“Art breaks down barriers, teaches us to celebrate both our differences and similarities, makes us comfortable with ambiguity, teaches us to take risks and allows us to communicate in a universal human language, where words often fail,” Mellos said in the release.

Mellos’ journey began with her involvement with the Hands of Peace organization, an interfaith organization that brings young people together from Palestine, Israel and America and empowers them to raise their voices as leaders of change. Through the power of dialogue, these teens partner in regular workshops to pursue peace, equality, freedom and justice.

“I first became aware of Hands of Peace when Scott Silk, San Diego Site Director of Hands of Peace, spoke at the Encinitas Coastal Rotary Club four years ago.” Mellos explained. “I immediately decided to get involved in this peace process and offered to conduct an art workshop for the young attendees.”