I was not sure what to expect when I entered Hester for this luncheon with Rami Khouri. All I knew about him beforehand was that he is considered an expert in Middle Eastern affairs and has had an extremely successful career. However, I immediately realized that this discussion would very helpful for me. Mr. Khouri began by telling us a bit about his background, mentioning that he had studied and lived in several locations (New York, Geneva, etc.) over the years and that his previous career was as a journalist. Both of these facts immediately appealed to me, as I am a journalism major and hope to make travel an integral facet of my future career and my life in general.
Not only were Mr. Khouri’s life experiences very similar to my future goals; his advice was also invaluable. His first major recommendation to us was to always pursue what we are passionate about. When it comes down to it, passion and excellence will make you stand out from the crowd. Academics aren’t everything; involvement in interesting and unique activities that showcase different interests of yours will make you memorable. Mr. Khouri also emphasized the importance of humility in the working world: there are always lessons yet to learn, and every person has something to teach. All people have different levels of knowledge as well as totally unique sets of life experiences, and disrespect or overconfidence is never warranted. This led into Mr. Khouri’s discussion about good communication skills. He gave three steps to create an excellent interaction about any topic: give factual information, do some analysis of that information, and finally, include your opinion on the subject. Other skills necessary for proper communication in life included speaking clearly, as well as using precise words and ideas and avoiding vagueness and ambiguity.
Overall, Mr. Khouri emphasized that although one should strive for excellence, one should also never take life too seriously. In 100 years, the world will forget about all the actions and mistakes you made in your life. Mr. Khouri’s unique perspective brought a breath of fresh air to the stress of college life and made me rethink my own viewpoint on my life. From now on, I will take his advice to heart and strive for excellence in subjects I am passionate in, as well as ensure that my interactions with others only make for a more successful and happy life.
In the future, I hope to attend more talks such as these concerning areas of study that I am interested in. Many highly impressive speakers visit the University of Oklahoma, and I plan to take part in events where I can hear the stories, background, and advice of successful people passing through.