The Doha Exper­i­ment: Arab King­dom, Catholic Col­lege, Jew­ish Teacher

  • From the Publisher
March 29, 2018

A Jew­ish guy walks into a fun­da­men­tal­ist Arab coun­try to teach Amer­i­can pol­i­tics at a Catholic col­lege,” is how Gary Wasser­man begins his book. The deci­sion to head to Qatar to teach Amer­i­can Gov­ern­ment at George­town Uni­ver­si­ty’s Doha cam­pus sounds ques­tion­able at best. It is four years after 9/11, dur­ing the Iraq war and Israel’s con­flict with Lebanon. Rel­a­tives, only half-smil­ing, assure him they will recite the mourn­er’s kad­dish if needed.

When he first arrives in Doha, Gary keeps his faith to him­self. Yet who he is proves too impor­tant. It becomes a vital part of why he spent eight years teach­ing in Qatar, teach­ing stu­dents who nev­er met a Jew. Issues arise – from Jew­ish pow­er” in Amer­i­ca, to coun­ter­ing con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about Zion­ism, to stu­dents vis­it­ing Israel in defi­ance of the Arab boycott.

Yet there are sim­ple sto­ries born in the inti­ma­cy of the class­room that allows can­did exchanges with Mus­lim youth strug­gling to find their place in con­flict­ing worlds. Under­ly­ing them is one man’s jour­ney of learn­ing and change, offer­ing insights, humor, and hope.

Discussion Questions