Posted by Jeff from bgp01107368bgs.wbrmfd01.mi.comcast.net (22.214.171.124) on Thursday, May 30, 2002 at 10:01PM :
I had a very long, interesting conversation with a professor at school today. He was in the computer lab that I work in, and I had never seen him before so I asked him what he taught. Physics... and since I'm a physics major that started a long conversation on the usefulness of a physics degree, etc. Turns out it's better than I thought it was, but I digress.
Then, we got into a conversation about ethnicity. He was syriac, married to a Chaldean, born in Iraq. He told me about how in Iraq, they had a panel of something like 2000 people with doctorates (pH.D)s, etc... and how they all worked together for the sole purpose of scientific research and collaboration, how they were on the cutting edge in almost every field (this was in the 60s and 70s and even part of the 80s), how professors from around the world would come to Iraq for lectures and events on all scientific subjects... it was very nice to hear such great things, but reality set in and we realized that if you look at Iraq now and how incredibly advanced it was just 20 or so years ago, you can't but feel just horrible.
Here is a country that, if it had not been involved in the Iran-Iraq war and the Persian Gulf War, would rival Asia, Europe, and the US in all academic fields, businesses, etc. He further explained to me that there was such an important emphasis on education in Iraq then, and that most of those who he went to school with (that he still keeps in contact with) are scattered around the world, teaching at colleges and universities... very interesting stuff. Ah, nostalgia.
I was reminded of a conference about the future of Iraq in the Detroit area this weekend... I think the Ghassman (the Draq Queen of Chaldea) will be there... I'll bring a camera if and when I go and we can all laugh at her picture.
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