I think of Waqas, for example, young man from Southern Punjab which is an area of poverty that has also become a hotbed of militancy. Waqas started a pre-med program in Karachi but after a few months he correctly discerned that his heart was in the Social Sciences. He was in my World Religions class and became fascinated with the Sufi poetry indigenous to his region. This gave him language to process many of the ideas he was learning from a liberal arts education and to communicate them back to his family. Waqas is now finishing his MA in London, writing a thesis that explores and translates one of the most important poets from his region. His dream is to complete a doctorate and teach somewhere like FCC, or perhaps even closer to home.
We also remember a close friendship with Naseer, a Christian student who recently completed his master’s degree in the Center for Public Policy and Governance. He is from a lovely village about 2 hours from Lahore which is surrounded by expansive rice fields, but unfortunately one that has experienced first-hand the complex issues of poverty and religious discrimination. Through his friendship, Brooke and I were able to interact with people whose lives are being improved through the education Naseer has received and they are growing in the ability to organize, advocate, and express views with greater confidence. By teaching at FCC, we were directly involved in supporting and equipping future leaders who are increasingly able to address the complex issues, such as economic development and minority rights, that are of the greatest importance in Pakistan and beyond.
But life at FCC is not all about work. We also regularly recall how much we enjoyed celebrating the holidays with our host friends and family in Lahore. The Tebbes hosted wonderful Thanksgiving dinners, and of course we will never forget the annual Dubash family Christmas feast! Students also came by singing Christmas carols and we will always cherish the warmth and friendship we experienced, even as we so missed being away from our loved ones in the US.
As we settle back in to life in America, we do with a profound gratitude for the opportunity to experience life in Pakistan and with the Forman family. We continue in our respective careers, teaching school and university, with an enriched perspective, and also with a lasting commitment to share these memories and to champion the many purposes that are uniquely brought together in this “good old college.”