Monday, March 27, 2006

Student Exchange

This sounds worthwhile:
Yasser Arafat failed to understand Western mentality and Western culture, according to Al-Quds University Professor Muhammad S. Dajani. Along with four graduate students in Al-Quds's American Studies program, Dajani is spending the next two weeks at Jewish-founded Brandeis University.

Dajani, whose stay at Brandeis is being funded as part of a $500,000 Ford Foundation Grant meant to bolster Al-Quds University, said he feared that Hamas "will also fail to understand how to deal with the United States."

... .

Dajani, who founded and directs Al-Quds's American Studies Institute, said the idea for the program came about when he noticed that Al-Quds University decision-makers at the highest level, as well as administrators, didn't really understand Americans, engaged in a lot of stereotyping about them and held a lot of wrong perceptions.

He said a key part of the program is teaching students to think objectively and rationally rather than to "resolve conflict... through ideologies.

"Part of our culture is to be emotional," said Dajani. "So this is when we discuss issues that are very sensitive like the return of [Palestinian] refugees, try to see solutions that are more rational than emotional."
I certainly disagree about Arafat, who was a deliberate product of the KGB training. Ion Pacepa has a piece about his training here.

However, I think it is great there are some Palestinian professors taking the opportunity to teach rationalism and a fair sense about America to their students. I hope everyone involved benefits from this.

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