Delano E. Lewis Highlights the Importance of Learning Arabic, Mandarin, and Spanish
Delano E. Lewis, former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of South African, visited ARAB 102 and COM 102 courses where he highlighted the importance of learning Arabic, Mandarin, and Spanish.
On Tuesday, April 22, 2014 Delano E. Lewis, former US ambassador to the Republic of South Africa from 1999 – 2001, former president and chief executive officer of National Public Radio, and former associate director and country director for the Peace Corps in Nigeria and Uganda, visited Prof. Noura Hajjaj’s Introduction to Communication (COM 102) and Elementary Arabic II (ARAB 102) classes.
Prof. Hajjaj, who arranged the visit through Freddimir Garcia, Marist Presidential Fellow, was surprised to find out Ambassador Delano Lewis had accepted her invitation to her 8:00 class on the next day of his arrival to Marist. She reports that both her classes felt honored to be joined by the Ambassador so early and allowed them to be the first class to benefit from his great professional expertise on campus. Prof. Hajjaj noted Ambassador Lewis’ engaging personality and commented that “the entire experience was awesome and a source of inspiration for my students as well as for myself."
After being introduced, Ambassador Delano Lewis provided key information about his professional background in various leadership roles as an attorney, a business man, and a diplomat. “I can see you as potential leaders of this country and I am highly confident that you can do it and be successful," said Ambassador Lewis encouragingly to students.
Besides his emphasis on the roles of language, communication, and culture, in various relational contexts, Ambassador Delano Lewis engaged students in political communication and discussed recent and current world events such as the South African Apartheid comparing it to the civil war that has been taking place in Syria since March 2011. In his comparison, he cited the cause of conflicts like these to be a sense of superiority exercised by the minorities of both societies over the rest of the country’s population. He further explained that when a group of people exercises prejudice over others, sentiments of inferiority, inequality, and injustice lead to the rise of conflicts and eventually lead to the civil wars. “There are signs of civil war in Ukraine, so we will continue to follow up if this is the case or not,” Ambassador Lewis added.
Ambassador Delano Lewis engaged student critical thinking skills on the role of social media in the current Arab political movements, the ongoing debates about Edward Snowden, National Public Radio, and the Peace Corps. He ended his conversation by answering student questions. It was a great experience for students.