On Tuesday my last spring semester class on “Resolving the Crisis in Syria” came to an end. For twelve weeks, I and fourteen classmates in our lifelong learning program had sought a way to end the complicated war in Syria.
In the first six weeks, we studied the issues—Jihadism, Oil, Sunni-Shia Sectarianism, U.S.-Russian Relations and Kurdistan and Turkey. In the second six weeks, we each took on a role in the drama—Erdogan, Putin, Khameni, Assad, Trump, Baghdadi, etc. With my German last name, I was a natural for the role of Angela Merkel.
We each gave reports on our country’s relations with the others and its stake in the conflict. In the last two classes, we tried to work out a solution.
We had some good ideas about a path to peace and believe there is a good chance that the fighting will end in the next few months. But I can’t say for sure.
What I can say is that I have never been so engaged in a class. I subscribed to “Google Alerts” and read every article in which “Merkel” and “Syria” appeared together. Although I never learned the real names of my classmates, when I see them in the hall, they are Putin or Trump or Erdogan.
Und ich bin Angela.