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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bill Clinton's Visit to AUD

Bill Clinton and the Clinton Scholars
Today, the students at American University in Dubai got a great privilege that most students within the US don't even get to experience. We were visited by William Jefferson Clinton. The former president has now visited AUD six times and has a great legacy within the university itself. Pictures of Clinton shaking hands with the Sheikh and posing with former AUD students line the halls of our Administration building and dot the website. Since I'm attending AUD as a Clinton Scholar, I'm particularly grateful of the patronage and the bit of extra recognition we received today.

Asking each of us about our hometowns, schools, and what we think of Dubai
The news of Clinton’s visit actually reached students pretty late, but preparations were still made for a Q and A session in the cafeteria and opportunities for both the Clinton Scholars and SGA to take group pictures with him. Clinton has a warm, inviting personality which makes anyone he’s speaking with temporarily forget his celebrity status and encourages genuine conversation. His time with us American students was brief, but he had time to ask each of us about our background and how we are finding Dubai and AUD. The Q and A session was unmediated and chaotic, allowing for some redundant or down-right dumb questions to be asked, but the candid nature of the discussion was still pretty nice. The questions in these categories centered on Syria and North Korea, and their banality or hostile wording limited the scope of the discussion and wasted time. Worse than the few disrespectful questions was the general disrespect of students who showed up to watch the Q and A. The cafeteria was not an ideal place to host such an event, but students showed a great level of immaturity and disrespect by talking loudly during the event, leaving me temporarily embarrassed to be associated with them.

In case you were wondering, I was not chosen to ask a question, but I can live with that.

Mr. Clinton between the President of AUD and the President of AUD's SGA during the Q&A Session
That said, I am so grateful for AUD’s efforts in organizing the event, the effort made to include the Clinton Scholars, and of course for Clinton’s decision to visit itself. I’m blown away every week by the opportunities I have while in Dubai as a student at AUD. This has been an experience I will never forget on so many levels.

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Troy, AL, United States
I am a Political Science student at Troy University in southeastern Alabama. I have been given fantastic opportunities to travel to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, among other brief trips, to study and glimpse other cultures. I believe there is much to be learned about other people while studying, and I want to share my experiences with you.