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Reflection on Guest Speaker

Reflection on Guest Speaker (Fadi Yarak)
American University of Beirut
Educ 292
Written for: Dr. Najla Bashour
Sophia Arianna Chokr
Fadi Yarak has been working in the ministry of education for eleven years. He currently holds
the title of director general of education. For the presentation Mr. Yarak brought his assistant
along (though I did not note her name down) who interfered with the presentation a surprising
amount. Mr. Yarak explained the official strategies documents created by the ministry of
education and higher education in 2010. He went on to point out many issues that have stood in
the way of progress (refugee situation specifically).
Mr. Yarak presentation was helpful but not in the way he intended. Since we had already studied
the official strategies, this section of the presentation did not yield much usefulness for me. Mr.
Yarak showed thorough understanding of the strategies and of the issues that stand in the way of
progress (including politics) though he appeared to lack the creativity and enthusiasm to suggest
solutions. Mr. Yarak provided insight into the ministry, not just by the information he explicitly
provided but by the nature of his responses to the questions why asked. Most of our questions
were about the current state of the ministry’s attempts to improve the situations. His answers to
these questions were vague and he often resorted to praising the questions without actually
providing direct answers.
I feel that this session would have been improved if Mr. Yarak spent more time in the class with
us (as many questions were still being asked even in his final moments). As mentioned above,
the review on strategies was unnecessary and non-beneficial. Lastly, it was mentioned that
normally other guests are usually invited during the semester, I think that the comparison
between the different guests would have given Mr. Yarak’s presentation more importance. It was
also said that a trip to the ministry was in debate, I think this would have provided even more
insight though it may have limited the critical nature of our questions. Ideally, in addition to the
trip we would get the chance to speak to Mr. Yarak alone for questions.