This multi-part series will document my time spent in Jordan while a participant on a Fulbright-Hays Groups Project Abroad (GPA) program. I was selected along with 11 fellow teachers from North Texas to spend 4-weeks traveling in and around Amman, Jordan where we will study the country, politics, religion, education and culture. With this information we will develop curriculum to share with teachers and students once we return to the United States.
I won't be able to update this blog with my professional images while I am traveling due to technology limitations; therefore, my phone images will have to suffice. After I return in August I will post my favorite images from the trip in a separate blog post.
Monday, we met with Prince Hassan bin Talal, the former crown prince and uncle of King Abdullah. We’d been trying the whole month to arrange a meeting with member of the Hashemite royal family, so we were thrilled when we found out that he wanted to come meet with us. Prince Hassan was kind, wickedly intelligent and very gracious. He stressed that so many of Jordan’s and the world's problems could be fixed if we first thought about human dignity for all and then began to make policies and initiatives—a simple and beautiful sentiment.
Over the final days we met with a teacher, an environmental NGO and a former Jordanian Senator. In each meeting we continued to hear the same message we've heard all month. Jordan is a small country trying their hardest to care for millions of refugees with limited infrastructure and broker a peace between the Arab world and Israel--all with few resources, little money and the rising tide of violent extremists on their border. As former senator Abdel Elah Al Khatib said, "Jordan is standing in the mouth of an angry volcano." Fortunately, the United States and other members of the UN provide substantial aide to buoy up the Jordanian economy.
My roommate and I have spent countless hours discussing all we've learned and trying to research our lingering questions, and we've come to the same conclusion: peace is a long way out, but we are so impressed with the army of people, NGOs, and other organizations that are fighting the good fight and doing everything they can to improve the lives of people living in Jordan.
Jordan has been a phenomenal host, and the unexpected beauty of her scenery, the generosity of her people and the strength of her fortitude floored me. My hope is that one-day the region will stabilize and that I may I have the opportunity to return to the country again and see the result of the progress being made.