Sunday, May 1, 2011

April 22, 2011

Fascinating day in Ismailia. Toured a private High School and met with a group of English majors. All seniors and very proficient. Their questions were honest, difficult, and reflected their concerns. For instance: Why doesn’t America make Israel give Palestine back to the Palestinians’ the land the Israelis stole? When will the US make Gaddafi step down? Did you vote for Obama? Now that our revolution is over, what do you recommend as our next step?

Just the kinds of questions I wanted to deal with at 10:00 in the morning (or any other time). I reminded them I was from the College of Education not Political Science. They said “Oh, OK”. First round mine.

Second round. The Egyptian education system needs to be changed – What changes should we make? How can I study in America? We need to have a teacher fired – how can we do this? (Note: by this time I was looking for a window from which I could unceremoniously jump from or at least tell them I was really German and did not understand English or Arabic). Truth is that when I stopped crying, we were able to engage in a wonderfully meaningful dialogue.

These students were exceptionally well informed, respectful but not intimidated. They are genuinely seeking answers to both simple and complex questions. If these students represent the youth of Egypt, I think the future is in good hands.

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