May 13th, 2010



NPR has an article that is almost entirely about Carnegie Mellon Qatar: Middle East Woos U.S. Colleges.

I always cringe a little when I see articles about us, because they're usually riddled with errors. This one did a better job than most, although some things that stuck out at me:
  • Does anyone really call Ed City "Land of the Giants"? Seriously? Also, I don't know what Chuck said to them about being "The Enlightened," but I am 100% sure that it didn't sound arrogant in real life.
  • A Qatari "brain drain"? What?
  • Dr. Fathy! Why are you saying Ed City exists to serve "a tier of students who used to leave this country and study somewhere else in western Europe or in the United States"? I did not move to Qatar in order to allow privileged Qatari men to minimize the number of Westerners they have to interact with in the course of their college career! Not all of our students would have gotten to go to Europe or the US to study; Ed City gives those students (notably a lot of girls) opportunities that previously didn't exist.
  • I love Buthayna's quote. Yesterday I read some idiotic stuff claiming that Muslim women are so oppressed and brainwashed by their male relatives that they can't be trusted to make their own decisions about what to wear. Clearly we Westerners need to read more stories about Qatari girls arguing with their dads and winning. ;-)
  • It's true that many "members of the Arab diaspora" come to teach here, but it cracks me up that NPR characterizes this as "a chance to come home again." If you are from Lebanon, Qatar is really NOT "home"; the Lebanese professor (not Majd) who moved to Qatar at the same time as me had worse culture shock than I did. ("They eat sitting on the floor?! That's disgusting!!!") A Lebanese American "coming home" to Qatar would be like me "coming home" to Lithuania because my mother's British.