A friend of mine who grew up in Oman (he's American, father was in the oil business), brought this great article to my attention: What Oman Can Teach Us, from the NY Times:
"Just 40 years ago, Oman was one of the most hidebound societies in the world. There was no television, and radios were banned as the work of the devil. ... Oman, a country about the size of Kansas, had just six miles of paved road, and the majority of the population was illiterate and fiercely tribal. ... Oman was historically similar to its neighbor, Yemen, which now has become an incubator for Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists. But, in 1970, Oman left that fundamentalist track: the sultan’s son deposed his father and started a stunning modernization built around education for boys and girls alike.
Visit Oman today, and it is a contemporary country with highways, sleek new airports, satellite TV dishes and a range of public and private universities. Children start studying English and computers in the first grade. Boys and girls alike are expected to finish high school at least.
It’s peaceful and pro-Western, without the widespread fundamentalism and terrorism that afflict Yemen."
Read the rest here.