Experimenter promotes revolutionary history through book, guides
Author, doctor focuses on cross-cultural missions, from Israel to Massachusetts
Joseph L. "Joel" Andrews, M.D., first traveled with The Experiment in International Living to Grenoble, France in 1957. While in medical school in 1961, he led a group to Brussels, Belgium, and he has never turned back from his mission as a leader in cultural education, whether his subject is Revolutionary history in Concord, Massachusetts, or Mideast peace.
A physician with the Lahey Clinic and formerly chief of the pulmonary section at the New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston, Dr. Andrews took a leave from medicine in 1995 after suffering losses in his family. He moved to Concord and studied to be a guide to the many tourists who visit Concord for history and cultural tours. In 1997, he founded Concord Guides' Concord Walking Tours, which has hosted as many as 3,000 tourists annually, according to Yankee Magazine.
Tourists requesting a short book to add to their knowledge gave Dr. Andrews the idea of writing his own book, which he self-published as Revolutionary Boston, Lexington, and Concord: The Shots Heard 'Round the World!, now available in Boston-area bookstores and from Amazon.com. In addition to the basic history of the area, the book focuses on the contributions of women, blacks, Native Americans and Jewish-Americans during the Revolution.
Revolutionary-era Massachusetts is just one culture Dr. Andrews has immersed himself in since his first Experiment. "I think The Experiment started a lifelong interest in learning about other cultures and not being afraid to immerse myself, which I have done many times since," he said.
Dr. Andrews has taught medicine in places from Sweden to Russia to India, he said, and worked for the U.S. Public Health Service on a Makah Indian Reservation in Washington state.
While in medical school, Dr. Andrews took a fellowship at a hospital in Argentina, and although he didn't know Spanish, he rapidly became fluent. "Within this country I'd like to use my understanding of other cultures to practice medicine," he said. Dr. Andrews recently began practicing medicine in nearby Lawrence, a post-industrial town with a large Hispanic population. "I use my Spanish all the time in my practice," he said.
Since a 1995 trip to Israel, Dr. Andrews has also become a speaker for Mideast peace. While in Galilee, he heard about a village called "Oasis of Peace" -- "Neve Shalom" in Hebrew and "Wahat al-Salam" in Arabic. Dr. Andrews visited the village, where Israeli Jews, Arab-Israeli Muslims and Christians live voluntarily as neighbors. He spent several days interviewing members, and has since volunteered to publicize their success, and raised money for groups to visit the U.S.
The village runs a School For Peace, which has trained over 30,000 students in conflict resolution and coexistence. Dr. Andrews also saw parallels with The Experiment, which sent a group there one summer from Philadelphia.