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Bates in Brief World: Taking photos in the Saudi desert

What She Saw

Saudi boys cavort in the desert. Photograph by Gintare Balseviciute '13

A group of Saudi boys cavort for the camera during a desert outing. Photograph by Gintare Balseviciute ’13

The ubiquity of photography, thanks to the digital revolution, hasn’t diminished our curious fascination with one kind of camera: the pro-style, single-lens reflex camera.

That partly explains the boys’ euphoria in the photo above, taken by Gintare Balseviciute ’13 last May during a Short Term trip to Saudi Arabia.

While other students snapped away unnoticed with their pocket cameras, these boys cavorted, wrestled and posed for Balseviciute’s Canon SLR. “When they saw the Canon, it was as if they saw a Lamborghini,” Balseviciute says.

The trip to Saudi Arabia was led by Dana Professor of Anthropology Loring Danforth and largely facilitated by Leena Nasser ’12, a politics major from Dhahran.

Photograph by Ana Bisaillon '12.

A rare hijab-free mingling of the genders on the Saudi plains. Photograph by Ana Bisaillon ’12.

One excursion was to a desert farm in the Eastern Province, where the farm’s owner and family feted and entertained Danforth and the 16 Bates students.

A rare hijab-free mingling of genders on the Saudi plains.

After camel rides, live music and good food, the Bates group headed into the desert in white Toyota Land Cruisers for sand duning, followed by coffee and dates.

At the gathering, the Bates women got the OK not to wear their abayas, so the photo above, and the image at right by Ana Bisaillon ’12, also show a rare hijab-free mingling of genders on the Saudi plains. “Not only are the kids seeing Americans, they’re seeing female Americans. And they’re seeing female Americans in Western dress,” Danforth says.

For Nasser, the image conveys other meanings. “Their clothing and the space may reflect the geography, but their spirits in the picture transcend the individual cultural experience,” she says. “I see hope and potential.” — HJB


World Facts

Facebook page African Economist by Desmond Mushi ’13 got 2,000 likes in first month.

Viewers from 28 countries tuned in for the livestream of President Spencer’s installation.

Bates publishes a guidebook for students returning from off-campus study.

2013 Short Term course revisits an oral history initiative with orphans of Rwandan genocide.

“English, French nor Malagasy can describe my experience studying rare eagles on uninhabited islands.” — student in Madagascar


Unusual Fun

“Many prestigious independent schools in Britain have internships, usually linked to sport,” says Michael Bettles P’13, an administrator at Heathfield Community School, a state secondary school in Taunton, U.K. “I could see the benefits that the interns bring to those institutions, so I thought: Why should they have all the fun?”

“Why should they have all the fun?”

Thus inspired, Bettles worked with the Bates Career Development Center to grab some of the fun for Bates and his own institution. The result: performing-arts internships at the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre, affiliated with Heathfield, that were inaugurated last summer by a current Bates student and a 2012 graduate.

“This partnership is exciting because it provides a paid professional internship abroad in the arts, which is unusual,” says Nancy Gibson of the BCDC.


Bates Spoken Here

Of Bates’ approximately 24,500 alumni, about 580, or 2.4 percent, live outside the U.S. This snapshot taken right before the Mayan end of the world in December shows their numbers and countries.

79
England

67
Canada

49
Japan

23
Germany

22
France
Switzerland

21
Netherlands

15
China

14
Australia
Brazil

13
Sweden

11
India
Singapore

10
Pakistan

9
Greece
Nigeria
Spain
Thailand

8
Ecuador
South Korea

7
Italy
Turkey

6
Hong Kong
New Zealand
Vietnam

5
Cameroon
Malaysia

4
Austria
Bermuda
Israel
Mauritius
Nepal
Norway
Romania
Scotland
Zimbabwe

3
Bulgaria
Czech Republic
Jamaica
Mexico
South Africa
Sri Lanka
United Arab Emirates

2
Argentina
Bangladesh
Belgium
Costa Rica
Denmark
Egypt
Finland
Hungary
Iceland
Indonesia
Ireland
Kenya
Myanmar
Peru
Philippines
Saudi Arabia
Slovakia
Trinidad and
Tobago

1
Albania
Bahamas
Bosnia-Herzegovina
British Virgin Islands
Chile
El Salvador
French Polynesia
Georgia
Ghana
Guatemala
Jordan
Kazakhstan
Latvia
North Korea
Northern Ireland
Panama
Portugal
Russia
Scotland
Senegal
Taiwan
Tajikistan
Tanzania
Ukraine
Venezuela
West Indies
Wales
Yugoslavia



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