A wise man once told me, “Never tell anyone your dreams because if you never see them in your waking life, you won’t have to explain for the rest of your existence why you never made it.” Sublime advice, right? Similarly, a good buddy once shared with me a link to C.P. Cavafy’s poem Ithaka. The journey to my dream is as valuable as the destination itself because that is where I will find true enrichment.
So, I have decided to break protocol. I want to share one of the reasons I am driven to sit at a keyboard and pound out stories and such. Of course I want what any writer wants, to be able to provide a living for my family by becoming a storyteller, but for me, there is more. I want to start a school.
Education is this world’s great equalizer. Enlightenment is simply impossible without it. Until enough of our leaders learn how to respect, cooperate, and love, our world will be full of hate, violence, and greed.
The ideal would be for my University to operate free of charge to the students, including tuition, room and board, cost of living, and travel expenses. All students are valued the same and treated with equal opportunity. In my current vision, the University’s student body would be filled via two methods.
Noah’s Ark: Every country in the world would be invited to send two students, one male and one female, per academic year to the University. Two-by-two. Each country would decide on its own framework for deciding who to send. I know some would fear corruption, but I have faith that this system would work out for good over the course of time. According to Wikipedia, the United Nations current recognizes 206 sovereign states. So, that would be 412 students per academic year under this scholarship.
Pro Rata: There are seven billion people in the world with India and China leading the way with over a billion each. It seems fair to me to offer a second scholarship to students based on the population of his/her home nation. So, if my University could offer 1000 scholarships each academic year under this provision, a country with one billion people would provide approximately 143 students. A country like the United States, with approximately 400 million people, would send 57 students each academic year. Some sort of pooling process would have to be developed in order to accommodate countries with very large populations where the mathematics would not guarantee a student from their nation could attend every year under this provision. Furthermore, students could apply directly for this scholarship and if they meet the basic academic criteria, they would either be chosen by an acceptance committee or at random (or a combination of both).
Using this process, the student body would roughly model the world population. With my simple math, each academic year would have 1412 students resulting in a total of 5648 students enrolled in the four year program.
Ideally, the University would need to be established someplace safe yet easily accessible. Many countries would be suitable hosts. I envision a single main campus. But I think it would be awesome if the students rotated through a series of satellite campuses worldwide. Would it be too much for a student study in a different country each academic year? Each semester? I believe if you can experience the world and its different cultures, you become a better world citizen. It is better to see with your own eyes than to read in a book. What would a student’s worldview look like if he/she spent a semester studying in Europe, Russia, Israel, The United States, Russia, China, Brazil, Turkey, Africa, etc.
Faculty & Staff
Top notch academic minds would be perfect, of course, while emphasizing diversity. The instructors should come from all over the world to ensure a broad cultural environment.
A liberal arts program would probably be necessary to achieve the goals of the university, but specialization should be allowed and encouraged. However, leadership, team building, foreign language study, government, and cultural appreciation would be emphasized in the General Education curriculum. While traditional class room instruction is important, I believe a focus on practical hands on training and experience would be vital via opportunities like internships and apprenticeships. The students should leave empowered to enter the world workforce.
The environment should be designed in such a way that the students develop a close bond with one another. Through class instruction, sports, intercollegiate competitions and activities, students of all nations would learn to understand and value each other.
The campus would be designed in a manner that all students could be comfortable worshiping in whatever manner they choose, if any. Churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, etc. In the same way, campus dining options would cover the spectrum of worldwide needs. Omnivore, vegetarian, vegan, Kosher, Halal, etc.
It makes sense to me on one level for their to be some sort of school uniform. Of course leeway would need to be given to address cultural sensitivities.
The ultimate mission would be for university graduates to return to their home countries commissioned to change the world for good. If they learn to love and respect their peers from nations around the world, they leave equipped for this very task. As they rise to levels of responsibility and leadership, they would have an established network of like-minded colleagues worldwide prepared to achieve the same goal: to share this planet in a loving manner.
I know this is an ideal. But it is my dream, and I will not let the light go out on it.
*Husky Harlequin is the author of the new time travel novel Time’s Alibi or The Quantum of Jazz Between the Sun and the Grave. It’s more than SciFi; it’s a political statement. Grab a copy and visit another dimension during your lunch break.