04 September, 2007

The Migrant Professor

Back on August 20th the New York Times ran this article [ungated version here at IHT] on migrant professors in the UAE. An excerpt:
Then there is Peter Mitias, the migrant professor.

An economist with a Louisiana doctorate and a Mississippi drawl, he shocked his friends when he left a tenured job in Virginia for the American University of Sharjah, a school conjured from nothing by a sheik in the suburbs of Dubai. But when he lists the benefits of working abroad, Mr. Mitias crows.

He has free housing and utilities. (''Sweet!'') He has international experience on his résumé. (''Huge!'') He has cheap household help, good schools for his children and a BMW and a Mercedes he was able to buy by paying no income tax. Not to mention plenty of American fast food.

''Papa John's delivers to my house,'' he said. ''It's all here!''

This is migrant work, Ph.D.-style -- a lesson about labor, a comment on class, a window onto globalization and a phenomenon on the rise.
Mr. Mitias, a football-loving, squirrel-hunting, anything-but-alienated graduate of Louisiana State, has found himself the accidental internationalist, thrilling to possibilities he had not previously glimpsed.

He describes life abroad as a successive discovery of freedoms: freedom from taxes, freedom from mortgages, freedom from crime, freedom from the sex and violence his daughters would see on American television. He and his wife have taken them to places as different as London and Vietnam, and to Thailand three times. ''The world's at your fingertips,'' he said.
Mr. Mitias's favorite metaphor is a spinning globe. ''I could go to Europe. I could go to Asia. I could go to South America,'' he said.
Economists would say it's a truism. You may gripe about this or that about the place, but the reason you are here is that the UAE is best for you at this time. Otherwise you'd chosen somewhere else to be. Enjoy.


Dubai Entrepreneur said...

amen to that. btw, is there something wrong with this sentence?
You may gripe about this or that about the place, but the reason you are here is that the UAE best for you at this time.

..is that the the UAE is best for you at this time?

John said...

Your blog's informative is very rich in contents. I like your way of
presentation. At times I disagree with your views but thinking about it who
presents views that are acceptable to everyone. Keep posting your good

John B. Chilton said...

dubai entreprenuer - Thanks. And thanks for pointing out my typo, now corrected.

Khaled-AD said...

You might need to be more specific because Peter Mitias is an associate professor and not a professor according to the American University of Sharjah Directory. For reference this link might help: http://www.aus.edu/ausdir/search.php

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but only for you people, i'm going back to my country though...

Anonymous said...


You got it right the first time, the smaller details are accidently/conviniently missed giving an entirely different picture.

Mme Cyn said...

Drat Peter! No one 'back home' was supposed to know WHY we gave up the tenure track for this... we'd told them it was all about bringing education to an up-and-coming population in the rapidly developing world!

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