Sunday, May 25, 2008

New experiences and renewed realizations in Luxembourg

I'm on a "Student Affairs Practice in Europe" tour sponsored by Miami University at present. It's a two-week sweep through central Europe, including Luxembourg, Germany, and the Czech Republic. Returning to Luxembourg was particularly nostalgic for me because it was my first experience with living abroad, a step that eventually attracted me to take the leap to Qatar. Luxembourg is also where I was afforded the time, the broadening experience, and the reflection necessary to write Deeper Learning in Leadership. I owe a lot to my experience in Luxembourg and I will never forget this tiny country.

Speaking of tiny country, one of the realizations I've had on this trip is that Qatar and Luxembourg have a great deal in common. Both are small, with populations hovering around one million total, and with large ex-patriot work forces. Both are at the geographic crossroads of their areas = Europe and the Arabian Gulf. Both are very privileged countries with much in financial resources that they are both attempting to use for the greater good of their citizens and others elsewhere. Both have made a major commitment to higher education enhancement and have started new universities - Universite du Luxembourg and Education City. The synchronous nature of these two countries is more than fascinating and I'm going to see what I can do to connect them to each other. I don't know how that will unfold but I will not fail in bringing them together.

Luxembourg was great and I look forward to continuing my contact with great colleagues there. By the way, the picture above is not where we stayed while in Luxembourg. It is the Vianden Castle that is in northern Luxembourg. It was one of the more prominent castles in this region of Europe and it is now being beautifully restored. You can see that it has a commanding view of the incredible countryside in this area of the world.

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