University President Steven Knapp signed an agreement Tuesday to exchange faculty and students with the University of Jordan, part of a plan for GW to help the Middle Eastern school build up its tourism program.
Scholars and administrators from the GW School of Business’ International Institute of Tourism Studies will take part in strengthening University of Jordan’s tourism and hospitality school, which enrolls 200 students after launching three years ago.
Knapp joined University of Jordan President Ekhleif Tarawneh in Amman, Jordan to sign the memorandum of understanding formalizing the two schools’ relationship.
“The George Washington University is honored to sign this agreement with the University of Jordan to develop collaborative research, academic programs and training projects in Jordan and the United States,” Knapp said in a release.
GW’s business school offers a master of tourism administration degree, and its tourism program already established ties with universities in Brazil, Canada, South Korea and Trinidad and Tobago. The University was the first in the country to offer a tourism master’s degree in 1974.
University of Jordan’s tourism school, which prepares students to jump into the country’s largest private sector employer, started in 2009 in Aqaba, a coastal city near the country’s borders with Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Tourism has slumped in Jordan over the past two years since unrest started in the region, according to a March article in The New York Times. The country shares its northern border with Syria and part of its northeastern border with Iraq.
Jordan also boasts tourist attractions like coral reefs, ancient mosques and the archaeological city Petra, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
“Jordan has much to offer as a tourism destination. GW has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the tourism sector in Jordan. We look forward to this new partnership with the University of Jordan and to working together to build an even stronger tourism workforce for Jordan and the entire region,” Kristin Lamoureux, director of the International Institute of Tourism Studies, said in a release.
The University has already sent medical students and doctors to work in the country’s hospitals, as the School of Medicine and Health Sciences has a similar agreement with the University of Jordan.
Knapp met with medical students and physicians who have studied and worked at GW on his trip, which also included meetings with Jordan’s Queen Rania Al Abdullah and Fayez Ahmad al-Tarawneh, prime minister and minister of defense of Jordan.
The University has long looked to expand its global reach, but its international focus has been sharpened over the last year. Globalization is a central theme to GW’s upcoming strategic plan, which may lay out a blueprint for it to establish stronger ties in Asia, South America and sub-Saharan Africa.