Thursday, July 9, 2009

Small World: Georgetown MBS Building Named After Lebanese P.M.

As Yakov Smirnoff says, "what a country!"

Georgetown's new MBS building will be named after Rafic B. Hariri: former Lebanese Prime Minister, killed in a 2005 truck bomb attack. Boston University's School of Management is named after the late Mr. Hariri, too.

The Georgetown building's name was determined when Rafic Hariri's son, Saad Hariri, paid the $20,000,000: Georgetown price for the naming rights. Giving wealth benefactors the opportunity of seeing a particular name on a building in exchange for a sum of money is an old custom - and one which has made it a bit easier for colleges and universities to pay for new buildings.

Saad Hariri has had a connection with Georgetown for quite a while. He graduated from Georgetown with a degree in International Business back in 1992.

If the name Saad Hariri sounds familiar, it should: He's the prime minister of Lebanon now. Holding a leadership position in Lebanon was a high-risk occupation as recently as 2007, when Lebanese general Francois Hajj was killed. (December 12, 2007)

A Georgetown University Alum Makes Good, Pays to Name Building: So What?

Aside from the connection with a country in the Middle East, news in a university newspaper's blog about a new building on campus may not seem to have much to do with the war on terror.

I think that Saad Hariri's choice to put his father's name on the new home of Georgetown's McDonough School of Business is a good reminder of what sort of world we live in.

National borders are important - if only on the " 'Good fences make good neighbors' " principle. But if they were ever a barrier to communication, commerce and culture, they aren't (with some notable exceptions) now.

It's been decades since Istanbul named one of it's major traffic arteries after former president John F. Kennedy (Kennedy Caddesi).

It may be many more decades - or generations - before historians sort out the merits of Peru's President Alberto Ken'ya Fujimori. But Alberto Ken'ya Fujimori was, I think, important as an indication of how 'nationality' isn't the comparatively rigid concept it once was.

After a Japanese-Peruvian president, a Georgetown U. building named after a Lebanese prime minister - by the P.M.'s son, who is also a Georgetown graduate - could be taken an indication of just how close the rest of the world is: no matter where you live.

Related posts: News with a view: Background:
A tip of the hat to markstoneman on Twitter for the heads-up on the Georgetown U. building name.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.