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Bruce Bonney’s report from Beirut, Lebanon

March 27, 2010

We got out of JFK two hours late on Friday and landed in Paris with only 40 minutes before our next flight was scheduled to leave for Beirut. I figured we were ‘Toast” for sure — but we hustled through the airport and security was looking to get us though ASAP. In any event we made our flight with 2 minutes to spare – it must be some kind of record. I was really quite surprised – but glad we didn’t have to hang in the airport for an additional five hours until the next flight.

Both Cyndi and I noted right away that the military presence on the streets is significantly less than in previous trips. No troops on corners except near the house of prominent pro-Syrian ministers. That is a trade off, however with the traffic light situation. Since September they have installed fully equipped traffic lights on many of main streets in the city — and they are just as fully ignored. We went out to dinner with Nayla last night and she inadvertently trusted a red light — and we came within feet of getting t-boned. It made for an exciting evening.

Things seem to be going well over here. The folks are going to make SPEC happen at IC if at all humanly possible. People have taken up the torch where Raouf left it and are pushing forward full bore.

Wissam Kabbani has created a PowerPoint that has me quite enthused. He asked to see us at lunch today to show us this PPT of how he used a carousel in his HS Chemistry class. He really seems to have the enthusiasm and grasp of the “big picture”. He knows how to use the SPEC tools, and best of all gets results with his students in a hard Science that can be documented. He is delighted with the results of his students and he can’t wait to get them more involved using available technology to show the product of their learning. He is doing exactly what I’ve been hoping to encourage teachers to do here in the states with their SmartBoards, etc. Anyway, his “gung-ho” spirit was music to our ears.

We had five observations today and are packed solid tomorrow – each of us going to different classes up an Ain Aar. It’s going to be a long evening or two at the keyboard cranking out feedback.

We are scheduled to go out to dinner with Raouf tomorrow evening and meet with department chairs on Wednesday.

Everyone sends their regards!

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