Thursday, December 18, 2008

Catching flies

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Bryn Mawr College is looking into becoming the first American women's college to set up shop in the oil-rich Middle East, but some faculty and students worry that the move clashes with the school's history of feminism and could dilute the school's stellar program.

The liberal-arts school is being courted by the government of Abu Dhabi, which is eager to collaborate with an elite women's college, said Bryn Mawr president Jane McAuliffe.

A group of faculty visited Abu Dhabi in the fall and the school expects to decide by early summer "whether a small liberal-arts college can manage something like this," said McAuliffe, an Islamic-studies scholar who became Bryn Mawr's eighth president in July.

For American universities, the offer to open global versions of themselves in the Middle East and other booming regions of the world is often too good to pass up.

Abu Dhabi, one of seven members of the United Arab Emirates, gave New York University a $50 million gift to establish an offshore campus, with the promise to fund the entire operation and parts of its home campus as well.

And so, in this uncertain world, the time has come for a new beginning -- a new dawn of American leadership to overcome the challenges of the 21st century, and to seize the opportunities embedded in those challenges. We will strengthen our capacity to defeat our enemies and support our friends. We will renew old alliances and forge new and enduring partnerships. We will show the world once more that America is relentless in defense of our people, steady in advancing our interests, and committed to the ideals that shine as a beacon to the world: democracy and justice; opportunity and unyielding hope -- because American values are America's greatest export to the world.

To succeed, we must pursue a new strategy that skillfully uses, balances, and integrates all elements of American power: our military and diplomacy; our intelligence and law enforcement; our economy and the power of our moral example.

-President-elect Barack Obama

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