Lake Orion High School Alumni

Lake Orion, Michigan (MI)

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Lorie (McDonald) Tuma

Lorie (McDonald) Tuma

Class of 1983

One lucky and passionate Central Michigan University instructor has been chosen out of a pile of worldwide applicants to serve as an international trainer in Qatar.

CMU Recreation, Parks and Leisure instructor Lori Tuma said this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and she looks forward to the challenge of teaching Event Management to a different culture of students.

"Not only am I taking this incredible curriculum to Qatar, I literally have to step back out of what is very comfortable for me at CMU and try to figure out how to deliver this curriculum in a completely different culture," said Tuma, who previously taught at Mid-Michigan Community College.

Tuma will instruct local business leaders and members of their government how to effectively market and put together a meetings convention business, she said.

"It has to be one of the greatest professional highlights of my career … (I) really don't even have the words to explain," she said.

Qatar, an oil and gas rich nation, has been recruiting American faculty and universities to set up branches in Qatar.

"They are so progressive in terms of wanting American education," Tuma said.

This cross-cultural educational experiment so far has recruited Georgetown University, Carnegie Mellon, Texas A&M, Weill Cornell Medical College, Northwestern and Virginia Commonwealth University to create branch schools.

The location of these branch universities are in what is referred to as "Education City."

Education City is an initiative of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development. Located on the outskirts of Doha, the capital of Qatar, Education City aims to be the center of educational excellence in the region, instructing students in fields of critical importance to the region.

And now Tuma will have a chance to offer her skills to business leaders and government officials. Although she has plenty of experience teaching, she has little experience teaching to a different culture of students.

"I am revisiting every teaching strategy and instructional methodology," she said.

During her research, Tuma learned that in a traditional classroom there are several different levels of seniority.

"In that culture you would never call on someone to answer a question or never single someone out to make a presentation," Tuma said.

"They would never put themselves in a position where they might be embarrassed or lose face," she said.

Tuma is looking forward to this challenge.

"It's an incredible professional challenge," she said. "It will really test my ability as an instructor."

The event management minor is one of the fastest growing minors at CMU. There are 150 minors from 14 different areas of study.

Tuma leaves Nov. 8 and returns Nov. 14.

The search for instructors was conducted by Meeting Professionals International and the training event is sponsored by the Qatar Meeting, Incentive, Conference and Exhibition development Institute.

Qatar is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south; otherwise the Persian Gulf surrounds the state. An oil rich nation, Qatar has the highest GDP per capita in the world according to the Central Intelligence Agency.

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