Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
The Unitarians are more at the forefront than Friends on this initiative, however we had a number of Quakers at the Iran Forum where this proposal was floated, receiving much interest and applause. I'll give a link in the comments to my journal entry on our meeting. Portland is already sister cities with a lot of others, like Chicago is, including Sapporo (Japan) and Ashkelon (Israel).
Given my connections to higher education, I'm especially keen to share Silicon Forest curriculum writing with counterpart Iranians, starting with fundamentals, such as the Platonic Five. I'm thinking of future student-teacher exchange programs, one of the benefits of collaboration. How might we work together to make a difference, going forward? Both cities feature high tech, and roses.
I'm assuming a similar dynamic in Shiraz to Portland's: colleges and universities, along with industry, help pave the way ahead for high schools to follow, though not without competition from publishing giants such as McGraw-Hill (where I used to work). Teachers benefit from the many workshops, many going on right now, offered by schools of continuing education.
In the last week of June, I was a guest presenter at Reed College working with Saturday Academy. The latter, based on the campus of University of Portland, organizes summer camps for middle schoolers. I've worked with them before. This was another edition of what we call Martian Math in our neck of the woods. Again, I'll leave a footnote. I also think of this geometry as Quaker, with roots in New England Transcendentalism.
I should make a distinction between this new initiative vis-a-vis Iran (Persia whatever) and my earlier project to network with Turkish immersion schools and related academies (see earlier posts to QuakerQuaker).
My pilgrimage to middle America included that stop near Toledo to admire the mosque with the geodesic dome, an icon in our syllabus, along with the Norman Foster geodesic sphere restaurant in Riyadh, the Globe.
Later, I joined the education planners in St. Louis for their US Distance Learning Association annual meeting. Again, my focus was math teaching. I was working for O'Reilly School of Technology at the time, formerly Netmath, then Useractive out of Champaign-Urbana.
Some Iranian politicians and some in the Saudi family have some old feuds that most of us don't care about that much, but which may nevertheless seem confusing. How might one work with adversaries? As Friends, that's what we're good at, right?
When it comes to sharing the kind of stuff we do at Saturday Academy, I'm not aiming to play favorites. I'm a secularist when it comes to religion, meaning I get along with a lot of them and don't need to push the agenda of any one of them in particular. None of the established religions are in any immanent danger.
Anyway, I don't proselytize and would not consider myself an evangelical, even though in the Silicon Forest namespace, I am an evangelist for specific technologies. I'm hoping that helps keep these channels open. I'd like to lecture in Shiraz someday.