A Unique Morning Assembly by Bill Bussey, Provost
Many Nobles community members past and present would maintain that morning assemblies are the heart and soul of their Nobles experience. At the very least morning assemblies offer a keen reflection of the school’s current tone and culture, if not in what is presented onstage but how each presentation is received. Long assemblies allow us the time for greater access and insight into the world beyond our walls. To that end, on November 12, we will hold an assembly to examine the recent events in the Gaza Strip.
Over the two weeks prior this special long assembly, the History Department will take the helm through a series of all-school presentations. History instructors including History Chair Louis Barassi, Head of School Bob Henderson, Dean of Students Marcela Maldonado, Jen Carlson and Oris Bryant will be the presenters. Our hope is that these presentations will assist all students and faculty with a better understanding of the geographic area, the different groups involved, and especially of the factual and emotional complexity involving this part of the world. It is our desire to have both students and faculty prepared to take advantage of this special all-school opportunity.
Our two guest speakers will be foreign relations expert Robert Danin and journalist Rula Jebreal. They will be available in a number of settings afterwards for follow-up questions and discussions. We will record this event for your viewing, if interested.
Robert M. Danin is the Eni Enrico Mattei senior fellow for Middle East and Africa studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. He headed the Jerusalem mission of the Quartet representative, Tony Blair, from April 2008 until August 2010. A former career State Department official with more than 20 years of Middle East experience, Dr. Danin previously served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs with responsibilities for Israeli-Palestinian issues and Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt. He also served at the National Security Council for over three years, first as director for Israeli-Palestinian affairs and the Levant and then as acting senior director for Near East and North African affairs. A recipient of the State Department's Superior Honor Award, Dr. Danin served as a Middle East and Gulf specialist on the secretary of state's policy planning staff, and as a State Department senior Middle East political and military analyst. Prior to joining the State Department, he worked as a Jerusalem-based journalist covering Israeli and Palestinian politics.
Rula Jebreal is a renowned speaker and journalist, who became not only the first foreign anchorwoman in the history of Italian television but also earned the prestigious journalism award, the International Ischia Award for Best Journalist of the Year. She is a lifelong advocate for women’s rights and civil liberties in the Middle East. Born in Haifa, Israel, Jebreal grew up in Jerusalem during the first intifada in the 1980’s. After the suicide of her mother at age 5, her father placed her sister in the care of a remarkable Palestinian woman, whom Jebreal credits with saving her life as a surrogate mother and mentor. As a woman having lived and worked in various “hot zones” (Israel, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon), and having experienced first-hand the rise of the Islamist movement and the evolution of their relations with the West, Jebreal adds a unique perspective to the socio-political dialogue surrounding the Middle Eastern conflict. Fluent in four languages, and a citizen of both the East and West, Jebreal acts as a cultural ambassador, bridging the gaps in knowledge and understanding that often hinder process and change.
Ms. Jabreal and Mr. Danin are no strangers to each other and in fact have held the stage together once before to discuss the Middle East. They are excited to get together once more and perhaps more excited to spend a day with us. They also are looking forward to having lunch with interested students, especially those from the Jewish Culture Club.
I am looking forward to this assembly as much as any that I have been a part of in all my time at Nobles. While this assembly is not open to parents, I hope you will take the opportunity to keep the conversation going at home.