Today was our final day at Effat, bittersweet in that one forges such intense connections on visits like this, and we've so enjoyed our time getting to know the University and everyone therein. With Don on his way to a math conference in San Francisco, Lenore and I presented our reflections/findings to a number of Effat faculty and administrators. Poor Lenore was fighting a cold with a raspy throat, but she did yeoman's duty and delivered some wonderful remarks. It ended up being about two hours of presentation and conversation about possible directions for Effat, and I must say I appreciated how gracious and open minded everyone was--certainly would not have been the case at all institutions. One senses a real hunger to take Effat to the next level by coupling best practices with local innovations. I think they will be successful, and we will learn as much by watching their experimentation as they might from Mount Holyoke's long track record. We're looking forward to connecting our practitioners with theirs in multiple areas if for nothing more than colleagueship, but likely also for bilateral creativity and perhaps even more.
Just as importantly, we really got a feel for the institution, the people, and the culture a bit. We all look forward to a return trip and sending other colleagues as well. Lenore leaves with the lovely abaya that Abeer Bar so generously provided for her visit, Don with a headscarf Lisa bargained for in the souk, and I with an Effat baseball cap (which I adore), credit again to Abeer, who in her very attuned way caught me wordlessly eying one yesterday. Thanks, Abeer!
Lenore and I look forward to Italian night at the Red Sea Palace restaurant. Bandar will pick us up in 12 hours (5:30 AM Jeddah time), and we'll begin the final leg of our round-the-globe, back to Boston via Heathrow. May the British have gotten their acts together about the cold by then. (And may Don get out of Amman tonight so he can deliver his paper.)
PS-- Meanwhile, while we we've been in Saudi Arabia, President Creighton flew to Hong Kong to deliver a talk to the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong on "Educating Women To Be Global Leaders." In addition to the AmCham event, President Creighton was the featured guest at a reception in Hong Kong at the China Club with approximately 50 alumnae, parents, students, high school guidance counselors and other Mount Holyoke friends in attendance. She also met with some of our alumnae individually to discuss opportunities for advancing the College's mission in Asia, enjoying abundant shellfish and an economy that seems utterly unphased by the recession elsewhere.
Accompanying the president was Charles Ramsay of the development office, who reports having gotten himself an excellent new suit, really cheap.