Been a busy couple of weeks. Condi came to visit two weeks ago, a day on which Korbel students generally made the effort to not show up to school looking like unwashed grad students living in a state which values North Face fleeces and beards above all other accoutrements. As our Director of Admissions commented, “wow, Korbel actually dressed up!”
Dr. Rice is a Korbel alum, which may be why she was so incredibly generous with her time, meeting with almost the whole list of student groups for Q&A sessions and dropping by the Pardee Center to allow us to demonstrate our awesomeness to her (she then graciously name-dropped us in the talk above). Mercifully, someone asked her about the Muammar Gaddaffi story, and we got to hear all about the epic weirdness of the former Libyan lunatic, also in the video above.
My guess is that the political sentiments of the majority of students at Korbel do not align with Condi, but by the end even the human rights students were posting on Facebook about how weird they feel for approving of things Condoleezza Rice says about education and economic development.
Next up was Madeleine Albright, another alum who visited last Friday and though less available to students (possibly because she is less mobile) she made up for it by being hilarious. Highlights of her talk included calling Kim Jong Il a pervert and doing an impression of how old men dance. Good times.
Wedged into the middle of this was Hashim Thaci, the Prime Minister of Kosovo, who came to Korbel as part of his trip to Denver to promote trade, and succeeded at least in promoting a lockdown of the Korbel building unlike anything we experienced for either Secretary of State. Official word was that this is protocol for any head of state, so far, I have no other head of state to compare with.
Thaci was a politician through and through, he’s even got a politician’s tan and pearly smile. His talk to students (and media) emphasized how independent Kosovo wants to be, how much they rely on the US, and so on. He smiled, we laughed, and then of course a good chunk of the questions focused on those pesky accusations of organ trafficking and KLA crimes, which he avoided like a pro. One girl, herself a Kosovar, rather politely accused him of clamping down on poor merchants in the north of Kosovo and running a corrupt government. Safe to say he probably wasn’t Korbel’s favorite visitor, but he was at least interesting.
We gave his delegation a presentation at the Pardee Center as well, and it was interesting to see their reactions to the population and education forecasts we were making. Thaci appeared to be zoning out at times, but his foreign and trade ministers were engaged and interested. Thankfully, they weren’t annoyed that our model still counts them within Serbia, for which we have a perfectly reasonable excuse (they haven’t yet issued any data).