Lessons in Opposing Opinions and Respect, by Jamie Wright C’07

Dr. Ewa Unoke is a professor at KCKCC, head of the Political Science/Pre-Law program.  This man made a huge impact in my life in 2007. I took his class called Foreign Policy/International Relations. He gave a book* to the class that he wrote and asked us to read it. It was about his life as a boy soldier in Nigeria, Africa. As the days went on, I read a couple chapters, and then I stopped. I stopped reading it, I placed it down. I went into deep thought about this book and about our class. I decided I wasn’t going to read it. I thought, “Why should I read a book that this teacher is promoting?” I wanted to be taught. I didn’t want to read a book he had written. I wanted to hear him speak. I wanted to feel his emotions as I watched his mouth move words into my soul. I couldn’t feel that from a book. I wanted the real, raw experience. I wanted to feel his pain of the Liberian War he had to endure.

As more days went by, the class was coming to an end as we turned in our reports from the book. Remember- I refused to read it, and apparently I was the only one. On the last day of class, he brought the papers and skimmed through them. At this point, he pulled out a paper and held it. He looked right at me. I was thinking, “$%*& I’m in trouble, and sitting in the front row.”

He then looked at the class, he started to speak how we are all scholars. And he came back to me. He said, “You didn’t read my book. Yet you still wrote a report.” He continued to say he didn’t agree with what I had to say (the details of the report aren’t important), it’s what he told me that I felt my world change. 

All eyes were on me (if you know me, I hate being center of attention). He said, “Jamie, Although you didn’t read my book and I don’t agree with what you had to say, you took a risk…a big risk by not reading the book. I can respect that. You voiced your opinion. I respect that. You defended your reasons why you didn’t read my book. I respect that. Although, I don’t agree, you wrote a well written paper. Your words didn’t offend me even when we don’t agree. This is what a true scholar is. You are a true scholar. This is what foreign policy is about. It brings relations together to discuss opposing ideas or opinions.”

He continued on to the class about how we need to voice our opinions, to stand up for what we believe in, even if we are the only ones standing. To go for our dreams and don’t stop until we have accomplished them. Scholars don’t give up, they keep on searching for new journeys. 

To this amazing man and teacher!

*Dr. Unoke’s book is called “Dear God, Never Again.” It is available for order on Amazon.

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