Islam- Interfaith Series- Article #1

It’s Term 3 and we are nearing the half way point in our journey.  One thing about this program that I love is how we’ve all been able to learn from each on so many different aspects.  It’s not just when someone raises their hand in class to share something, but conversations at dinner or breakfast, or even a crazy taxi ride.  Some of those conversations relate to business or skills we’re learning in our MBA, and some just have to do with learning more about people.

In CCL we learn about economic, social, and political tensions in each region we visit.  Something I’ve noticed is that no matter where you go religion in a given region, or even lack of religion, plays a role in each of the three tensions.  Because of the unique framework of the CCMBA and the diverse class we have a wonderful opportunity to ask and answer questions about a topic that is often avoided in a business setting, but undoubtedly plays a role…religion.

Our classmate Andy Domenico hosts an Interfaith dinner at each residency, and I had the opportunity to join while we were in Dubai.  The dialogue and discourse of all the different faiths is amazing.  Just at our dinner table alone we had Jews, Muslims, Catholics, Protestants, Sikhs, Hindus, and Buddhists.  I am firmly convinced that if 20 or more of the CCMBA class can sit around and share each other’s faiths calmly then there is some hope out there for the rest of the world to do the same.

With that in mind I reached out to some of our classmates to see if they would share some information about their religion with the class.  What I think we’ll all see with this series is that there is so much we all have in common.  No matter where you go, no matter what your beliefs, we can all learn a little bit from each other.

To start off we have Tarick Gamay sharing with us about Islam.

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CCL Case Study – Contrast in Governance – China v/s US

As I am going through the CCL material esp the blog about China there are several valid questions being asked about what the future holds for China and would widening economic gap in society necessitate political shift? Or would the desire to bring liberalization in financial sector to sustain current rate of growth demand transparency in government? There are also comparisons drawn to chinese system v/s the west , most notably US that China is trying to surpass. And I couldn’t help but think about the efficiency, democracy in US has helped bring about in areas such as energy and infrastructure spending where china seem to be happy to take the lead.

Last year, as I watched endless hours of debate and ugly campaigns on channels like Fox and MSNBC, one of the messages that political pundits were spreading that caught my imagination was the desire of the American people to have different parties control the legislative and the executive branch of the government. And so midterms have come and gone, but I am still thinking about this theory of Checks and Balances.

The republican and the democratic party represent 2 distinct ideologies in this country. The theory of having different parties in control the legislative and executive arm of the government originates from the argument that having one party in overall control would drag the country into a single ideological extreme. Diversifying philosophies on Capital Hill  is, in and of itself, a checks and balances process to prevent one majority overruling the other – and maintain the ideological center of the country. While this argument may be well formed, one needs to evaluate the price the country really pays to maintain this ideological center in terms of solving some of the pressing economic and social problems.

I believe that our representatives may come from different fiscal and social school of thoughts but their vision for the country is not overall very different. What actually prevents American people from seeing that vision realized for either of the parties is this division of power where compromise is what we-the American people get if any thing at all. Unfortunately compromise often is also the worst solution for a given problem. Five years ago my brother was weighing options to give a boost to his career; attending graduate school was one of the option. There was a liberal argument in his head that was asking him to forgo the wages for 2 years, invest in education and reap rewards through better career prospects 2 years later. The conservative argument in his head was to held on to the job he had and grow in it in 2 years while continue to earn. Halfheartedly he decided to attend the graduate school but then dropped out midway into the program – he did not get the degree that could he put on his resume and reap the rewards but he did end up owing $30K in student loans in the process. A loose example but this is what compromise in DC looks like these days – a watered down, half baked policy that doesn’t bring the benefits its supposed to but usually ends up costing the same to the taxpayers.

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