Sunday, April 09, 2006

RISE Symposium, Dayton, OH, March 2006 + Robert Fisk @ MIT

Bismillah Arrahman AlRaheem: In the Name of Allah The Most Beneficient The Most Merciful

Salamz to all after weeks away,

This is a very long post, so fasten your seatbelts, kick back and enjoy. :)

Yes another week of hell, Spring semester is always like this.. Overworked and underpaid and too much happeneing to put your priorities on the school work. Long weekends, spring break, guest speakers, fashion shows, culture shows, dances etc.

One of the greatest articles I have read about Saudi Arabia and our King Abdullah may Allah guide him to the best path..

I also attended a talk by a Holocaust survivor which was greatly inspiring, and I got a picture with him (at the bottom)

It is tough to keep up especially in beantown, the world capital of education.

That reminds me I haven't really pitched Boston, or BU yet, and I think I might as well do it.

I honestly do believe that this place is the only place to go to school, unless you get into a top 5 school in another country or the west coast. But this place was made for school for several reasons:

1- Significance in American history (Plymouth Rock in Mass is where the English first arrived here).
2- First public school (Boston Latin School), First university in the US and most of the developed world (Harvard University)
3- Large number of universities, schools, and research institutions
4- Large number of museums, historic sites, and cultural venues
5- Student discounts
6- Your ability to attend lectures by world-renowned speakers at Harvard, MIT, BU, etc.

Then there's BU, my lovely school which I'm enjoying so much more than I did in previous years. But that will have to wait for a different post because i'm writing about OHIO.. (yes I have some ADHD).

So the conference was Amazing, I loved every moment I spent. I met at least 70 students, professors, professionals, and students from all over the US and the world.

So this is the basic breakdown of what happened:

We left Boston approximately 6 pm after meeting up, getting a bite and headed for Philadelphia (Yeah Will Smith!) and stopped in the airport for about an hour. Then we flew to Dayton, Ohio. When we arrived to the hotel, we unpacked washed up, and went to the restaurant on the top of the hotel (there was some jazz music, not bad) which I ended up visiting the next two nights since I don't go to bars. After that it was sleep to get ready for the first day.

We got dressed (I woke up sooo early) and headed for the buses. Over the 3 days we met people in the hotel, on the bus, in the lectures and pretty much anywhere related to the conference. Thursday was the main lecture day where the renowned speakers that UD got for the conference spoke. These included: Jim Rogers (MY NEW ROLE MODEL IN LIFE:, Merill Lynch Chief Strategy Officer, Elaine Garzarelli, and numerous other inspiring individuals. There were a couple of snooze sessions where we caught almost everyone around us sleeping. I asked a question to one of the panels, and after the lecture lots of people came up to me and asked me about Aramco. Alhamdulillah, it felt good to show that Saudis were just as important and that we were a critical part of the financial world.

That night we got home somewhat dead, went to the restaurant in the hotel and chilled it till we passed out at around midnight.

Was also an early wake up for me, it's tough to wake up for fajr when there are 3 other kids in the room with you, but I managed to do so without causing too much chaos.

We got dressed and headed out to Day 2 of rise, the one with the specific finance sessions we'd registered for. We had breakfast and I met a group of South Americans including Nicolas from Colombia, and a Peruvian girl. They were nice enough to humor me and listen to my poor attempts at practicing Spanish, but they were nice. Nicer than the PuertoRicans at BU at least.. :)..

After breakfast we broke out into the different sessions and attended our first session. Throughout Friday I learned so much about finance, more than anything I learned at school because it was coming from specific industry leaders that did this everyday. And all of them were from the top firms that are portrayed in the wall street journal daily. I had mon petite pomme (my 12" powerbook) and I typed and audio recorded all the lectures Alhamdulillah. I asked a question about Islamic Finance to one of the panels (who had some top people) but no one responded with anything worthwhile, and only one of them had heard of it. I then got people coming after the talk and asking me about Islamic Finance (lool, curious Americans)..

But I promoted the Harvard Law School Islamic Finance Conference that will be held on April 21st, and that I'm volunteering at widely, and lots of American kids were excited. Specifically some African Americans who were very nice and helped me with my stuff (I still suffered from the collarbone incident).

At the lunch session we listened to Michael Oxley (the co-writer of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act that changed corporate America accounting forever!) and I got a picture with him. I also listened to and met the CEO of TD Ameritrade (America's largest online stock trading site, and asked him about expanding to Saudi someday.. :P ).

At lunch I sat with 8 students from the University of Texas at El Paso (they were all Latinos/latinas) and I got a whole different Spanish practice perspective. They were soooo nice, and we became good friends for the rest of the conference.

After the last breakout session we were invited to the US Airforce Museum for dinner. I walked around the Museum, meeting random people as I walked. Then I met Lawrence (Ohio), Virginie (France), and Edurna (Spain), we sat together at dinner as we listened to the US Secretary of Commerce speak about Iraq doing great and him buying lemonade from two young iraqi entrepreneurs in Baghdad (absolute bullshit). The whole time Virginie and I made fun of Americans (come on, the French and the Saudis get bashed all the time.. ).

After dinner, I met a whole different group of people from a university in Michigan, using my all successful ice breaker, my broken collarbone.. I did get lots of sympathy, so it was fun.. :)


Our last day where we attended two last sessions, said our goodbyes, got insane amounts of contact information (I got 70 business cards and emails by the end of the trip!). We then packed and headed to the airport where we chilled with the bentley students and some other people we met at teh conference.

The next week had a lot of events in it, not many I can recall though, other than the fact that I finally got my sling off Alhamdulillah, but during this week playing soccer I got two pulled muscles. So I'm a lot of trouble.. :P

On Sunday the 9th Robert Fisk spoke at MIT and Noam Chomsky did the introduction. The lecture was teh best lecture I've attended in my life to date. Fisk is the best journalist in the world in my opinion and he signed my book and I got a photo with him and Chomsky. I will post the link when I get it from my MIT peeps.

I will blog more often in sha Allah.. you know how school is.. :)

And here are some pictures from Ohio, and some other stuff:

-YSH ;)

Sunday, April 02, 2006

My Poetry, Ohio Recap, Back in the town of the beanz :)

Bismillah Arrahman AlRaheem: In the Name of Allah The Most Beneficient The Most Merciful

Salam All,

I'm back in Boston from Ohio, the time is 10:01 am (Daylight savings time just kicked in).

I will talk about the conference in a separate post because there's too much to say. Alhamdulillah I think it was the most stimulating and beneficial experience I've ever had.

The people I met, the professors I discussed issues with, the speakers I learned from, the professionals that taught us the hands-on components of their jobs. It was really amazing.

This coming week is going to be brutal so pray for me :)

I also wanted to share some poetry I wrote for a writing class last summer, the poems reflect different situations I'd gone through and learned from, but looking back I feel somewhat foolish, but it is the words from the heart that carry the most meaning. I'll let you be the judge.. COMMENTS PLEASE :), I'll be waiting for your input.

Age Difference

When I first laid my eyes on you,
My heart skipped a beat
I shook, not knowing what to do
Succumbing to the heat

The smile you had upon your face
Made living life worthwhile
I lay my head low in disgrace
For falling for life's guile

At first, I thought there was no chance
For us to be together
Our souls they took a different stance
To never split up, ever

Although true soul mates we'd become
It was never meant to be
The three years later I'd been born
Cast their shadows upon me

When our time to part had come
Our hearts were in denial
Life it seemed was very dumb
The tears we shed futile

Since then I thought I'd never meet
A perfect being like you
However sad that might appear
I think it might be TRUE



You smile at me, not realizing
The damage you have done
Those pretty eyes, seem child-like
You must have thought it fun

The days and nights spent at your side
Was time wasted in vain
I even thought you’d be my bride
I must have been insane

When I look back, it’s never good
Though at the time it was
My eyes had been behind a hood
To cover all your flaws

You taught me one thing, I’ll confess
For justice must be served
I learned my mind was all a mess
And loving you absurd


Hypocrite, they claimed and shouted
Judging and blaming unjustly
Yet calling THEM saints, would be coined
The world’s most absurd fallacy

Had they understood how I ticked
Their claims untrue they’d find
I thought they were the best of friends
But found out I was blind

Though harsh and snide their comments were
They did me a huge favor
They opened up my eyes to life
And magnified my fervor


-YSH ;)
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