Books for Syrian Universities – Mr. Haytham Abed

I just received the following kind letter from Haytham Abed. This is the first time I have heard from him. He refers to this story: Syria's Private Universities, written in 2007. I salute him for his initiative and philanthropy. What a wonderful idea. Thank you, Mr. Abed.

From: Haytham Abed
Sent: Sunday, June 29, 2008
To: Landis, Joshua M.
Subject: Thank you

Dear Prof. Landis:

For the past few years I have enjoyed your regular mail, comments, reporting, current Syrian news analysis and book reviews. Your honest views are refreshing.

One particular article you sent me about your visit, last July, to Kalamoon University changed my life. It made me proud and a better person. In that article you talked about the university library with no reference books.  I contacted Dr. Sami Moubayed and offered him my book collection (about 450 books all in English) covering the M.E., World history and current affairs.

Also, I offered to supply the university with text and reference books. Dr. Moubayed came back with a list of what the university needs and I was able to send them a total of 2000 books covering Chemistry, Physics, Algebra, Psychology, Economics, Accounting, Management, Business Law, Marketing, Calculus, Sociology, History , Political Science, Government, English Literature, Art, Medical, Computer Science..etc.

The books arrived last month at the university. Now, I am working with several professors from different universities around the US to collect books and send them to different private uni. in Syria including Kalamoon. All that because of your article. Thank you Joshua!

With my best regards,
Haytham H. Abed

Comments (35)

Amr T said:

This is awesome. Just few days ago I was discussing a similar idea with some friends. The idea was to buy books from and ship them to Universities in Syria on the cheap.

In order to do so we would buy older editions (slightly used) but well-established university textbooks.

Here is an example of how we want to do it:

The famous textbook “Calculus” by James Stewart is selling for $90 for the current 6th edition. It is also selling for $0.99+ shipping ($3.99) for the older yet almost the same 4th edition!

Bottom line is that for $400 we can by around 100 well established textbooks used allover American Universities.

20 people at $100 each can send around 500 books. If anyone would like to join our little project he/she can drop me a line.

June 30th, 2008, 6:56 am


Amr T. said:

This is awesome. Just few days ago I was discussing a similar idea with some friends. The idea was to buy books from and ship them to Universities in Syria on the cheap.

In order to do so we would buy older editions (slightly used) but well-established university textbooks.

Here is an example of how we want to do it:

The famous textbook “Calculus” by James Stewart is selling for $90 for the current 6th edition. However it is also selling for $0.99+ shipping ($3.99) for the older yet almost the same 4th edition!

Bottom line is that for $400 we can buy around 100 well established textbooks used allover American Universities.

20 people at $100 each can send around 500 books. If anyone would like to join our little project he/she can drop me a line.

June 30th, 2008, 6:57 am


ausamaa said:


Are you trying to say that a University that charges SP 80,000 per semester needs Financial Help? Was the feasibility study wrong or is it profit maximaization now?

I would rather donate those books and much more to a cash-starved public institiution rather than to one that charges a fees of $1300 per semester and pays its proffessors only $1200 per month (which is “much” higher than they get at a State university!!!!!). Anyway, such solicitations and acceptance of donations will reflect negatively on the “image” of the Uninversity; what if the students go home and say: Dady, the liberary is full of hand me down books, imagine!!!

I am paying the equivelant of US$ 13,000++ for my eleventh grade daughter in Kuwait, perhaps that is why I think negatively of Private Education in this area!!

That is Free Capitalisem…for some.


June 30th, 2008, 9:22 am


norman said:

the us economy is in trouble and we are losing deals to India ,

India’s BHEL wins 20.8 bln rupee thermal power contract from Syrian government
06.30.08, 7:45 AM ET

MUMBAI (Thomson Financial) – India’a largest heavy electrical equipment maker Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL) said it won a 20.8 billion rupee turnkey contract for setting up a 400 mega watt thermal power project in Syria.

BHEL said Syria’s public establishment of electricity for generation and transmission (PEEGT) and ministry of electricity placed the order for the Tishreen thermal power plant extension and that this represents BHEL’s entry in Syrian power sector.

The project will be executed by the company over 33 months, it added.


June 30th, 2008, 1:16 pm


Joshua said:

Ausamaa habibi, I see your nationalism doesn’t extend to Syria’s private universities.

Let me make the case for them.

First we must begin with the problem of trying to give money or books or an educational deal to Syria’s public universities, which in theory is an excellent idea. I commend you for the spirit behind your criticism, but the reality is that Syria’s public universities are so mired in bureaucratic red tape and government meddling that they cannot accept help from outside sources. This generalization is too broad, no doubt, but here is my experience.

In 2005, I visited the president of Damascus university with Mohammad al-Hawary, the University Oklahoma’s superb Abrabic professor. We wanted to establish an exchange program with Dam. U. OU’s exchange program is a total give away to DU. Students pay the fees of their home university to go to the university of their exchange partner, i.e. Syrian student’s will pay about $200 to attend the University of Oklahoma, which has a superb medical school, engineering college, and one of the finest Energy Centers in the land for learning petroleum engineering, etc.

The only real cost to the Syrian student would be travel, room and board. This is expensive for a Syrian, something in the area of 7,000 for a year. But living in Norman, Oklahoma is probably as inexpensive as one can get in the US. Foreign students pay $150 a month to share an OU apartment! Try to do that in Europe.

Damascus University ultimately turned our offer down. The reasons given were two: it was too expensive and would create inequality among Syrian students (the president said Syrians students would not go on the program); the year abroad program did not grant a degree and therefor the Syrian students would have to repeat the year on their return to Damascus, because state law compels them to take every course offered in the curriculum.

I suspected that the last complaint was the real one. I suggested that the president could change this requirement. He explained that he could not as it was law passed by the Syrian parliament.

At any rate, we worked very hard to impress the president with our program and the benefits we had to offer Syrian students, but the answer was no.

That is why I was so impressed with the private universities. Their administrators were excellent and said “yes,” immediately. We have been corresponding ever since. The only problem is with OU. Our legal department refuses to OK our students to study officially in Syria because of State Department warnings about how unsafe Syria is, which, of course is outrageous hypocrisy, because we have a great programs in Turkey and Jordan, where American officials have actually been killed by terrorists. But American hypocrisy is not the point of this response, the inability of Syrian universities to accept good deals is the point.

Ausamaa, try to donate books or anything else to a Syrian state university and see how successful you are. I challenge you.

Yes, Syrian private universities are for profit, which I admit poses philosophical problems, but on the whole they are well run and staffed by extremely accomplished people who are trying to do good as well as make a reasonable salary. (Neither of which seems to happen at public universities anymore)

The public relations and outreach person at Kalamoon is none other than Duraid Lahham’s son!! He was totally charming and helpful. I called him on his cell in the evening when he was at a dinner party. He left the table to take my call and set me up for a visit to his university and was completely helpful — and funny to boot — even though I had disturbed him at dinner.

It was not long before I realized that doing business with the private universities was going to be a totally different experience. They invited me to give lectures, at which I was free to say what I wanted about Syria’s past.

An administrator at Damascus University invited me to give a lecture, but later said I could not because the mukhabarat had refused me permission to talk publicly at the University – this was after I had gone through laborious steps to provide copies of my passport and fill out forms, etc. The private universities never asked me for any persopal information and did not check with the mukhabarat before I gave my lectures there.

I could go on but I won’t because my blood pressure is already going through the roof. I commend you for your support of State Universities. I have tried to support them, but could not get anyone to accept my offers.

June 30th, 2008, 3:14 pm


trustquest said:

I applaud Mr. Haytham for his kindness. I wonder if the time is ripe to do donation since a lot of Syrians around the world have a lot resources, but at least they should be recognized for that. I would like to know from Mr. Sami Mobayed if the university will have the courage to put a big picture to Mr. Haytham Abed in the halls of the university as a gratitude for his contribution to the benefit of the Syrian public. Alas the Dictator domination is too great to allow space for others; I hope things will start changing soon.
Joshua, I did not see your comment when I placed mine.
Thank you

June 30th, 2008, 3:45 pm


ausamaa said:


I know my comment was harsh and Synical, and I know that Dr. Al Abed action is to be commended of course, but when the discussion gets to justifying Private Schools here or Famouse Doctors and Expensive Hospitals, it hits a nerve here, and one thing comes to mind: Money! The purpose is purely Money. This is a commercial enterpeise end of a story. And if that commercial enterprise was not wise enough to start on the right footing by providing a well-stocked Liberary, then I know something is amiss. What would you think if you were asked to donate Law Books to the Law School of George Washington University?

To me, the purpose here is purely Money. Of course there are many mays to make money and those are some of the good ones, but again, it is Money. Those are primarily commercial enterpeise (though with a “noble” cause) filling a gap in the market, end of a story.I would love to see the Financial Statements for such enterprises if even for their First or Second operating year. I would love to check thier IRR and their NPV projections. And to buy shares in them when they go public.

Thanks for your lengthy explanation which I understand and fully agree with. But my point is more sinister than it sounded: You come up with an “patriotic” idea that you want better education for Syrians, supported of course by a sound economic feasibility study to raise financing, and you have either out of economic aspirations or a miscalculation start collecting high fees (never mind if the parents are rich or not) and then you “suddenly” notice that the University Liberary does not have in its Liberary the books or reference books that are needed to justify the fees (i.e. higher quality education). Now, You tell me what is going on? Your plan gone wrong? You are merely giving the appearance of providing better quality education while you are more focused on a western-looking nicer campus, higher fees and prestiege? You can not afford to do something right from the begining; do not do it. Especially when the claim to “excellence” and “distinction” is your major marketing tool.

It is not that you are asking Chicago University to help you financially in erecting an accelarator tunnel! Or a state of the art Research Lab. It is a basic liberary you lack not something big.

Nevermind, just take this as an opinion, about Syrian ‘private’ entapernual skills at their best. YOu will see more of the same if the open-ended “life-saving” Privatization goes into high gear in Syria.

June 30th, 2008, 4:44 pm


EHSANI2 said:

Dear Dr. Landis,

I happen to serve on the Board of Trustees of a 1000-student private school in the U.S.

The school’s average tuition is close to $20,000 a year. While this seems outrageous to some, please note that some of our competitors currently charge as high as $29,000 for K through 12th grade private education.

The local public school is of course for free.

But is it?

In the area I live, the public high school finances itself with tax Dollars from the local authorities. Having studied their budget for this year, it is clear that my local public school system spends an average of $22,000 per student.

In other words, the “cost” of educating a student at the local public school exceeds what our private school “charges” in tuition.

Fully 76% of the cost of education at our school goes to pay for teacher compensation, healthcare, overtime and 401k retirement plans. The rest goes to rent, maintenance, contingencies, labs, technology upgrades, and financial aid and yes a library.

People who have never studied the balance sheets and the way schools budget are simply ill equipped to understand the complexity of both private and public education.

June 30th, 2008, 5:10 pm


ausamaa said:

Ehsani 2

Right in front of me is a PPM, now fully subscribed for a Military type boarding school in Kuwait (KEA) associated with Oak Ridge Military Accademy, N.C., USA. The financial figures are as follows: Capital: KD 5 Mil , Project Cost KD 7.55 mil, IRR 12,82 over 10 years, Avg ROA 9.2, ROE is 17.6, Payback Period 6.7 years. Profits are generated from the third operating year starting at 14% 0f Net REvenues and ending with 40% at year 8. Cash profit during the first ten years is somthing like KD 13 Mil. Considering the same, and considering that land prices in Syria is much lower than in small Kuwait. And they were projecting a very conservative 400 students in first operating year with a conservative growth YOY. So, you tell me how good the project returns are expected to be when 2 other major trading groups are now scrambling to launch other similar projects. And it is a boarding school (higher capital investment in building and a more extensive service structure than Kalamoon) and with US instructures probabely at $10000 a month and not Syrian professros at $1200 month.

Thank you

June 30th, 2008, 5:36 pm


ausamaa said:

Ehsani 2

P.S. By the way, you are completly right, people who have never never studied an Income Statement, a Balance Sheet or a Cash Flow Statement in a relevant economic sector in a given environment are ill equipped to voice an opinion regarding a school budgets, or any investment opportunity. However, I just happen to know exactly what I am talikg about here, being it happening in our environment -not in a school board in the US-, and with myself being capable not only of deciephering Financial Statements and understanding indusry/sector Financial Ratios but also very familiar with local investment risks, opportunities and expected financial rates of return in this area in the world.

Enjoy your evening

June 30th, 2008, 6:00 pm


Zenobia said:


so what is your point or the conclusion of what you presented?

June 30th, 2008, 6:17 pm


Amr T. said:

Both Josh and Ausamma are correct in their statements. It’s troubling to see that none of the newly opened universities are none-for-profit. However it remains important to set a good standard of how a university library should be equipped in order to have others follow suite. Any volunteers to support our little project (see my very first comment)?

June 30th, 2008, 6:19 pm


Zenobia said:

I don’t think it is that easy and simple to create a library. Libraries (even private ones) yes- have to start out with some acceptable resources if you are opening a university but… many university libraries in the United States took years to accumulate a good collection. They add to it over time.
i think the Harvard Libraries (which are gigantic) took a few hundred years to get like that.

Anyhow, they have a donation org in San Francisco where they take all kinds of used books and business books and send them to China. China has a lot of money… but they still need books.
who doesn’t need free books. Besides, maybe they are going to get things they don’t already have. It is not like there is some set finite collection that is predetermined. You start with the most definitive curriculum based books – the standard reads- and you build from there.
also, nowadays, the most important thing is the online databases.

June 30th, 2008, 6:31 pm


ausamaa said:


The point is that when you invite Nicole Kidman (or Tom Hanks) to dinner, you dont ask your friends to chip in for your tab, neither you take her out to an Applebee’s. If you can not afford the bill, either you dont go out with the rich at all, or you make sure that you are “well-equiped” to do it in the first place.

You dont wear a Francesco Smalto suit to impress someone and wrap a deal with them, and then accept pocket money for the meeting’s coffee from a donner on the way to the meeting!

This a money making excersis that should have the foresight to support itself before inception, not put itself in the “nobel” position of complaining about needs, or soliciting/recieving donations to further a higher cause (directed at the rich too in this case!!). Unless such support/solicitation was in the plan since day one.

June 30th, 2008, 6:35 pm


norman said:


Is there a way to make donation to Syrian education institution Tax deductible.

June 30th, 2008, 6:36 pm


ausamaa said:

And Zenobia,

After seeing how sharp your claws were during the last two days on the economy issue; if you like, I can take back every word I said here rather than being subjected to your well pointed remarks and responses.

Please take this as a compliment.

June 30th, 2008, 6:40 pm


EHSANI2 said:


No. The recepient has to have a US not-for-profit tax Id code

June 30th, 2008, 6:43 pm


Zenobia said:

ahhhh commmmon..! don’t give me a hard time… : )

I will try to be a more congenial person from now on, but I can’t promise it will work.

June 30th, 2008, 6:43 pm


Joshua said:

Carnegie libraries are libraries which were built with money donated by Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. More than 2,500 Carnegie libraries were built, including those belonging to public and university library systems. Carnegie earned the nickname Patron Saint of Libraries.

Of the 2,509 libraries funded between 1883 and 1929, 1,689 were built in the United States, 660 in Britain and Ireland, 156 in Canada, and others in Australia, New Zealand, Serbia, the Caribbean, and Fiji. Very few towns that requested a grant and agreed to his terms were refused. When the last grant was made in 1919, there were 3,500 libraries in the United States, nearly half of them paid for by Carnegie.

In the early 20th century, a Carnegie library was the most imposing structure in hundreds of small American communities from Maine to California. Most of the library buildings were unique, displaying a number of different Beaux-Arts and other architectural styles, including Italian Renaissance, Baroque, Classical Revival and Spanish Colonial. Each style was chosen by the community and was typically simple and formal, welcoming patrons to enter through a prominent doorway, nearly always accessed via a staircase. The entry staircase symbolized a person’s elevation by learning. Similarly, outside virtually every library was a lamppost or lantern to symbolize enlightenment.

The first of Carnegie’s public libraries opened in his hometown, Dunfermline, Scotland, in 1883. As with most of the others, Carnegie’s name did not appear on the building. Rather, he had a motto — “Let there be light” — inscribed over the entrance. His first library in the United States was built in 1889 in Braddock, Pennsylvania, home to one of the Carnegie Steel Company’s mills. The last public library funded through Carnegie’s generosity was the Wyoming Branch, completed in 1930 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At 231 East Wyoming Avenue, it continues as an active branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia.[1]

June 30th, 2008, 6:45 pm


ausamaa said:

Zenobia, …tell me about it!

June 30th, 2008, 6:46 pm


Qifa Nabki said:


Good move. That should spare you, I would guess. 😉

But my oh my the abbreviations and acronyms are a bit too much to keep up with.

Joshua, what, by the way is the ROA and ROE of SC these days? Mind you I find myself expecting at least a 12.17 WQV, this despite an increase of 67.42 EET on an initial investment of 503 (LBD, pegged to TAC), so heaven knows that’s not too much to ask. Still, if the QRV rates are spread out over 18.6 years, we may be able to attract an additional net average TA2-7ANAK of 20.5, which I think would be good.

Martinis, anyone?

June 30th, 2008, 6:59 pm


EHSANI2 said:


Based on the data that you provided, I would love to buy into an IPO should that materialize. Please keep us posted

June 30th, 2008, 7:04 pm


ausamaa said:


Thanks. I have to know who NOT to fool with.

June 30th, 2008, 8:03 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

My friend Norman;
if you want to donate tax deductable money,the answer is one of two ways;
1) talk to your church or similar institute in your area,donate to them, and have them send it to the place you want.
2) donate half the amount and do not count it from tax.

June 30th, 2008, 8:48 pm


ugarit said:

EHSANI2: You need to be aware that public school are obligated to teach everyone and anyone, private schools have no such obligation. Private schools are selective by design and public schools are not, and also by design.

I do hope you realize the implication of what I had just written.

Here’s a reality check on your claim of $22,000 per student in your area, where ever that is.

The highest is just over 14,000. I agree it’s four years old but it can’t be that off. I checked the area I live in and it’s very close to next years budget.

June 30th, 2008, 9:39 pm


Honest Patriot said:

Please forgive the sidebar comment below; not quite to topic here but significant (I think) nonetheless:

From Naharnet

(…)Hizbullah will hand over a report which is said to detail the organization’s efforts to obtain information on Arad.
In exchange, Haaretz said, Israel will offer Hizbullah a report on the fate of four Iranian diplomats kidnapped and murdered during the Lebanon war in the 1980s.(…)

Henceforth let’s call HA Hizbiranollah

Not that the fate of the Iranian diplomats should not be disclosed (and it’s a shame on all those who were involved in such actions to have stooped to such low levels of human depravity to attack diplomats) but the irony here is — and I guess it’s not surprising — is how HA so blatantly represents the interests of Iranians while the fate of many Lebanese who disappeared when Lebanon was under Syrian control continues to be unknown and uncared for.

June 30th, 2008, 9:54 pm


norman said:

Thank you Ehsani and Majed.

July 1st, 2008, 2:30 am


EHSANI2 said:


I don’t throw numbers around unless I know what I am talking about.
The reality check is yours to read below. Note that my town is just below the highest mentioned below.

You can apologize if you would like.

Gross Expenditures Per Pupil/

Instructional Costs Per Pupil

You don’t need an MBA to know that more school money means more and better educational resources, higher teachers’ salaries (and, in theory, better teachers), more bucks for extracurricular activities; in short, more of everything. But there are plenty of factors that determine how much cash is actually spent in the classroom. Big school districts enjoy certain economies of scale over small districts, especially regarding administrative costs. A compact district where most students walk to school might spend less of its budget on transportation; construction of a new school wing might cause more of the school budget to be eaten by debt service.

For these reasons, we list two per-pupil expenditure figures. The first is the broadest possible measure of spending—think of it as the “everything-and-the-kitchen-sink” number. The second reflects the amount of money actually spent on instruction and support, not only teachers’ salaries and books, but also teachers’ aides, guidance counselors, after-school clubs, etc.

And? The three top-spending districts (on a gross basis)—Briarcliff ($24,738), North Salem ($24,486), and Bronxville ($24,068)

“EHSANI2: You need to be aware that public school are obligated to teach everyone and anyone, private schools have no such obligation. Private schools are selective by design and public schools are not, and also by design.

I do hope you realize the implication of what I had just written.”

Would someone please help me understand what this means?

July 1st, 2008, 3:20 am


Honest Patriot said:

Off topic again (maybe I should be banned :-)) but wait till you read my point #2 before rebelling:

1- Well, seems like Gemayel had the same thought…
Gemayel Urges Government to Settle Detainee Issue —
Former President Amin Gemayel on Monday urged the government to settle the issue of Lebanese prisoners held in Syrian jails.
Gemayel, nevertheless, lamented the absence of the government on the prisoners swap deal between Israel and Hizbullah.
After congratulating the families of Lebanese prisoners whose release is expected soon, Gemayel hoped that the issue of detainees in Syrian jails would also be settled.
“We hope this will be a new chapter and that the prisoners in Syrian jails are freed,” Gemayel told a news conference at the Phalange Party headquarters in Saifi.
He regretted that a significant prisoner swap has taken place between Hizbullah and Israel independent of Lebanese authorities.
Gemayel called on the government to “exercise all its powers” to free Lebanese detainees in Damascus, adding that this is “one gateway to healthy relations” between Lebanon and Syria.
Beirut, 30 Jun 08, 20:49

2- Hmm… President B. Al-Assad is looking better and better. Maybe Alex was right all along. Or, are we (am I) just under the step-function influence of the Syrian first lady, seeing everything through the prism of her (silent) elegance? I hope not. If indeed Al-Assad had nothing to do himself with the Hariri assassination and was just navigating the tumultuously dangerous waters of the crazy middle east politics, maybe he will end up with an impressive positive place in history. Too soon to tell.
Assad for Speedy Lebanese Cabinet Formation
Syrian President Bashar Assad has called for the speedy formation of a national unity cabinet in Lebanon and the implementation of the Doha accord.
Lebanon’s “national unity government should be quickly formed,” Syria’s state-run news agency SANA quoted Assad as saying during talks with visiting Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere.
Assad also called for “the implementation of the Doha agreement,” which ended Lebanon’s political crisis, SANA said.
He described the situation in the Middle East as “positive” and said there is a need to give a “push for ongoing (peace) talks.”
He urged inter-Palestinian accord because he said “it would be difficult to make any positive step forward in the Palestinian issue without national unity.”
In his turn, Stoere “lauded Syria’s positive role and efforts in finding solutions to all Middle East issues,” SANA said.
He praised the Turkish-brokered indirect talks between Israel and Syria as a “courageous” step that requires the contribution of all parties.
Beirut, 01 Jul 08, 05:11

July 1st, 2008, 9:37 am


ugarit said:

EHSANI2: you wrote “Having studied their budget for this year, it is clear that my local public school system spends an average of $22,000 per student.”

apparently an incomplete statement. Thank you for completing it.

July 1st, 2008, 1:47 pm


EHSANI2 said:

I stand by my statement. What is incomplete about it? The range in schools can be as high as $10,000 per student. Looking at the median hides the viariability. My district spends $22,000. You doubted my number. I have showed you that some spend as much as $24,738. You opined that it cannot possibly be much different than your $14,000 number and that the $22,000 was too high. Since you are good at digging your school’s data, look up Westchester county in NY state. Once you are done with your research, come back and show that I am wrong. If I were you, I would not waste my time.

July 1st, 2008, 2:52 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

If Israel want to attack Iran,soon, they will not be talking about it now.
Question, anyone knows who assign the members of the constitution court in Turkey?

July 1st, 2008, 3:38 pm


Alex said:


“Or, are we (am I) just under the step-function influence of the Syrian first lady”

“step-function” influence? : )

Glad to find a fellow engineer here … among all the Mds and historians.

July 1st, 2008, 3:47 pm


Alex said:

Last year Mr. Fares Attar, Syria’s consul general in Montreal showed me a list of over 3000 books that he managed to get as donations from two Montreal Universities to some Syrian University. I’ll try to ask him where they went (University of Damascus?)

I hope any Syrian ambassador or consul general in Europe or the North America can try the same through his/her contacts with local academic institutions… it is really not that difficult.

At a time when the American administration is making it difficult to equip the labs of Syrian schools and universities with high-tech teaching facilities, at least we can try to send them old fashioned books …. before those are also added to the list of economic sanctions.

July 1st, 2008, 4:02 pm


Khalil Semaan, Ph.D said:

Enriching the Libraries of Syrian Private and Public universities requires first and formost the pro-active participation of not only the Ministry of Higher Education but also that of Foreigh Affairs. Simply stated, there must be clear instructions from and to the two Ministries to expedite the accepting of a usable gift and, Foreign Affairs to direct the Consular Services abroad to arrange the acquisition of the Export Lic. and the arrangement for shipping the materials at Gov. expenses, e.g., the Syrian Cultural Attache in the country of the donor examines immediateltly the gift, determines the books usable at Syrian institutions and arrange for the shipping co. used by the Embassy of Consulate to pic up the gift and carries it to Syria.
WHY THE CONSULAR SERVICE? because they know how the get the “Export” documents fast…

The above is just a suggestion: I offer it because I have learned recently of the loss to our motherland of a very valuable collection of books. That collection was offered to a Syrian-American Association who had pledged to send it to their ancestery’s home in Syria FOUR years ago; iot was approved by the Syrian Ministry of Education THREE years ago; and it is still the subject of bargaining among the members of that Syrian American association on whether it is desirable to spend the mooney on books or other town projects, e.g, garbage collecting, Park reviving, etc…

PS. Thus, after 4 years of futile e.mails and telephone calls and letters, the donor decided to donate his collection to both his own university libarary and the Library of one of New York States top Private Universities.

July 24th, 2008, 6:25 pm


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