Honors Open Meeting
On Monday, November 2nd the Pforzheimer Honors College held their fall semester open meeting in the Gottesman Room of the Kessel Student Center. After all the students had arrived and checked in with Honors Academic Advisor Chris Walther, the meeting began. Dr. Janetta Benton, Director of the Pforzheimer Honors College, took the stage and after thanking all the students for coming, introduced the speaker, Dr. Reza Afshari of the History department.
Dr. Afshari is offering the honors course, "The Middle East: An Historical Survey” during the spring 2010 semester. The course will cover topics ranging from the medieval Arab world to the Arab-Israeli conflict. At the open meeting he spoke about the importance of nations respecting human rights, a topic that he appears to be passionate about. Although Dr. Afshari was born in Iran, he talked about how he feels as though he doesn’t belong to any particular nation. When asked where he is from he replies, “The history department of Temple University.” However, Dr. Afshari did repeatedly credit the United States for allowing him to have the greatest amount of what he calls “personal space.” He spoke about the importance of a nation giving its people the freedom necessary to live their lives the way they choose. To illustrate, he said that no government should tell him that he must keep Christmas or that he must submit to Islamic law. Dr. Afshari says that when he is finally able to retire, he will probably leave the United States, but admits it will be very difficult to find another country that allows for the same amount of “personal space” as the United States.
After Dr. Afshari finished speaking, Dr. Benton returned to the podium. In complete confidence, she invited the students to give honest feedback about the honors courses offered and the professors who are teaching them. Sorry everybody, but the specifics of this part remain confidential! After discussing which courses will remain, which new ones will be added, and which ones will be cut, Dr. Benton concluded the meeting with a discussion of future honors events. Some really great ideas were discussed, including a trip to the Guggenheim Museum and a Karaoke night.