“Comfortable with being uncomfortable at times”
September 16 2015 12:32 AM
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— Dr Theodore Josiha Haig reflects on his life

Everyone has the responsibility in life of ‘discovering what he or she
is capable of becoming’. It requires, in part, to be able to ‘see what
you can’t see’, the literary writer and novelist tells Aney Mathew



Qatar boasts of an interesting mix of people from all over the world — a cultural mosaic with significant ethnic and cultural diversity. While the economic growth over the last decade has sent the demographic graph spiralling upwards, it has naturally been accompanied by a considerable shift in lifestyles, trends and preferences.
Regardless of where people are on the social or corporate ladder, what keeps the pace of any populace moving are their expectations and aspirations.
In an attempt to feel the pulse of this emerging society, Community takes a look at people, who constitute this interesting community. We talk to them about their hopes, dreams, goals and expectations and what it is that makes them tick.
Stay tuned you may be next...

Dr Theodore Josiha Haig, Literary Writer and Novelist
    
Tell us something about yourself…
I am an American who has spent the last ten-and-a-half years in Qatar. Initially, I came to Doha to participate in the Supreme Education Council’s Education Reform Movement and have since been associated with the Middle East International School. I currently function as an International Educational Consultant.
I served as the first director of Independent Schools for the Education Institute here in Qatar. I am also the former principal of the Middle East International School (preK-12). My career spans over 45 years.
I was born in New York City where I attended public schools. I graduated from Providence College with a Bachelor’s degree, where I majored in math education. I received my master’s degree from Rhode Island College and my Doctoral Degree from Boston College, both in education administration and supervision. I also have an Honorary Doctorate from Upsala College, formally in East Orange, New Jersey. And lastly, I hold a Juris Doctor degree from the College of Law, University of Florida.
I am married to Judith Lopes-Haig; we have two children and three grandchildren, all currently living in the US.

Tell us about your career path…
I began as a teacher and then worked my way up to an Assistant Principal, a Principal and then, a Central Office Administrator. I had the opportunity to serve both as a Deputy Superintendent as well as a Superintendent of Schools in East Orange, New Jersey and Hartford, Connecticut for eleven years.

How have you been spending time in the recent past?
For the past ten years, I have written eight manuscripts and am currently working on my ninth. I consider myself a literary writer and a novelist. Two of my manuscripts are non-fiction while the other six are novels. I enjoy writing mystery/suspense; that is my genre. I am currently, working on my seventh piece. My first novel The Old Man of the Mountain: The Trial of the Assassin is currently under publication by Page Publication, out of New York City. It is expected to be released no later than this October.
I have already signed an agreement with Page Publishing to have my 2nd, 3rd and 4th novels published. They are Mindinao, The Kimberly Arrangement and New York’s Finest: The Bronx’s View; meanwhile, they are currently reviewing my fifth novel The Madikwe Conspiracy.
I am the AMIDEAST representative in Qatar for the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Programme (YES). Students from various schools attend our programme which is held at the Middle East International School in Doha.

What is the YES programme?
This is a programme funded by the US Department of State, Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs (ECA) to provide scholarships for high school students from countries with significant Muslim populations, enabling them to study for one academic year in the US. YES students serve as “youth ambassadors” of their home country, promoting mutual understanding by forming lasting relationships with their host families and communities. Participants live with a host family, attend an American high school, acquire leadership skills, and engage in activities to learn about US society and its values; they also help educate Americans about their home country and culture.
The recent batch just left for the US to start a new phase of their life.

Your favourite pastime or activity?
Without a doubt, my favourite pastime is writing and travelling. I recently visited Kathmandu, Nepal where my current novel is staged.

Tell us your dream
My dream has always been to ‘discover what I am capable of becoming’ for the rest of my life.
What is your dream destination?
My dream destination is to ‘maximise the probability that I actualise my potential’, before I leave this earth.

And your dream car?
My dream car…I already have it. It is a 1998 Z3 (BMW).

What is your idea of a dream job?
Surprisingly, that would be a job where you are able to use all of your skills and yet not pose a threat to anyone. I am a natural born leader.

What cuisine do you enjoy the most?
Italian.

Which is your favourite joint in Qatar and why?
My idea of a good joint is a quiet environment where I can be by myself and write.

Who is your favourite actor?
Without a doubt, my favourite actors are Robert De Niro and Denzel Washington.

Your favourite movies would be?
The Godfather, My Cousin Vinny, Man on Fire, as well as Antwone Fisher.

What scares you?
Police in America who do racial profiling.

What was the scariest moment of your life?
Being stopped on a US highway by the state police without a probable cause.

What about your most embarrassing moment?
When words don’t come out of my mouth during a presentation.

What are your retirement plans?
Living in my favourite countries and cities throughout the world and writing.

What would you do if you won a million dollars?
Promote a fashion product for women that my mother invented.

What do you consider your greatest achievement/ achievements so far?
My greatest achievement is that I have been able to impact the lives of a whole lot of people over the years.

How would you describe your life right now?
Extremely happy and ‘comfortable with being uncomfortable at times’ and I love taking responsible risks.

Your attitude to life?
I believe that everyone has the responsibility in life of ‘discovering what he or she is capable of becoming’. This is a life-long process. However, it requires, in part, to be able to ‘see what you can’t see’ by ‘building the capacity to see’ it throughout our lives. Taking risks responsibly is one way of building that capacity.
So life is about ‘capacity building’. If not, you might miss out on discovering your passions and ultimately, moving from one career or interest to another.
 
Lessons learnt from life
GUIDING LIGHT: Dr Theodore Josiha Haig with a YES Exchange Student. Being patient, disciplined and process oriented — they are virtuous.

Anything else you would like to add?
Keep peace in your life. I am a Transcendental Meditator (TM). Over time, TM has allowed me to ‘slow down long enough so that I can inform myself with a greater sense of clarity and awareness’. It has also helped me to ‘increase my capacity to see what I couldn’t see before’. Also this: “A liberal arts education prepares you for your 6th job not your 1st” — Fareed Zakaria (Host of CNN’s GPS)


How would you describe your life right now?
Extremely happy and ‘comfortable with being uncomfortable at times’ and I love taking responsible risks.

Your attitude to life?
I believe that everyone has the responsibility in life of ‘discovering what he or she is capable of becoming’. This is a life-long process. However, it requires, in part, to be able to ‘see what you can’t see’ by ‘building the capacity to see’ it throughout our lives. Taking risks responsibly is one way of building that capacity.
So life is about ‘capacity building’. If not, you might miss out on discovering your passions and ultimately, moving from one career or interest to another.
 
Lessons learnt from life
GUIDING LIGHT: Dr Theodore Josiha Haig with a YES Exchange Student. Being patient, disciplined and process oriented — they are virtuous.

Anything else you would like to add?
Keep peace in your life. I am a Transcendental Meditator (TM). Over time, TM has allowed me to ‘slow down long enough so that I can inform myself with a greater sense of clarity and awareness’. It has also helped me to ‘increase my capacity to see what I couldn’t see before’. Also this: “A liberal arts education prepares you for your 6th job not your 1st” — Fareed Zakaria (Host of CNN’s GPS)















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