January 8, 2019 | Katherine Adams
Eleven University of Houston-Clear Lake students and Anthropology Professors Maria Curtis and Dawit Woldu began the New Year by boarding a plane Jan. 3 to embark upon an eye-opening, two-week study trip to Oman. This is UH-Clear Lake’s fourth annual study trip to the sultanate, and includes visits to all the major historic and religious sites in Oman, excursions to major cities and mountain villages, an overnight stay in the Wahiba desert, and meetings with Omani government officials.
“One of the trip’s main learning objectives is to demonstrate that the reality in some Middle Eastern countries is far different than what Westerners believe,” said Curtis, associate professor of anthropology and cross-cultural studies. “Oman is ranked as the fourth-safest country in the world, due largely to its religiously tolerant and progressive leader, Sultan Qaboos Bin Said al Said. Oman has experienced nearly zero impact from terrorism, and it’s due to its leadership and its internal stability. It’s a conservative Muslim country, but they have a track record for tolerance, which is actually one of the core teachings of the Quran. It’s fascinating for students to see this in action.”
Students are both undergraduate and graduate majoring in programs across the entire university. From left, front row, Cassandra Carmiento, Jennifer Rodas, Curtis, Lauren Buchanan, Kelly Hornsby, Sara Ray. Back row, from left: Patricia Maldonado, Jocelyn Perez, Norma Lazo, Tri Nguyen, Jesus Mejia, Woldu and Joseph Chason.