had requested a basic humanitarian appeal to help those whose lives were in danger. As vice president of Jordan Aviation, Dr. Tayyeb had access to resources, but to mobilize assistance across national boundaries during conflict is not a simple matter.

He told the caller, “I can’t promise, but I will try.”

Dr. Tayyeb made a telephone call to one of his friends in the royal court in Jordan. The friend said, “Yes, contact this person [a staff member at the Embassy of Jordan in Beirut]. I will send him a letter asking him to help those people.”

Immediately Dr. Tayyeb contacted the anxious caller and told him, “Call your friends in Lebanon and tell them to go to the embassy or call this person.”

They communicated with the staff member, who said, “Be in Beirut at a certain time and I will be waiting for you.” The meeting took place. The family was taken to the airport and put them on an aircraft belonging to the Royal Jordanian Air Force.

When the airplane was due to arrive from Beirut, Dr. Tayyeb was waiting for them at the airport. “I came to them and introduced myself,” he recalled. “I remember the girl, who was about 18. She was nervous, looking all around—looking here and there. She was still afraid that she was in danger. She had been through a very bad time. I tried to quiet her. I told her, ‘You are safe now. You are in Amman. Don’t worry.’” But she was still afraid.

Dr. Tayyeb realized that his task as an Ambassador for Peace was not yet finished. He took the family to La Royale Hotel in Amman and arranged for them to stay there for three days. The girl did not calm down until she saw tourists from England, America, and Japan and other places in the hotel. The family stayed in Amman for three days and then left for Europe. They returned to Beirut when things settled down.

Dr. Tayyeb paused and then commented, “The girl’s mother told me in tears, ‘You saved her life.’”

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