Prof. travels to Iraq to teach

first_imgA Notre Dame political science professor had the unique opportunity last month to teach students about “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in a place where such terms are foreign and difficult to grasp.Professor Vincent Muñoz traveled to the American University of Iraq-Sulaimani (AUI-S) to teach students about the principles behind the United States Constitution and Declaration of Independence.“The ideas were new and not familiar. They really wanted to know what it means to have the right to life, the right to liberty,” Muñoz said. AUI-S, a private university, opened in 2007 and offers an American-style liberal arts education. All classes are taught in English.Muñoz met AUI-S Provost John Agresto last November after the Notre Dame professor gave a lecture about the Constitution in Philadelphia. Agresto later invited Muñoz to teach students about American democracy in a workshop setting at AUI-S.Muñoz left for Iraq on March 25 and returned on April 5, traveling 30 hours each way. Notre Dame’s Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts (ISLA) funded the trip.“I definitely want to thank Agustin Fuentes, director of the ISLA,” Muñoz said.On a typical day, Muñoz did some of his own work in the morning, ate lunch with faculty in the afternoon, met with his class and held informal conversations with students after class.“I taught for five days, but the total trip was 10 days,” Muñoz said. “I taught a 75 minute class which tended to go to 90 minutes. Anyone could come, and more students came every day.”Muñoz said the students arrived at each seminar class well prepared and with many questions.“The first day we did the Declaration of Independence and [discussed] what the purpose of government is. The second day we did the Federalist Number 10. [We then] spent two days on religious freedom and one day on constitutional design,” Muñoz said. “Students were so engaged because Iraq just wrote a constitution.”Muñoz said most students looked to America as the ideal democratic society.“[We discussed that] liberal democracy has its advantages and disadvantages,” he said. “They are so enamored with the idea of democracy, to have someone talk about the disadvantages of democracy was new to them.”Muñoz said some female students worried about the abuses of freedom. These students were concerned too much freedom could lead to an increased prevalence of abortions and pornography.Toward the end of his stay in Iraq, Muñoz gave a lecture open to the entire university titled “Constitutional Democracy and Religious Freedom.”“In the lecture I did a comparison between the Iraqi and American constitutions,” Muñoz said. “Islam is the established religion in the Iraqi constitution. I compared that to how we don’t have an official religion in America. Students thought it would be impossible not to have an established religion [In Iraq].”Muñoz said students were surprised a separation of church and state is not considered anti-religious. They also struggled to comprehend the idea of a limited government.“They had not seen the arguments for these ideas before,” Muñoz said.Muñoz said his class felt “in many ways, just like a seminar at Notre Dame.”But he said teaching students who are so unfamiliar with concepts like freedom of speech and freedom of religion — concepts most Americans do not think twice about — was refreshing.“[The trip] reminded me why I love to teach these things, because the students were so hungry to learn and the ideas were so new to them,” Muñoz said. “The eagerness of the students was infectious — they desire so much to live as a stable democracy like America.”last_img read more

Leadership Matters: Lessons from the Titanic

first_imgAs a credit union leader, you are responsible for the wellbeing and success of your institution, employees and members. You are the captain of your ship; while the employees steer the ship, the captain is responsible for steering the course. Leaders cannot take success for granted or be blind to the challenges and obstacles they face. Over 100 years ago, Titanic Captain E.J. Smith fell into that trap, which resulted in one of the greatest disasters of all time. The lessons learned from that sinking can be applied to your credit union as well.The Leader Is Always ResponsibleLeadership expert John Maxwell states “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” The maiden voyage of the Titanic was Capt. E.J. Smith’s retirement trip. His final duty was to pilot the grandest ship ever built into New York Harbor. However, Smith took many safety issues and precautions for granted on the trip. He ignored multiple iceberg warnings from his crew and neighboring ships. Smith ignored safety concerns by pushing the ship to its limits the first time out in the attempt to reach New York two days ahead of schedule.Leadership is about everything you do, and the things you don’t do. Maxwell says, “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.” The leader sets the stage and influences others to act; the leader is always present, even when he or she is not there physically. 13SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »last_img read more

Developer bags a bargain in inner Brisbane suburb

first_imgThis property at 49 Victory St, Zillmere, has sold for $587,500. Pic supplied.DEMAND for development opportunities close to the city drove the sale of this rundown Zillmere property.The three-bedroom home on 810 sqm sold in just 10 days to a local developer for $587,500 after attracting seven offers.Selling agent Ben Jacobs of Ben Jacobs Real Estate said the sale of the property at 49 Victory Street defied the negative sentiment in the market surrounding unit oversupply.“I didn’t expect to see that level of interest in a property like that in Zillmere, so it shows there is a lot of interest in that area for development even in the current market,” he said.More from newsFor under $10m you can buy a luxurious home with a two-lane bowling alley5 Apr 2017Military and railway history come together on bush block24 Apr 2019“Regardless of the sentiment in the market, there are definitely still developers willing to push ahead.” Inside the property at 49 Victory St, Zillmere. Pic supplied.Mr Jacobs said the property was attractive because of its price point and proximity to the CBD.“To be able to still pick up a block in the late $500,000s and develop it this close to the city is pretty good buying,” he said. The property comprises two lots on one title, enabling it to be split.It’s a short walk to Zillmere Train Station and close to state schools and Chermside Shopping Centre.The property is currently rented for $390 a week and leased until February 2018.last_img read more