Readers write: Valuable college experience and tech opportunities

Letters to the editor for the Jan. 21, 2019 weekly magazine.

Molly Jackson/Christian Science Monitor
Hind Alsboul, a Jordanian freshman at Brigham Young University, sits with a copy of 'Desert Sorrows,' a book of poems written by her grandfather that has been translated into English, on campus in Provo, Utah on Oct. 5, 2018.

Valuable college experience

Regarding the Nov. 26 Heart of the News article “A conservative Christian university where Muslims feel welcome”: My experience at Brigham Young University was inspirational on so many levels. I found the cultural humility on campus to be fascinating and inviting. Through the prayer part in every class, I was given the opportunity to be connected to my faith and practice my Muslim prayer, share and explain, and be accepted. I had four qualitative evaluation courses, where studying and analyzing the Scripture (Quran for me) was an assignment. It was a unique personal educational experience. I believe that these unique practices enable the students from different religions and backgrounds to stay connected to their faith, culture, and distant world; reflect their education to their friends and family and those in their prospective careers; and connect with faculty and other students. 

As a Muslim woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints community, I have an everlasting educational experience. I don’t deny that the first few months were challenging, but I was able to thrive afterward. The family-oriented community supported me in building my family and raising open-minded children. It gave me the time and space to practice Islam freely and openly in a welcoming community, on and off the BYU campus. 

Rasha Qudisat

Amman, Jordan

Tech opportunities

As described in the Nov. 16 Monitor Daily article “Fertilize by drone, till by text: Making tech work for Africa’s farmers,” new companies believe they can make this technology available without farmers having to pay an impossible amount of money, making it an option for more people and enabling them to escape a cycle of inefficient production. This is an exciting idea given the circumstances of many farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. It’s important to look for ways to bring the future to everyone, not just those with front-row seats. 

Becky Guglin

San Jose, Calif.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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