Sunday evening I had the privilege of helping with the graduation exercise at Oman Medical College (OMC) in Muscat, Oman. This year, 65 new doctors graduated from their medical program and 47 earned diplomas in pharmacy.
OMC, our sister medical college, is one of only two schools in the country that trains physicians.
The ceremony rivaled any academic event I have attended. We gathered outdoors under the stars in perfect weather. Each of the graduates wore a robe of gold and blue, signifying their connection to WVU.
The language of the ceremony was a mixture of Arabic and English, but the enthusiasm of the students and pride of the teachers and parents transcended the language barrier.
One of the highlights was a reading from the holy Quran, which was beautiful and compelling. The beauty of language shone through the ceremony.
The graduating class was largely female, in both medical and pharmacy classes.
The Dean of Medicine, Dr. Saleh Al Khusaibi, directed the program. I was inspired.
The language is different, but the feeling is the same.
Pride, bright futures, proud families, lots of pictures and joy.
Not the end, but a new beginning for these talented individuals.
They have a big job in front of them – serve a country that is changing. The four million residents – spread over a vast area -- have access to public health resources, thanks to the Ministry of Health. The natural lifespan is increasing.
Omanis are now suffering from many of the same diseases we see in West Virginia, like obesity, diabetes. They are working hard to expand their health infrastructure – building new hospitals for oncology and blood disorders and new centers of medicine.
Like us, they face economic challenges, they are learning to deal with a change in the driver of their economy as oil prices hit historic lows. Oman, like us, is trying to discover other economic sectors, like tourism and medicine.
Leaders here also agree with the West Virginians who have told me that economic development, jobs, education and health go hand in hand.
Oman and West Virginia: 7,000 miles apart but not so different after all.