Salaamu Alekum - greetings friends and family! Tomorrow, I'm off to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to begin a three-month International Development Internship through BYU's Kennedy Center. If you're anything like ma and pa, you may be asking what sparked this decision. When I'm not busy tying up loose ends before my flight, I'll get into a little more detail about my reasoning.
For now, suffice it to say that I'm a Middle East Studies/Arabic student minoring in International Development with a desire to be fully immersed in the fascinating culture of the region. I will be spending most of my time working on development projects in the northern city of Mafraq. Where I'll be in the Badia (the more rural, desert region of the country), traditional culture continues to flourish, but poverty is common, and development in public health, small business establishment, and English proficiency is needed. Opportunites to learn, experience, and help in a meaningful way will be abundant. In the process, my Arabic skill will increase, and I'll gain marketable experience in the world of work.
Development in this and any region of the world will increase quality of life and promote the peaceful coexistance of differing cultures. My goal is to play whatever small role I can in that effort for the rest of my life.
Some inspiring thoughts:
"O Mankind! We created you . . . and made you into nations and tribes that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other)" (Qur'an 49:13).
"My grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in . . . things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and perplexities of the nations, and the judgements which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms - that ye may be prepared in all things" (Doctrine and Covenants 88:78-80).