First off, for my friends and students who didn’t receive advance warning about my departure, my apologies. I wanted to keep it quiet until I was out of the country. Please know that I would like to keep in touch with everyone – my email address is mattjduffy – at – gmail.com.

My family has already relocated back the Atlanta area. My kids started school there in mid-August and my wife and been setting up shop for us. I, too, have just returned to the United States.

The kids took the news of our abrupt departure well. We had often stressed the transitory nature of life in the UAE and the precarious position prodded by my activities. My wife has been very supportive throughout this experience. It’s not often that a wife must forgive her husband for causing her to lose her job, abandon her volunteer commitments and leave a country. Thanks for being so wonderful, Ann.

I plan to find a full-time teaching position in the Atlanta area either in the spring or next fall. My wife and I both received our contractually obligated severance packages, so we’re not suffering financially. My wife—who holds a PhD in Education Policy and more than two decades of experience improving public schools—is having no problem finding work. Ann was far more valuable to the UAE than I.

In the meantime, I plan to write my book on media laws of the UAE for the International Encyclopedia of Media Laws. I’m wrapping up a report on media regulations in the GCC countries for the Doha Center for Media Freedom. And I’m working on a plan for a series of reports on “best practice” models for media and communication legislation in the Arab World. Many countries such as Egypt, Libya and Tunisia are struggling with delineating the appropriate boundaries for free speech.

I would like to stress that I hold no ill will toward the United Arab Emirates. I met many great Emiratis–as well as wonderful people from a wide swath of nationalities–and will cherish these relationships for the rest of my life. My family and I truly appreciate the opportunity to have such an enriching experience.