The Rhodes Trust is piloting a new Falcon Scholarship program for students from parts of the world that have not been part of the British Commonwealth to do graduate study at Oxford. It was my honor to chair a Selection Committee for Rhodes for the finalists attending universities in the UAE. As would be true in America, the candidates actually come from many different countries. And most of them are from the parts of the world that generate headlines associated with conflict.
I was thinking about how education takes place despite all that causes us to worry about the state of the world. And then I looked out the window of my Etihad airliner and noticed that an even bigger El Al jet was parked right beside us. Nearby were airliners from Kuwait and Egypt. And we all got along, so to speak. It happens in the aviation world, too.
The security lines were very long. People wore national and religious dress and many had very patient children. Moshe Friedman and his family stood next to a person named Mohammed and his children. Some of the women looked like they came straight from Saks Fifth Avenue and some were completely covered. The line moved and we all headed for our separate planes. Except for the kids. They wanted to keep playing with each other.
They will get that chance again, perhaps, in college and when they study abroad.
But I also think that if we can travel together it should be possible to live together now. And then I reflected on an old film I watched late at night last week. “The Spirit of St. Louis” dramatizes Lindbergh’s solo flight across the Atlantic. It was actually not so long ago. And it was very hard work. The same could be said about living together across all the divides that cause conflict. But the destination sure is worth it. It just takes work. And ever more educational opportunities for us to get to know one another.