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Dec 6, 2010

Liberal Arts: The Present Future and the Absent Now

by Bahman Abdulrahman Hassan
We have been suggested to feel indebted. As after long years of fighting, AUI-S, a liberal university is founded on our land. I did ask, yet insisting on my questions.  Is it really a liberal university? Or what are the liberal arts institutions? In this region, all political, fiscal and educational methods borrowed from the developed countries were misinterpreted and ill-practiced.
 Ironically, Iraqis, as they are alleged to be pass√©, were implementing western-examined innovations. Therefore, they did very poorly. More dryly, like other Iraqi experiences, this American university for the Iraqis seems to be in vain. Though, many argue this country is one of its kind, even Americans cannot implement what they have been practicing for decades.
I shall not agree, I hope you are as well. I ask why even Americans are failing in Iraq. Is it the Americans who fail or the Iraqi? Pursuing this question might not be rewarding, yet I believe Iraq is as fertile as anywhere else. Let’s narrow down our inquiry and only shed the light on AUI-S. Why it is not as it has been portrayed. I believe that this university lacks real administrators; therefore, it is facing severe setbacks from time to time. If the founders are faithful in their purist, whom I doubt, they must utilize “appropriate” administrative methods. I am not a perfectionist, yet I believe it is not all that AUI-S can perform. Conceivably, as I was accused of being skeptical and a demanding person, I back up my claim by recent professors’ back fires and the students’ disparaging. They, partially if not totally, are right. John Dolan, Mark Grueters, and the most remarkable words of the first chancellor contain an account of truth about the incapability of the past and the present administration. And lamentably, through wrong policies this trend is predicted to remain dominant.
Last three years passed with not much mentionable feats for AUI-S. The university failed to fulfill its eagerly placed goals. Who is/was responsible is not our mission to spell out but it’s time for AUI-S to stop this commotion and reassert its goals, and set one if it has none yet. Unfortunately, in this region with everyone new in office new polices will be set to work. Thus, we have not yet used to have unwavering policies. We have long years of forming policies but not much of practicing. AUI-S is about to prove that even fellow Americans are good policy makers but they are not good in practicing them. AUI-S in the past three years continuously changed, not only its financial aid program, degree scale and education criteria, but it failed to visualize its goals. Therefore, AUI-S must first publicly set its goal (s), and then the administration must find a path that will help realizing.   
The present chaos resulted in misadministration of the university. You still may say what I’m arguing has nothing to do with the title. Well, it has a lot to do. A university with “international recognition” cannot only live on “freedom” and “liberal” ornamented doctrines. Therefore, I believe there is a problem left not addressed that chains the university. And our visualizations for the AmericanUI-S may end in any moment. Because the university, first, got recognition from a “privileged institution” is thinking that it’s on the right track, but reality is saying something different. I don’t ask on what base does this recognition is grounded. I don’t see so many innovative students who have to be recognized internationally, nor can I see a university that is pacing in accordance to a set of clear and unwavering policy. Then, it may lose its international blessing in upcoming years due to its mismanagement. Therefore, the “international recognition story” is really debatable, and it has to remain so. And, secondly, the university is selling now to buy some imagined future. I am asking, how AUI-S can built a bloomy future while its pursued policies are determining its gloomy future. How AUI-S can promise that it’s able to present knowledgably equipped young Iraqis; while it cannot complete its campus and hire more “qualified instructors”. I can go on asking, but I will cut it here so that reasoning and responding is easy.
The concept of present vs. future.
This is my second semester at the AmericanUI-S and I really cannot see what I applied for. Via my readings, I understood that liberal arts institutions are knowledge rewarding institutions. Is it a newer version of liberal universities? I thought students work in present to built future and the university is the mean of realizing this pace. I thought that long years and shiny western liberal university experiences will help AUI-S. Perhaps, I over-visualized AUI-S. Now, after two semesters I see the opposite. Students are worthless contributors of the university and they are held responsible to “death letters”. I see, not just the university failed to benefit from others experiences, it refused to have solid policies. I was expecting inner union not internal rape-scandal(s) and defamation. Meanwhile, on the teaching side, I was expecting discipline not a huge mass. I believe the un-accomplishable future vision (by the financiers and policy makers) ruined the university’s present. The vision, as I was expecting was presenting a generation of open-minded future leaders not criminalized individuals. I hope that the bad days of this American experiment will finish soon, and the administrators wake up to retain order.      
I would leave you, dear reader, with a question to ponder about for a while. Will and why may this AmericanUI-S fail?  Your inputs are welcomed.                  
* Bahman Abdurlahman Hasan is an International Studies and Political Science Freshman at the American University of Iraq-Sulaimani.              Memphis Monroe

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5 Comments: on "Liberal Arts: The Present Future and the Absent Now"

Anonymous said...

Bahman, you are failing, not AUI-S. You can't even spell Mark Greuter. If your so mad with your University, go find a different one.

Anonymous said...

what is wrong with this man? You have tons of options from which to choose to study. Nobody obliged you to study here. Do you call your critics "constructive"? This is not a good way to improve your university. You can do better than this.

Anonymous said...

if one says a a word of truth, then their necessarily be something wrong with him. what is that I dont get it, why showing disaproval is always disgrased?

Bahman said...

Dear familiar to me, but Anonymous for yourself,
Sine you are on of “too brilliant” “A+ lover” students (this is how an AmericanUI-S instructor defines his students), you must be aware that not being on the same mind with “you” would not mean I’m failing. Perhaps, I require a more logical stand.

First, thanks for the correction. I believe observing the fault (s) of AmericanUI-S is not as sinful as committing adultery or throwing a 42 size pair of shoe at your president. Again, criticizing AmericanUI-S does not I don’t like it, perhaps completely opposite. I wrote and will write to see a more respected and knowledgeable university, if you may.

Secondly, my dear, I believe that your university over-excitingly is crying for future critical thinkers. Fortunately, it doesn’t set any limit for this, everyone is encouraged to participate and criticize, but how logical one can be is debatable. So, my dear, why don’t you start speak up. If you see a perfect university, why don’t you share us? I would love to prove that I am wrong. Practice your freedom and speak up, that is all you are asked do at you university.

Dear second commentator,
I believe there is not much wrong about me. Let me ask you, to what extend do you like your university? Having more than one choice does not have a good implication. I don’t want to label may works, yet pacing against the waves does not necessarily be rewarded with insults. If my method is not working, I would eagerly love to hear yours.

Anonymous said...

All criticisms and disapprovals are not created equal. Some are intelligent and respectful. Others are like listening to a camel having a baby.

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