Today’s word is mensch — a person of great character and integrity. Starting now, we’ll have a Mensch of the Month — someone who has demonstrated ample menschitude in the peacebuilding field. Nominations are most welcome. For our purposes, let’s consider mensch gender neutral.
So, please show some love to our first Mensch of the Month, Dr. Alan E. Gross.
Alan is a founding board member of New York Peace Institute and Mediators Beyond Borders. He’s a psychologist, a professor at NYU’s Center for Global Affiars, former Chair of Psychology at he University of Maryland, author, mediator, trainer, arbitrator, facilitator, former radio show host, researcher, entrepreneur, wedding officiant, and all-around community builder. He’s lent his dispute resolution skills to refugees in Ghana, students in Sierra Leone, families of September 11th victims, and countless people from all walks of life all over the world. This is just the tip of the Grossian iceberg.
In July, Alan received the coveted ADR Achievement Award from the Association of Conflict Resolution of Greater New York.
More fun facts about Alan:
— He’s been a taxi driver for 50 years. Navigating a yellowcab through NYC’s cacophonous gridlock is his idea of relaxation.
— He received the prestigious Volunteer for Victims Award from the United States Department of Justice, for his superhuman work in the wake of 9/11, during which he mobilized hundreds of volunteers to provide vital services to people affected by the tragedy.
–In a recent staff meeting in which we chose which actors would play us in a movie, Alan got Sean Connery. (I think he was slightly disappointed at not getting Clooney.)
–He was a contestant on Win Ben Stein’s Money, and he came *this* close to winning Ben Stein’s money.
–He’s been know to get behind the counter and help out at his neighborhood bodega, just because.
–He has a pipe organ and a harpsichord in his house (thanks to musician-scholar wife, Sarah).
–He’s the most responsive person on earth, and will answer you immediately, timezones, cell phone drop areas, and blackouts be damned.
Mazel tov, Alan!