After a long and fulfilling day with the Young Professionals Institute participants, I was greeted as I drove back into the compound by one of my favorite security guards. "Too much late!" he exclaimed. This guy really is one of my favorites as he watches out over Darbi and me as we come and go. He is from Nepal and has learned a lot of English over the last months but he still uses wonderful sentence constructions like "too much late."
While the time of day may have been too much late, the activities of the day were not. We have had the Maryland group here since the 8th and the San Diego group since the 9th. We spent a lot of time acclimating them to the history, culture, and environment of Qatar and finally we arrived at the time when they would begin to engage as peers with our Qatar staff. It took the time to learn, to grow in appreciation, and to become the curious scholars that they have now become. I think we actually hit it about right - just enough time to become immersed but not so much time to become bored. The result was that all the participants today had something to offer as we dove into our inquiry team topics.
The contrast for "too much late" that I hope the study tour and Young Professionals Institute will demonstrate is that it is never too late to begin to explore other cultures. North America has seen itself as able to stand alone except when military or political issues dictated differently. What our 27 visitors now understand is that North Americans frequently miss out on a lot of fun and that they've not seen the possibilities for global connections that our visitors hopefully now see. It isn't too late and our hope is that over the coming two remaining days, the visitors will grow even deeper in their respect, Qatar will gain new insights on how to enhance student engagement, and we will all learn how powerful it is to form friendships around the globe.
The day may have been "too much late" but the experience was just in time!