Our Story

It started with a river.

In early 2004 I was on a military base outside Fallujah, Iraq, during a major battle between US marines and Iraqi insurgents. Sitting on the bank of the Euphrates river weeks later, I was struck by the calm, uninterrupted flow of the water.

With images of the conflict fresh in my mind, I couldn’t imagine how any two scenes could be more different. Yet, even through downtown Fallujah, the river surged on, untouched and unstopped by the chaos, death, and destruction happening around it, still bringing life, sustenance, and hope to the desert.

Since that day, I have tried to fully appreciate that powerful lesson. I often wonder how we can be more like the Euphrates river.

Janessa Gans Wilder, Founder and CEO, The Euphrates Institute