The highlight of this past weekend was spending time with one of my favorite Arab journalists and commentators, the one and only Mona Eltahawy. We were both invited by Wisconsin University – Madison to take part in a conference entitled Change in the Middle East.
Mona was even more impressive in person than in print. She is very smart, articulate and well spoken. The Arab world definitely needs more Mona’s. I was honored to be seated on a panel with Mona right after she delivered her keynote speech: Egypt ~ Moving Forward or Back to Square One?
In addition to co-chairing the panel entitled Reporting in the Middle East, I also took part in another discussion, Religious minorities in the Middle East. During that panel, I also got to meet many interesting people, including a number of academics and graduate students.
I did not have enough time to explore Wisconsin but what I saw of Madison was quite impressive. It is a very pleasant college town with a special vibe that somehow reminded me of Charlottesville, Virginia. I also enjoyed seeing Madison’s completely frozen lake, a first for my Bedouin eyes!
Many thanks to Brian Ulrich for his efforts organizing the conference and for asking me to take part in such an event.