University of Jordan - 10 years of cooperation
17 December 2010
“King Abdullah encourages us to be top in research and education”, says Dr Zoabi Zoabi at the Faculty of Economics at the University of Jordan. He tells his Swedish counterpart Håkan Pihl that they are keen to deepen their cooperation with Lund in entrepreneurship and financial economics.All discussions and negotiations at the University of Jordan take place under the friendly eyes of King Hussein, King Abdullah II and Prince Hussein. Portraits of the three men hang everywhere and are flanked by the Jordanian flag. The dress code for men high up in the university hierarchy is strict, with dark suits despite the 30 degree heat. But the atmosphere and the tone is informal and warm.
One person who is particularly pleased to see the delegation from Lund is Rami Ali, Professor of Physics and Head of International Relations.
“Lund University is our largest and best partner for the Erasmus Mundus and Linnaeus Palme exchange programmes”, he says.
Unlike the other deans and the new vice-chancellor (a professor of linguistics), Rami Ali has been around a long time and has even been to Lund.
“I know more about Lund University than a lot of you do”, he says to Pro Vice-Chancellor Eva Åkesson before her presentation of LU.
Cooperation with the Jordanian university began in the year 2000. From Lund it is Henry Diab, lecturer in Arabic, who has been most involved in managing and developing contacts with Jordan, and he is well known here at the university in Amman.
“Linnaeus Palme has led to other agreements with the University of Jordan, both individual agreements between the two universities and exchanges within the framework of Erasmus Mundus”, says Henry Diab. “This has deepened our cooperation on several levels.”
At the moment there are four students from Lund at the University of Jordan, and in the spring three international economics students from Lund who specialise in Arabic will be coming here. At the School of Economics and Management there is currently one Jordanian student studying business economics and one post-doctoral fellow in medicine is spending two years in Lund.
Håkan Pihl, head of the Department of Business Economics, is visiting Jordan for the first time and thinks it is interesting to meet his Jordanian counterparts.
“I want to encourage exchanges of teaching and research staff. However, the problem is that they are interested in lecturers from us in exactly the same fields where we are understaffed and need people ourselves, for example within finance.”
For the University of Jordan, it is almost a requisite that exchanges are free. It is expensive enough for Jordanians to live in Sweden. However, Rami Ali is pleased to note that half of all exchange students are female.
“It isn’t easy to get Jordanian families to let their daughters go abroad – so this is a success.”
He would really have liked to see more female students going on longer exchanges and returning with a new enthusiasm to improve their knowledge within their field and to go out into the labour market.
“Then we really would have made progress towards equality. At the moment, most female students stop studying as soon as they get married.”
Exchanges with the Middle East
Linnaeus Palme is funded by the International Programme Office, which is run by the Ministry of Education and Research and SIDA and was started in 2000. It encompasses both teaching staff and student exchanges with Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. There are currently two Lund students in Bethlehem (see separate article) and two Palestinian students in Lund. The exchanges in both directions are usually limited to one semester.
Erasmus Mundus is funded by the EU and started in 2007. It covers student mobility on all levels, from undergraduate to PhD, as well as post-doctoral fellows, lecturers and researchers. Seventy per cent of the exchanges are to be from Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, and 30 per cent are to be from eleven European universities.
In the four years that the programme has been running, Lund University has received some 40 participants from the Middle East and has sent 10 each year to Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. Most of the Swedish students stay for 5–10 months, and the students from the Middle East stay for 5–34 months.
Individual agreements between Lund University and the countries of the Middle East
Jordan: Four Lund students are studying Arabic in Jordan and one Jordanian student is studying business economics in Lund. One post-doctoral fellow from Jordan is here for two years conducting research in medicine.
Syria: Three students from Lund are studying Arabic at the University of Damascus. One is there within the framework of Erasmus Mundus and two are financed by Arabic studies in Lund.
Lebanon: Four Lund students are studying Arabic and Middle Eastern studies at the American University of Beirut.
Egypt: Two Lund students are studying Arabic at the International Language Institute in Cairo, of whom one is doing a work placement at the Swedish Embassy in Cairo.
Saudi Arabia: One student from Lund is doing a work placement at the Swedish Embassy in Riyadh within the context of studies in Arabic.
- Maria Lindh
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