Sunday, February 18, 2018

Qatar's Efforts in Preventing Terrorism Funding

Let the Experts Speak on this Topic

From the beginning of the siege of Qatar, the blockading countries -- Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Bahrain, and Egypt -- anchored their narrative about Qatar in a way that arguably would trigger the passions of a Western audience. Qatar, they asserted, financed terrorists, sheltered terrorist leaders, and supported Islamic radical movements throughout the region.  Qatar, on the other hand, consistently denied these claims.  It also publicly condemned 2017-18 terrorist attacks in Qatif, Pakistan, Egypt, Manchester, Tehran, London, Bahrain, Somalia, Barcelona, Jeddah, Peshawar, Kabul, and Benghazi.

I am in the process of writing three articles about the siege of Qatar.  I spent the week-end closely examining these allegations.  I have found two reports worth reviewing: 

On July 19, 2017, the U.S. Department of State issued its annual Country Reports on Terrorism 2016.  U.S. law requires the department to provide Congress a complete report on terrorism for countries that meet certain criteria set out in the law.  The summary shows that Qatar equals or exceeds its neighbors in efforts in fighting terrorism.  On Qatar’s role in terror financing the report found:

Qatar is a member of the Middle East North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF), a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body, and the Qatar Financial Information Unit is a member of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units. Qatar has made significant progress on deficiencies identified in its MENAFATF Mutual Evaluation Report in 2008. According to the Second Biennial Update Report, Qatar is deemed “Compliant or Largely Compliant” with all but recommendation 26, which accounts for regulation and supervision of financial institutions.
* * *
The Government of Qatar has made progress on countering the financing of terrorism (CFT), but terrorist financiers within the country are still able to exploit Qatar’s informal financial system. In 2015 and 2016, Qatar prosecuted and convicted Qatari terrorist financiers for the first time. As part of ongoing reforms to curb terrorist financing, the State of Qatar issued the Cybercrime Prevention Law and the Law Regulating Charitable Activities in 2014. Qatar continued to be an active participant in U.S.-sponsored training and capacity building focused on CFT issues.
(Emphasis added.)  The report also discusses progress in the blockading countries and recognizes that each one faces unique challenges when trying to prevent money-laundering, eliminate funding for terrorism, and reduce the support for violent Islamist groups. While the report got very little attention in the press of Qatar or the West, it does support a narrative that Qatar has responded to the stated interest of its blockading neighbors. 

The second report allows a reader to analyze the extent of the efforts taken since 2008 by Qatar to meet the stated goals of eliminating terrorism in the world. It seems to serve as a baseline assessment.   Similar reports exist for the blockading countries.  

I will watch closely for the 2017 report that the U.S. Department of State will publish in July 2018.  So much has happened during that year.  I wonder how the department will analyze it. 

Trump Can Solve Qatar Blockade with a Phone Call

Ending the Siege of Qatar

At a Heritage Foundation event on January 29, 2017, Qatari Minister of State for Defense Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah declared: “The only person who can solve the GCC issue is President Trump . . . . He can solve it in a phone call.”

U.S.-Qatari Military-to-Military Relations, The Heritage Foundation (Jan. 29, 2018), (statement at about 43 minutes in audio recording).

Based on my research, I agree.  I am in the process of writing an article entitled:  

"The Siege of Qatar: Applying Dispute Resolution System Design Theory to Actions Taken by the Disputing Parties in the First Nine Months of the Siege."  I will let you know when it is published.  Anyone wanting a copy of the manuscript should send me an email.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Report on the Impact of the Gulf Crisis on Human Rights in Qatar

Blockade Called "Arbitrary":
No Evidence of Any "Legal Decisions" Motivating Measures Taken by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt

In December, 2017, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Technical Mission to the State of Qatar, issued a very important report that got no coverage by Western press.  You can find the report here.

I am quoting the Findings and Observation at the end of the report in full.  I have added the emphasis.

IV. Findings and observations
59. All Interlocutors met by the team mostly referred to the decision of 5 June as a  “blockade”, and some evoked an “embargo”, a “boycott” or “unilateral sanctions” against the State of Qatar and its inhabitants (nationals and residents). Most emphasized the unprecedented divide and distrust this situation has generated, not least given the tight family  bonds across the Gulf region. They also expressed concern about the uncertain and far-reaching consequences, with fears that this crisis may become protracted and/or deteriorate.

60. The team found that the unilateral measures, consisting of severe restrictions of  movement, termination and disruption of trade, financial and investment flows, as well as suspension of social and cultural exchanges imposed on the State of Qatar, had immediately translated into actions applying to nationals and residents of Qatar, including citizens of KSA, UAE and Bahrain. Many of these measures have a potentially durable effect on the enjoyment of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of those affected. As there is no evidence of any legal decisions motivating these various measures, and due to the lack of any legal recourse for most individuals concerned, these measures can be considered as arbitrary. These actions were exacerbated by various and widespread forms of media defamation and campaigns hated against Qatar, its leadership and people.

61. The majority of the measures were broad and non-targeted, making no distinction between the Government of Qatar and its population. In that sense, they constitute core elements of the definition of unilateral coercive measures as proposed by the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee: “the use of economic, trade or other measures taken by a State, group of States or international organizations acting autonomously to compel a change of policy of another State or to pressure individuals, groups or entities in targeted States to 15 influence a course of action without the authorization of the Security Council”. Moreover, measures targeting individuals on the basis of their Qatari nationality or their links with Qatar can be qualified as non-disproportionate and discriminatory.

62. The considerable economic impact of the crisis takes over the dimension of an economic warfare, with significant financial losses for the State, companies and individuals, and the confidence of investors being eroded. To date, the wealth of Qatar and its human potential have allowed the country to promptly absorb the shock and protect the population from potentially disastrous economic and social consequences. However, the shock of the decision and the immediate and serious effect of unilateral coercive measures on many individuals have had a major psychological impact on the overall population. This has been exacerbated by a hostile media campaign that flared up from early June and is ongoing. All interlocutors met by the team evoked the lack of trust or even fear this situation has generated, and concerns about the social fabric of very closely-knit societies eroding.

63. In some cases, Qatari institutions, notably the NHRC, have proactively sought prompt solutions, especially for individuals whose studies were interrupted. The NHRC immediately, and for several weeks following 5 June, received a considerably number of complaints. They undertook a series of communications with regional and international mechanisms and have  endeavoured to engage with the national human rights institutions of KSA, UAE, Bahrain (to no avail to date) and Egypt (the latter has reportedly cooperated). The team received a detailed report prepared by the National Compensation Claims Commission on the impact of the crisis on individuals (including on human rights impact), and was informed that the National Compensation Claims Commission had hired a private American law firm company to look at options for potential legal actions against the States of KSA, UAE and Bahrain. The commission indicated that the legal file was in the hands of the Government for its consideration. 

64. The majority of cases remain unresolved and are likely to durably affect the victims, particularly those having experienced family separation, loss of employment or who have been barred from access to their assets. 

65. The crisis has been characterized by the absence of dialogue among the States concerned, with the mediation efforts initiated by Kuwait having stalled. The team noted strong resentment about the lack of action by regional organizations and about the role of the GCC, which many considered as de facto defunct. Given the origins and ramifications of the crisis in KSA, UAE and Bahrain, it would be critical to pursue opportunities to engage with the Governments of these countries to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of the situation, notably of the actions they have taken and the impact on their own citizens and residents.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Using Three Words to Anchor Your Year

In Search of Goal Setting Words for 2018

"The process of setting intentions and joyfully reflecting on them is how, over time, we transform extrinsic into intrinsic motivations, and thereby sustain the energy and purpose to live true to our best aspirations." 
Thupten Jinpa, Two Exercises for Turning Intention into Motivation.
Starting in 2014, I began picking three words to remind me of my goals for the year.  Chris Brogan gave me the idea.  Here are his words for 2018.  

To my surprise, I started picking yearly words even before Brogan did.  My coach, Christine Kane, had encouraged us to pick one word. Here is her tool for finding the right word. 

In 2014, I picked:  Robin, launch, and wealth.  Click on the link for an explanation of why I chose those words. 

In 2015, I picked:  Well-being, manifestation, and love. 

In 2016, I must have completely forgotten about the goal-setting exercise in the midst of my hectic transition to Qatar.

In 2017, it took me awhile to decide on the words that resonated that year.  But, I settled on "not even afraid" after I heard it first in French. It recognized my desire to be politically active in a post-Trump world. 

This year, the words were very easy to find: "good to go."  In December, I completed a number of medical tests that revealed I am a very healthy 63-year old woman.  My devotion to exercise over the past two years has paid off in medically measurable ways, even if my clothes still fit the same way.  Ok, so good to go on swimming, training, and leading an active life. 

As importantly, I had continued to build a social network of smart, talented, and interesting friends, most of whom are women.  This is life as an expat.  People come by luck into your life and then leave.  You have to make conscious choices to keep building a network of supportive and loving friends. 

My Doha Book Club friends are especially precious to me.  But, I have also joined a group called Qatar Road Trips that has let me play with an adventurous group of men and woman. 

I am losing my dear friend and exercise buddy, Heidi, but Andrea is now interested in learning how to lift weights.  So, that could be a seamless transition (even if losing Heidi is a loss of a piece of my heart). Andrea is fluent in Arabic after taking a year-long military training course. She teaches English in the QU Foundation Program.  She is an enthusiastic training partner.

My original group of friends, "The Infidels" (not my choice of names), has also seen gains and losses.  Steve, my Kiwi friend, bolted for home. But, we replaced him with another Kiwi, Keith. My Greek friend, Iaonnis, joined us.  Canadian friends, Easton and Georgina, bring "cool" to the group, especially if we can encourage them to dance. I will lose Jessica, my travel buddy, this summer at her contract's end.  Recently, we added a linguistic professor from Greece, Irene, to the group.  She is just so cool, too, and someone I would never have met if I had stayed in the U.S.  She came to the Christmas party I held two weeks ago, where I fit 16 people into my one bedroom beach house apartment for a sit down dinner.  (It was a Christmas miracle.) Soon, I will have dinner with an Italian woman who wants to use mediation to resolve employment disputes in Qatar.  So, good to go on the social network front.

One of my supervisors just popped into my office reassuring me that I should expect a contract renewal.  They appreciate the contributions I make to student learning, scholarship, and community service.  I plan to complete three law review articles this year and help organize two major conferences in the spring semester.  So, good to go professionally.

Another big category is financial, of course.  Now that I am completely settled in, I am focusing on saving money.  I have put myself on a strict budget that I began after my profligate, regret-free, summer in Bangkok.  So, good to go. 

And, finally, travel.  I hope to go to Japan this summer with a stop in Vietnam, where I might get a teaching gig.  If I stay strong and healthy, I will be literally "good to go." 

What three words work for you in the coming year to remind you of your projects, plans, goals, and aspirations? 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Semester Ends. My Students Shine

The Semester 
Again Ends

I work here for one reason.  I love my students.  

The young women here are getting the skills they need to serve as leaders in this quickly evolving country.  Those graduates with especially good English-language skills will find opportunities that open as Qatar plays an expanding role on the international stage.  

They remind me of me when I graduated from law school in 1982, when only 8 percent of all lawyers in the U.S. were women. They will face many of the same challenges entering the legal profession here.  At the same time, they understand that the ongoing recognition of human rights in the country will support their career ambitions.  They have many great female role models to emulate. 

We are close to ending the Fall 2017 semester.  I teach one of the skills courses QU College of Law offers: Legal Research & Writing I.  This required course serves as the first course in our Legal Skills Program.  Before graduation, students must also complete the second course in the series, Legal Research & Writing II.  Students typically leave the courses to the last year.  Accordingly, they have created great pressure on themselves to pass both courses on the first try. 

During Week 1 of the course, I promise students that -- if they work hard, attend class, do the homework, and file their assessments on time -- I will get them through the course.  They are worried at first.  It requires them to shift thinking from civil law to common law.  It requires them to write in English as a second language.  They must complete 18 assessments!

In the past few weeks, they have begun to relax.  They know they can do the work.  They will pass the course. Their attention has shifted to their letter grades and GPA.  

But, we have also gotten more playful with each other.  They laugh more in class. They smile when I crack jokes or do a silly pantomime to illustrate the story of a case. Last week, I played the role of a confused Alabaman trying to decide in which donut shop she had entered -- Donut Joe's or The Donut Chef.  

I have had larger enrollments in the course this year, so it has been harder to get to know each student individually.  During the past two weeks, I have held conferences with each student.  These meetings have given me an opportunity to see their individual personalities.  I really do love them so.  

I have been so pleased to see their work product.  I am so proud of them.  

Two more weeks, and I set them off on the path to graduation.  I hope they keep in touch.  I would love to know how they change this part of the world over their lifetimes. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Charity Groups Supporting Gun Law Reform

Have we Reached the Tipping Point?

After the Vegas shooting, I decided to research the charity groups working to reform gun laws.  Time passed.  I got busy.  My attention was drawn to other news.

Sadly, this week in a Texas church, we had the second deadliest shooting this year.  Gun law reform is back in the news.  So, I am getting this post up so I can send it out every time we have another "mass" shooting.

I am making this post after the good news for Democratic candidates across Virginia and other states in the November elections.  A Democratic candidate won running on a platform to end gun violence (after he had lost his girlfriend to gun violence) and, in doing so, defeated a candidate heavily supported by the NRA.  His story is here.

It also comes after segments on Morning Joe that discussed the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Heller that makes everyone feel so helpless.  Experts on the show said that reform can happen at the state level, even if our national legislators are too afraid of the NRA to act.  The segments ran the first week of November 2017: "Can Texas be a catalyst for change in [sic] reform?" and "Debating the Second Amendment and gun control."

I also recommend that you watch a very good segment with Chelsea Handler.  She interviews representatives from two reform groups shortly after the Vegas shooting.  They outlined paths to reform.  One representative suggested texting your federal legislator "Love Vegas" 877-877.  Handler was recently honored for her efforts to end gun violence.

As far as the listed groups, I have picked one of them and plan to make automatic monthly contributions.  I am committed to this reform.  I worked at a small law school that experienced gun violence.  Faculty and students were murdered or gravely injured.  These were preventable tragedies.

Note to the haters:  I curate all comments, so yours will never appear.   My blog.  My content.

The List:

Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

Everytown for Gun Safety

Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

New Yorkers Against Gun Violence

Newtown Action Alliance

Violence Policy Center

Americans for Responsible Solutions with Gabby Gifford

States United to Prevent Violence

Stop Handgun Violence

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Mom & Me & Mike & My Hair

Looking Back

For some reason, several people recently began asking to see photos of me as a younger woman.  Perhaps because I am no longing hiding behind thick eyeglasses, people are looking at me differently.

So, to satisfy this ongoing curiosity, here are some photos from my past.  I don't have many old ones in digital format.

Just how far back do you want me to go?

Mom and me.  1954 or 1955.  She was 18 or 19 years old.  We are posing in some rural part of Illinois.  Both my parents grew up in small towns. Dad got Mom off the farm and to the big city.  She loved it.  We always said she had lived a past life in San Francisco or New York. She had good taste and a designer's eye. She was a pretty woman. She also loved little kids.  Her most beautiful attribute was her loving heart.

Here I am entertaining my younger brother, Greg. I was a tall three and a half year old with dishwater blond hair.  I still have those red corduroy coveralls in my keepsake box.  My Mom saved them.

I ended up having three younger brothers who tormented me.  They also gave me the ability to deal with men later in life, even the problematic ones.

My parents lived in public housing -- the infamous Pruitt-Igo projects -- while Dad finished dental school and Mom worked at the Rawlings factory in St. Louis, Missouri.  We were one of four white families living in this part of town.  Mom rode the bus to work.  Dad drove a 1954 VW bug that I later drove in high school with great joy and freedom.  I learned to take care of myself from a very early age.  I have done just that my entire life.

This next photo shows my Flynn Park class in the third grade.  It was 1963.  Oswald shot John F. Kennedy that year.  It was our 9/11 memory.  In the photo, I am seated on the floor on the left side, with bangs.  My Mom probably made the skirt and blouse outfit I was wearing.  She probably cut my bangs. I had buck teeth from sucking two fingers as a toddler.  Suzanne Magee, second row, second from the right, invited me to go to Dubai the year we both turned 60.  It led me to Doha. 

Big leap in time.  After my first year of law school,  I spent the summer studying Oil and Gas Law and the History of English Common Law at "Teddy Hall" at Oxford University.  You can see an Oxford don in his teaching robes in the background of this photo.  I worked three jobs earlier in the summer to pay my way.  My Mom surprised me at the last minute by buying the airplane ticket.  At that time, I never would have guessed that I would one day teach law. 

This trip sparked my love for travel, which I can indulge now that I live in Doha. In the last two years, I have visited Vienna, northern Italy, Taiwan, Thailand (twice), Vietnam, Malaysia, and Australia.  I love Asia. 

This photo captures me at a sidewalk cafe in Paris that same summer.  Eighteen months before, the doctors had diagnosed my boyfriend, Mike, as having a malignant melanoma -- a very deadly form of skin cancer. He had completed a round of experimental cancer treatment before he joined me in Paris for the Grande Tour of Europe.  He took the photo.

This next photo shows me enjoying the sun on one of our frequent canoe "float trips" in the Missouri Ozarks.  I rarely posed for cheesecake shots.  I was too worried about protecting my credibility as a woman lawyer.  I think I was in my second year of law school.

This photo features some of my friends at a concert on Art Hill in St. Louis.  I made the "F Troop" sign so folks could find the real estate we had staked out.  I also made the dress I'm wearing.  In those days, I permed my fine, thin hair to give it body.  It was a short-lived look.  Mike is sitting in the front in the pink shirt. He had finished cancer therapy at that point. (He is still alive and very active physically.) At that time, I was still in law school.

Mike mentioned how much he loved my shoulders.  They were the product of a regime of lap swimming, which I have started again in Doha.  I swim 700 meters four times a week now.  I think I was a dolphin in a past life.  Or, a mermaid.

This next photo shows me playing an Amazon woman in Queen Hippolyta's court for an outdoor production of A Midsummers Night Dream.  I had no lines, but given my height, it was perfect casting.  My boyfriend, Mike (another Mike), had a speaking role in the play.  So, did his dog.  She barked on cue.

We lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma during the natural gas supply bubble of the mid-1980s.  (I have lived long enough to see another natural gas supply bubble brought on by the success of fracking production.)  I worked for the largest law firm in Oklahoma doing natural gas pipeline regulatory work.  Mike never found a full-time job despite his MBA from Washington University, so we moved to Washington, D.C.  We met when I was clerking for May Department Stores Company in St. Louis during my third year of law school.  I was crazy in love with him.  The dog's name was Ruta.

Mike (the second one) and I also toured Paris.  This photo was taken outside the Pompadeau Museum.  That was a great summer, too.

This photo shows my extended family, including my aunts, uncles, parents, brothers, cousins, and grandmother.  Mike (the second one) is on the back row.  I am in the front row.  I was perfecting my woman-lawyer-look at the time. You rarely saw me without a jacket (which is still true).  My Mom is in the middle in the white blouse next to my Dad.  We had a big celebration with home-made oyster stew on Christmas Eve.  My nephews were not yet born.  My brother, John, was not yet dead.

This photo was taken when I was a young associate working for the Energy Department of the D.C. office of Skadden Arps.  At that time, it held the position of the third largest firm in the world.  I met some very smart, creative, and hard working people during that time.  I also learned that repeated "all-nighters" would not kill me.  I also became fearless.  I was about 31 years old.

During that time, my best friend Carol (who is still one of my best friends) got married at a Utah ski resort.  I was a bride's maid, a role I rarely played. My Arab students are very curious about my single, childless status.  They marry young and have several children.  I have had five marriage proposals.  But, I never followed through.  I tell my students that I was an "American career woman," and rightly so.  When I entered the legal profession in 1982, only 8 percent of all U.S. lawyers were women.  Even by 2000, eighteen years later, only 29% of  U.S. lawyers were women.

My D.C. friends also rented a beach house on the Delaware shore every summer.  I had never lived near the beach before.  Now, my Doha apartment is a block from the beach.  This photo shows me reading in the beach house before we headed out for dinner.  I am back to big hair.  I have also always worn scarves.  In junior high, I would borrow silk scarves from my Mom's dresser drawer.  What junior high school student wears silk scarves?  I must have been a French woman in a past life.

Some evenings, we would stay home, fry softshell crabs, steam clams, and drink white wine.  These were some of my happiest days.  I'm tanned, fit, have money to spend, and enjoyed my smart friends.  I do not know the guy in the background of this photo.

I did find one other cheesecake photo.  Same summer.  It makes me laugh.

This photo shows me with my Mom shortly before the doctors gave her a diagnosis of terminal colon cancer.  She was my closest confidant and greatest booster.  She had remarkable listening skills.

By this time, I was covering my gray hair with red hair color.  I made a pretty good red-head with my green eyes and pale skin color.  I was in my early 40s, back in St. Louis, and working at a small boutique firm doing insurance insolvency litigation for what was then the largest insurance insolvency in U.S. history.  I spent about half my time, for about a decade, in Los Angeles working on different aspects of the insolvency.  In the mid-90s, I was a law partner at a time when less than 17 percent of partners were women. (In 2017, the number finally crept to 19 percent.)  I must have been a man in a past life.

Now, I look a lot like my Mom did then.  I've written about her death at age 61 here.

This photo shows me with one of my childhood friends, Mike (a third one).  We once misbehaved in fifth grade English class, and the teacher sent us both out into the hallway.  (I was typically teacher's pet, so this was a new experience for me.)  My favorite teacher, Mr. Dwyer, saw me in the hall-of-shame, and I never let it happen again.  I continued to call Mike my friend despite my humiliaton. St. Louis. Mid-40s. Rocking red hair.

This next photo still has me rocking my red hair color.  I was coaching the Appalachian School of Law (ASL) negotiation team that went on to place 10th out of 180 teams in the ABA national competition.  The year is 2004.  The student in the photo was one of the negotiators.  I had been teaching about two years by then.  I was 50 years old.

Here is a photo of Lily Golightly Young the day I adopted her at an ASL C.A.R.E.S. event.  The tree-covered Appalachian Mountains make the backdrop, as well as my trusty SUV.  Dogs have played an important role in my life.  Now, in Doha, I don't have a dog in the house for the first time since 1985. I enjoy the freedom, but miss the love.  I also don't own a car.  Instead, I have a driver who navigates the dangerous roads of Doha.  I miss the freedom of driving.  I also miss that red jacket.

I started to grow out my hair to its natural silver color when I was recovering from ankle fusion surgery in 2007, after I broke my left leg in three places in 2005.  My grandmother, Babe Young, and her sisters had the same silver hair. 

This photos shows me displaying some of the treasures I bought on a month-long tour of the American West at the age of 57.  I drove solo in my SUV at a slow pace from Virginia to Montana and back.  Scrounging around antique stores is one of my favorite hobbies.  I found many Western and Native American treasures in those stores on this trip.  You can spot a buffalo skull on the bed behind me. My best friend from high school, Kenn Ann, is laughing in the background. Love her Beatles T-shirt. I also love a good cowboy hat and own three. Doha is short on antique stores.  It is also short on people wearing cowboy hats.

I left for Doha the summer I turned 61.  It is no coincidence that I launched this new adventure at the same age that saw an end to my Mom's life.  I am living the life she couldn't.  

This photo shows me posing in front of the East Tennessee airport the night I flew to Doha.  My personal assistant, Brenda, helped me close up a two-story house filled with furniture and treasures.  We were both exhausted by the time this night came.  We had a big seafood dinner at Red Lobster before my departure.  She said a little prayer over me for a safe trip.  I brought four suitcases and a box.  That's starting over for sure. I've learned the teapot pose from my ASL students. For more about manifesting this new life, take a look here.

As I said earlier, Doha lets me travel easily to places in Europe and Asia.  My friend, Jessica, took this photo at the bird park in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  We stopped in KL on our way to Taiwan in January 2017.  

This photo shows my colleagues in the Lawyering Skills Program at Qatar University College of Law.  They are a wonderful group of professors.  We were having lunch together before the summer vacation began.

Here I am celebrating my 63rd birthday at a Ramadan Iftar dinner in Doha.  I am wearing an abaya.

And here I am posing with two of my best male students in June 2017.  One student is Palestinian.  The other is Bahrainian/Qatari.  My hair was a little flat that day.  I am always a little worse-for-wear by the end of the semester.  I described my experience that semester here

I took this photo after my cataract surgery in Thailand this summer.  No more thick eyeglasses needed.  I bought the coral necklace and the hand-painted linen blouse in Bangkok.  I am still healthy, have money to spend, and enjoy smart friends.  I still love to travel.  I am standing in my one bedroom Doha apartment that I decorated in a Nantucket beach house decor. My hair looked really fluffy that day.  Just how I like it.

As I got about half way through this blog post, I realized I was inspired by Maya Angelou's book, "Mom & Me & Mom."  My book club read it last month and met to discuss it last week.  We decided it represented a late career reflection.  Maybe this post represents the same impulse.