1st Edition

Human Rights and Peace A Personal Odyssey

By Zafra Lerman Copyright 2024
    206 Pages
    by Jenny Stanford Publishing

    Zafra Lerman was precocious as a little girl growing up in Israel. She grew up with deep-seeded values—values so deeply held that they became ingrained in her being. These values led her to dedicate her life to using science diplomacy to fight for peace and for human rights. She also developed a new curriculum, where she taught science through art, music, dance, and drama. This curriculum was successful with underprivileged students around the world.

    This book is a genre-busting first-person narrative in which Prof. Lerman recounts her remarkable life—a life that has led her all around the world from the Soviet Union to Peru, from China to Cuba, and beyond where she fought for dissidents who were being denied basic human rights. And, perhaps most importantly, her life has led her to Malta, the first site of the Malta Conferences. After the September 11 attacks on the United States, Prof. Lerman conceived, coordinated, and launched the Malta Conferences—the biennial, international meetings of scientists from all Middle East countries, Nobel laureates, and political leaders—which use science diplomacy as a bridge to peace in the Middle East.

    The book is an inspiring call to action showing how the author’s life and work has led to the innovative use of science as diplomacy in the fight for human rights and peace. It is an inspiration to educators, scientists, policymakers, and the general readers. There is no equivalent, competing work.

    1. A Reflection on Myself

    2. I Sprang from Rebel Stock

    3. Like a Tree Planted by the Waters

    4. The White Lab Coat

    5. The Most Beautiful Outfit

    6. Coming to America

    7. Building Equity Through Science Education

    8. If I’m Not Here for Breakfast, Call the American Embassy

    9. Accompanying Members

    10. Pursuing Peace in the Middle East Through Science

    11. From Mission Impossible to Mission Possible

    12. Malta X and Beyond


    Zafra Lerman was born in Israel and grew up there as the country struggled to achieve independence from the British mandate. She is a scientist, educator, and human rights activist and has developed an innovative approach of teaching science at all levels using art, music, dance, drama, animation, and rap, which has proven extremely successful with underprivileged students across the globe. She has worked on human rights around the world and brought dissidents to freedom. She always believed in the power of science to encourage social mobility and, on a broader scale, understanding between nations. The pinnacle of her career has been using science as a bridge to peace in the Middle East. She founded the series of "Malta conferences," now in its 20th year, in which scientists from all countries of the Middle East come together with several Nobel laureates for a week to establish understanding and collaboration.

     “In a voice as convincing, as urgent as her intelligence—Zafra Lerman calls us to peace and service. Never deterred, she has marshaled the energies of chemists around the world to move toward peace through reasonable discourse, through science. What a remarkable life Zafra has created—stirring people to teach and learn well, to live with each other—this is the good story told in this book.”

    Prof. Roald Hoffmann; Nobel Laureate, chemist, and writer

    This is the fascinating story of an extraordinary, sometimes impetuous, always determined woman, who grew up in the turmoil of the newly established Israel, discovered the universality of science, realized that it could be applied to diplomacy, and through it sought to bring peace to the world.”

    Prof. Peter Atkins; Chemist, writer, and fellow of Lincoln College at the University of Oxford, UK

    This inspiring memoir shares the wisdom of a rare human being—a human rights champion whose bold leadership, as an innovative physical chemist and educator, reveals myriad ways science and science diplomacy can help achieve and sustain world peace by creating a ‘better world’ that is more humane, peaceful, equitable, kinder, and compassionate, which works for all! Prof. Lerman’s personal stories exude hope and optimism, which unfold in the layers of inspirations that empower her great life purpose and quest.”

    Dr. Todd Siler; Artist and author of Think Like a Genius and Breaking the Mind Barrier

    Zafra’s dedication to teaching science through creative mediums has had a transformative effect on her students, helping them to see the connections between science and art and inspiring them to think critically and creatively. In this book, the reader can get a sense of what I experienced and what these teaching methods have accomplished with her students.”

    Fred Pienkos; Former student, TV and Film VFX Supervisor, Hollywood, USA


    Zafra Lerman is a force of nature and her brilliance shines through every page. Her writing is as insightful and witty as it is inspiring. Her memoir brings to light the incredible difference one woman’s determination can make to the world—a true must-read!

    Dr. Emma Zajdela; Mathematician, science diplomat, and member of the board of the Malta Conferences Foundation


    Zafra has always been ahead of her time, be it a passionate teacher or a passionate peace and human rights activist. I have been her student in more ways than one and am lucky to call her a friend. In her unique and engaging memoir, we learn how one person can truly make a difference for the greater good. Our world can surely use a lot more Zafras these days.”

    Parisa Khosravi; Senior vice president, CNN (Ret.), USA