Summary of Learning

For my summary of learning for PR Publications, I intend on using the Google Story Builder to display my progression through this course. I have already played around with this medium, and unfortunately, I don’t think it is long enough for me to give details on all of my assignments, as I had originally planned. However, this boundary will force me to be creative with my project and tailor my story to fit within the word-count cap, while still getting my point across.

I do not need a whole lot of tools for this medium. I will just need to craft my story into something that is both interesting and informational. However, it will definitely benefit me to use the Analysis-Synthesis Bridge Model while I’m crafting my story, so I believe that I will start with that before I actually begin writing.


My final summary of learning can be found here.

International Event 4: Arabic Flagship Roundtable (20 Nov)

Event: Arabic Flagship Roundtable (Hester Hall, 20 November 2015)

For the final Flagship roundtable meeting of the year, Professor Aisha Mojan gave a presentation on her home country, Morocco. Her presentation focused in great detail on the Moroccan dialect of Arabic, known colloquially as Darija, and how it differed from and was similar to classical Arabic and other dialects. Darija is known for being vastly different from other Arabic dialects, up to the point where speakers of other dialects cannot understand Moroccans. Professor Mojan introduced the students (all of whom spoke either Egyptian or, like me, Syrian-Lebanese Arabic) to some basic Moroccan phrases. It is not only fascinating to see the vast differences between Moroccan Arabic and my “base” dialect (Lebanese), but also the similarities. Professor Mojan explained some of the connections of many Darija words to archaic classical Arabic, showing connections that tied Darija into the larger family of Arabic dialects. This was especially stunning for me because growing up I was always told that Moroccan Arabic was not actually Arabic because other Arabs could not understand it. But Aisha’s explanations of how Darija was connected to other versions of Arabic helped everyone obtain a new appreciation for how Darija was a fascinating variant on the versions of Arabic that we were already familiar with.

She also spoke at length on Moroccan culture, cuisine, and politics. She talked about the various culinary influences from Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Europe that made Moroccan cuisine so unique. At the end of the presentation, when she was taking questions, I asked her what she thought were the biggest challenges facing Morocco today. She responded without hesitation that unemployment was Morocco’s greatest problem, as it prevented people from contributing to building up Morocco’s economy and also provided an opening for political unrest.

International Event 3: Lecture by Joseph Bahout: “Lebanon’s Christian Communities: Where Do They Stand Today?” (22 Oct)

It was fascinating to hear Doctor Bahout talk about the current state of Lebanon’s Christian communities and how they arrived at their current position. I appreciated his presentation of Lebanese history, especially during the past century, tracing the rise and fall of Christian power in Lebanon. He did an excellent job of explaining how Christians – and especially Maronite Catholics – literally drew the borders of Lebanon with the French to maintain a slim Christian majority while absorbing Muslim-majority ports (like Sidon and Tripoli) or rich agricultural valleys (such as the Beqaa) that would benefit Christian businesses. He then laid out the basics of the National Pact, which left the Maronites at the top of the national political hierarchy (with the presidency reserved for a member of that community) while including Sunnis, Shi’ites, and other Christians as junior partners, thus preserving Maronite dominance while giving everyone a stake in Lebanon’s politics. He excellently explained how this system ultimately buckled and collapsed in 1975 under demographic pressure, which in no small part a result of the presence of Palestinian refugees and militants after 1948. He concluded with what I thought was a very interesting take on Lebanese politics, lamenting the division of Christians between those that ally predominately with Sunni politicians such as the Hariris and those who align themselves more with Shi’ite groupings like the Hizballah and Amal. I found his perspective to be very unique because, although he has renounced his Lebanese citizenship in favour of French citizenship, his sense of disappointment about the situation of Lebanese Christians especially struck home because he is by background a Lebanese Christian. His frustration made the no-win situation facing Lebanese Christians today all the more palpable.

International Event 2: Professor Naima Boussofara on Registers of Arabic (23 Oct)

Professor Boussofara presented a lecture in Arabic on how Arabic is taught in terms of striking a balance between fusha, or classical Arabic, and ‘aamiya, or spoken Arabic. While she herself said she had no preference between various approaches at balancing (or not balancing) these two versions of Arabic, she said that for too long instruction on Arabic has been single-minded and lacking self-criticism. I found it interesting to hear her perspective, which was in part that teaching entirely fusha was dangerous, because my linguistic background is very much based in colloquial Lebanese Arabic, and so for me I would actually appreciate more of a focus on classical Arabic than what I have received from my Arabic class at OU. But, at the very least, it made me aware that OU’s emphasis on practical Arabic (i.e., speaking a lot in Arabic dialects, because classical Arabic almost entirely written and next to never spoken outside of very formal settings) is very rare across the US, and that most Arabic students in the United States have a limited ability to interact with people in Arabic-speaking countries because classical Arabic is much like Shakespearian English: applicable only in written form, and baffling to most people on the street. She also touched on how technology is changing the landscape of Arabic dialects by creating ways for, say, Saudis to be exposed to Moroccan Arabic and vice-versa that never existed in the past. She argued that the integration of the age of the internet has helped to reduce the dominance of Egyptian or Lebanese Arabic as a lingua franca between people of different nationalities, as their dominance on music, television, and film that was a defining characteristic of the Middle East in the twentieth century, is being challenged as the Gulf countries and the nations of the Maghreb begin to disseminate their dialects more and more through their own films, music, and television programming. I also found this interesting because it was my previous perception that the rise of mass communication had only reinforced Egyptian-Lebanese dominance, but I enjoyed listening to a different perspective.

International Event 1: Professor Naima Boussofara on the Fall of Ben Ali (23 Oct)

It was very interesting to hear Professor Naima Boussofara speak about how Ben Ali’s speaking style and delivery affected the outcome of the Tunisian Revolution of 2011. I found it uniquely fascinating because it was a look at an aspect of Ben Ali’s fall that went beyond the typical explanations of unemployment and corruption. Boussofara, who has extensive background in linguistics and the Arabic language (she currently is the Arabic professor at KU), honed in on the way in which Ben Ali presented himself during his three addresses to the Tunisian public during the demonstrations that culminated in his ouster. His addresses appeared stilted in overly formal classical Arabic, making him seem distant, austere, and elitist to the Tunisian public. Even when he tried to speak in colloquial Tunisian Arabic, his language was still too heavily influenced by classical Arabic to sound anything like, say, FDR’s fireside chats or Ben Ali’s populist predecessor, Habib Bourguiba. Another interesting thing Professor Boussofara mentioned was the role of the presidential office telephone in his downfall. Ben Ali, while giving his televised address, had deliberately spoken from his austere, empty desk in the regal presidential office, giving off an air of power. However, a telephone rang – eight times – during his speech, which made him appear, to put it lightly, less than in control of his surroundings. After all, Boussofara pointed out, it was interpreted as a first sign of weakness that a man who had spent decades trying to silence critics had been unable to silence his own telephone, and otherwise distracted from his speech, making him seem almost laughable. The net result of this was that Ben Ali’s austere and powerful-looking façade, propped up by his use of classical Arabic, was proven to be just that – a façade – and each address that Ben Ali gave seemed only to weaken his standing with the people further. Overall, I found her analysis of an underreported and under-analysed aspect of the fall of Ben Ali to be a fascinating insight on the collapse of the relationship between the ruler and the ruled.

Reflection – Domain

For one of our last assignments, Professor Croom has asked us to write about how we will use our domain after PR Pubs is over.

I think that after PR Pubs is over, I’m going to wipe my domain clean and fill it with content that will be useful while I’m applying to jobs. I will probably still upload some of my work from this semester onto my domain for portfolio purposes, but I believe I will use this domain to exemplify my writing abilities.

I intend on filling it with writing projects that I’ve done for various internships and course assignments, and I feel like that content will display my strengths in the best possible way.

Once I have completed this process, I will be able to add my domain to my resume and refer to it during interviews, which is my overall goal for this site.

Thanksgiving Adventures Abroad

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One thing that I really like about the program here in Arezzo is that we get about half of our Fridays free. For Thanksgiving Break, most professors here cancelled class on that Monday and Tuesday; those who didn’t were pretty willing got let us make up those missed classes. Many of the engineers took advantage of this, leaving Arezzo on the Thursday or Friday before Thanksgiving and not returning until the Saturday or Sunday after Thanksgiving. During my 9 day break,  I was able to visit 3 countries on two different continents. I spend the first three days in London, the middle three in Barcelona, and the last few in Fez, Morocco.

I visited London last summer, so I had already seen the major sites, but I loved visiting again and experiencing different things. I went to the Holiday Park in Hyde Park, saw the Rosetta stone, and explored the British National Gallery. I became a pro at navigating the tube. I love London, the people are amazing and the city has so much to offer; however, I think my favorite thing is that I understood everything going on and could read all of the menus.

Fez, Morocco was something different all together. The most significant thing was that English was neither the first or second language, it was Moroccan Arabic and French, which neither my friend nor I knew. Lucky, we met two Australians staying at the same hostel as us, one of whom was fluent in French. We were all staying there the same three nights, so we hung out when we went to the huge market or walked around the Medina. I’ve never been to Morocco or Africa before, but I went to Turkey earlier this summer, so I thought Morocco would be a little bit like that (which it kind of was but also wasn’t in a weird way). As a group of four girls, I was a little nervous wandering around the medina, but other than a few minor events, we were able to wander around without much trouble.

My Thanksgiving was definitely different compared to my usual Thanksgiving, but I loved it (especially since I got my Turkey fix when OUA held a Thanksgiving feast for us).

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Spring Semester 2016 events

Hold the date:

Changing of exhibits:

Galileo’s World Speakers Series at the Sam Noble
(7 p.m. on 2nd Thursdays each month, with Skywatch afterward hosted by the Lunar Sooners):

  • January 14: The Story behind the Tower of Pisa exhibit, College of Engineering.
  • February 11: The Story behind “The Quest for Other Worlds” exhibit, Jared Buss.
  • March 10: “Celestial Spheres and Torrid Zones: Medieval and Renaissance Views of the Cosmos,” Peter Barker and Kathleen Crowther.
  • April 14: “The telescope and the scientific revolution. Looking at the world with new eyes,” Rienk Vermij.

Galileo’s World Speakers Series at the National Weather Center
(7 p.m. on 1st Tuesdays each month, featuring JPL scientists, with food and reception at 6:30 p.m.):

Special events:

  • Galileo’s World Symposium, Feb 25, 2016: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (free lunch included with RSVP)
    • Paolo Galluzzi (Museo Galileo): The Galileo//thec@ Digital research library
    • Bro. Guy Consolmagno (Vatican Observatory), Galileo as Scientist
    • Theresa Marks (OU College of Engineering), The OU Leaning Tower of Pisa replica project
    • Nick Wilding (Georgia State University), “Forging the Moon: or, How to Spot a Fake Galileo”
    • Tony Hey (VP of Microsoft Research Connections, a division of Microsoft Research, until 2014), The Nature of Innovation
  • Midwest Junto for the History of Science, April 1-3, 2016.

Galileo’s World reprise exhibits:
September 2016 through May 2017 (Bizzell Library, 5th floor).

Events subject to change. Consult the Galileo’s World Events (exhibit website) for more information.

Filed under: Exhibits and events


Name an advocate and give 3 examples of their advocacy:

Angelina Jolie Pitt began advocating for displaced refugees in 2001 during her time filming Tomb Raider.  She became the ambassador for UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) that same year.  She has lead over 40 missions to educate all nations on the sufferings of displaced refugees.

As of 2003 Jolie-Pitt, she started the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation project hich advocates for conservation in Cambodia.  This foundation has led to the expansion of resources in the areas of health and education, among many other campaigns.  She has also provided funding for disease prevention centers for children in the highest risk areas.

In furthering her advocacy she has financially backed not only her on organizations but other organizations that need attention.  She has donated over 5 million dollars to her causes and campaings.





MADD Is an Advocate

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is an advocate for ending drunk driving, help victims of the crime, and to stop underage drinking. There are several ways that they advocate for victims of drunk driving as well as potential victims of this crime. One of those ways is by sharing testimonies or giving voice to victims of drugged driving. Another action MADD takes as an advocate is by assisting with applications for Crime Victim Compensation. Lastly, they publish a magazine called MADDVOCATE Magazine, with the goal of sharing stories and letting voices be heard.