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Woodlands Academy grad meets Bill Clinton in Dubai

Austen Murrow Lake Barringt2010 graduate Woodlands Academy Sacred Heart Lake Forest met former President Clintwhen he visited her current academic

Austen Murrow of Lake Barrington, a 2010 graduate of Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart in Lake Forest, met former President Clinton when he visited her current academic post, the American University in Dubai (AUD). | Submitted photo

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Updated: June 24, 2013 2:13AM



When you’re studying overseas on a William Jefferson Clinton Scholarship, it’s only natural that, at some point, you meet William Jefferson Clinton.

That was the case earlier this month when Austen Murrow of Lake Barrington, a 2010 graduate of Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart in Lake Forest, met former President Clinton when he visited her current academic post, the American University in Dubai (AUD).

Via email from the United Arab Emirates campus, Murrow said the April 10 visit was memorable in many respects, not the least of which was that the one-time leader of the free world was fashionably early.

“When I heard Clinton would be coming to visit AUD, I was very excited. I wanted to make sure I thanked him for giving me this great opportunity,” Murrow wrote. “When he first arrived, he met and took a picture with a large group of study-abroad students, which several of us actually missed — we weren’t told he arrived an hour earlier than planned!

“Because of this snafu, after his Q&A session, Genny Casagrande and I, another Clinton Scholar from University of Florida, were able to meet him privately. Clinton shook our hands and was curious to know our impressions of Dubai.”

Murrow was able to answer the question from experience. She said she had visited the emirate of Dubai 12 years ago, “but things are much different now.”

“It is truly a melting pot of so many different nationalities and cultures,” she wrote. “If you look hard enough, however, past all the shiny buildings and excesses, you can still get a glimpse of true Arab hospitality.

“Clinton, Genny, and I shared a few laughs and took pictures then it was off to the airport for him. From an outsider’s perspective, it looked like all of the students at AUD really appreciate Clinton’s continued support for their school, as they were very engaged during the visit.”

Murrow spent a gap year in Jordan and India following her graduation from Woodlands, an experience that she said introduced her to the Arabic language and culture. She is now taking courses in Middle Eastern studies and intermediate Arabic in anticipation of returning to the states this fall to continue her education at the University of Virginia.

“My main focus for the next two years (will) be global commerce. I was recently accepted to the McIntire School of Commerce at UVa and will enter this fall, spending my last two years of college studying business,” she said, adding that her travels have guided her toward a career in a field related to the Middle East after graduation.

“I have had a wonderful time in Dubai,” she said. “With only two weeks left, I am already nostalgic about leaving, but I know I’ll be back soon.”



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