Kennesaw State hosts delegation from Oman

 

Ambassador Hunaina Sultan Al Mughairy of the Sultanante of Oman discusses her country with Dan Papp and guests at reception in honor of her delelgation to Kennesaw State.

 

Ambassador leads officials in planning “Year of Arabian Peninsula” conference on changing role of women

A delegation led by the Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman spent April 18 at Kennesaw State University meeting with officials and staff to begin planning a conference highlighting the changing roles of women in Oman.

The conference will take place Nov. 7 during the University’s “Year of Arabian Peninsula” country study for the 2014-2015 academic year. Oman is among the seven Arabian Peninsula countries that are the focus of the yearlong study, which also includes the Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.   

The ambassador, Hunaina Sultan Al Mughairy, and top officials of the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., met with top Kennesaw State officials, including Lance Askildson, the University’s chief international officer, and W. Ken Harmon, provost; several college deans and faculty members with scholarly interest and expertise in Islamic and Middle Eastern arts, culture, history and international affairs.

In addition to the ambassador, the delegation included SQCC officials Kathleen Ridolfo, executive director; Iman Al Busaidi, deputy director; and Mohammed Al Shidhani, board treasurer. 

Throughout the day, the delegation also toured the campus and nearby facilities that will be utilized during the daylong conference, titled “Women of Oman: Changing Roles and Transnational Influence.”

“We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center in a focus during our groundbreaking annual study of the Arabian Peninsula on Oman’s progressive leadership in the empowerment of women,” Askildson said.   

At an afternoon reception, President Daniel S. Papp welcomed the delegation along with Kennesaw State students, faculty and staff and community guests.

“We are very excited to have you visit our campus,” said Papp, who visited Oman in mid February, meeting and dining with the ambassador in the capital city of Muscat.  “I hope you will feel as welcomed here as I was made to feel in your country.”

Ambassador Al Mughairy gave a brief overview of Oman’s history and culture, including its distinction as a “traditional seafaring nation.” It is an ethnically diverse nation with centuries old trade relations with East Africa, India, China, and the West and with “60 to 75 percent of the world passing through the Strait [of Hormuz].”  In fact, she said, Oman signed its first treaty with the U.S. in 1833. With 200,000 miles of coastline, she said the country promotes the development of its fisheries and tourism.  In addition, she described Oman as a country where 65 percent of the population is under the age of 25 and where “women have the same rights as men.”

Before fielding questions on Oman’s education system, investment and trade opportunities, accommodations for those with physical disabilities and study abroad opportunities, the ambassador thanked the University for its hospitality.

“I have been very impressed with your campus,” she said. “Even the rain was welcoming, since I’m coming from a country that seldom gets rain.  We look forward to returning for the conference. I hope you will come to visit us in Oman as well.”

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--Sabbaye McGriff

  Photo by Anthony Stalcup