Showing posts from May, 2016

Women, Islam, and Politics in Jordan: Professor Abad Al Saud

Dr. Abad Al Saud brought her life experiences to our students today in Amman.  Dr. Abad was the youngest woman ever elected to the Jordanian Parliament.  She is a professor, and a former Dean, at Islamic University in Amman.  She spoke about women in Islam, women in politics, women in Jordanian society and as business leaders.

Dr. Abad spoke entirely in Arabic, with frequent phrases in English; my friend and brother Nidal translated throughout the lecture as well as the discussion.

Our students were well informed about women's issues (and general political issues), with questions ranging from the quota for women in Jordanian Parliament ("do you favor the quota system?") to her view of Western Feminists and Feminism ("I find a lot of common ground, but also women working at cross-purposes across the globe.") to her view of the role of religion in American politics and questions of violence against women and sexual harassment in Jordan -- what are the reasons b…

May 25: Happy Independence Day, Jordan! 70 years of Independence from Britain

In celebration, our dear volunteer, Ms. Aya Nidal Zannad, gave all of us a red "kefiyah scarf" to wear, in solidarity with our hosts, the Jordanian people.  Here we are in 'Umm Jimal, "Mother of Beauty", in northern Jordan, near Za'atari refugee camp and outside of the city of Mafraq. This is an ancient Roman city, also part of Byzantine Empire and later the Ottoman Empire. The city was built out of volcanic rock.

Below, our host Sheikh Khaled (Sheikh/leader of a local tribe in Mafraq) hosted us at his brother's farm, and then at his own house, where his wife prepared an amazing "light meal" (not light) for us to enjoy.  the Sheikh also taught us about his role as tribal leader, marriage counselor, dispute resolver, and otherwise problem-solver for issues (large and small) that affect his 18,000 tribal members.

"I can see Syria from my mound!"
Below, students are channeling Sarah Palin by pointing to the distant Syrian village beyon…

(Remember me?) Back in Amman, Jordan Dialogue 2016

'been a long time without posting ... time to get back in the game!

I'm in Amman with students on my "Jordan Dialogue 2016"!  Had to stop in Beirut (thanks APSA-MENA!), prior to joining up with my group here in Amman.  I want to give a shout-out to Mr. Charles, Ms. FaHu, and Lt. Briskin plus the inimitable Dr. Shakir for leading the group here ahead of me.

Now we're all together and my first day with everyone was a trip to Ajloun Castle after they all toured Jerash ... Note - I was standing right in front of this group, but they insisted on using the selfie stick!  And I found a kindred spirit with a nearly matching hat.  Plus, a non-selfie with the amazing Farhana.

Ajloun Castle - built by nephew of Salah ad-Din al-Ayyubi (Saladin), in AD 1184-1185.