The first university attended was King Abdulaziz University. This university was special because first of all, the President of Ohio State University is the chair of their international board and secondly, it had a medical institute/university hospital. After touring the campus, the medical institute works with some controversial topics such as stem cell research. This prompted me to ask the question of how the university handles possible conflicts between religion and science. The Dean of Medicine explained that students can reach out to Islamic scholars before starting controversial research.
A sign I found humorous… an obese American man modeling for Heart Disease…. Ohh my beloved America.
The second university was the most impressive in the view of a humanities major. The college, Dar Al-Hekma, was an all-women’s study who emphasized political science. This is the first university we have visited that concentrated on social sciences. The university even had a Model United Nations which is very similar to Model Arab League! We were able to exchange recruiting ideas. The college also allowed women for the first time to study graphic design. There alumni are now instructing in the U.S. and Canada and one started the first ever Saudi Arabia “design magazine.”
Standing on the same stage Ms. Hilary Clinton stood on months prior.
The women of the university were truly motivated and inspirational. They understand their legal obstacles and are using small grass-root initiatives to empower women. Our last activity included singing Happy Birthday to Kadiata. The women of the college found out it was Kadiata’s birthday and bought a cake from a local bakery. Just another example of the kindness we received on this trip.
Kadiata from Georgia, receiving her birthday cake!
Next in line was to finish business at the souq. In order to not lose anyone, we broke into smaller groups. I bargained my way into a rug, a few scarves and some cooking spices. It was difficult to purchase items because all of the merchants were gone for prayer. The merchants would leave their shops without locking anything. The idea is, no one will steal during prayer.
After shopping I joined the rest of the fellows by the pool to smoke some more Hooka. In Arabic, hooka is called “Sheesha, ” and typically women cannot smoke. But, that is what is so great about Jeddah, women have so many more liberties. The hooka was flavored lemon & mint, grape and double apple. I only liked the grape flavor and I was surprised how easy it was to smoke. I only took a few hits and I was done. Something about suffocating my lungs didn’t sit very well with me…! Haha