Geopolitics and Humanitarian Action in Jordan

Faculty Seminar Overview

AmmanJordan has played the role of peace broker in the Middle East for decades. Jordan has managed its regional and international relations in a steadily successful and prosperous manner for many years. The country is a regional political hub and a center of Middle Eastern political decision making.

Jordan has the most refugees per capita of any country in the world. These refugees are fleeing armed conflicts in several surrounding nations. In Jordan, humanitarian aid is delivered to refugees and Jordanians alike, mainly through NGOs and UNHCR. This seminar will focus on geopolitics in Jordan and the Midde East and the humanitarian efforts that are taking place in Jordan. 

The seminar draws upon the resources and networks developed through SIT’s semester-long undergraduate programs, Jordan: Geopolitics, International Relations, and the Future of the Middle East and Jordan: Refugees, Health, and Humanitarian Action, which have run since 2003 and 2013, respectively.

All SIT programs are designed around principles of field-based, experiential education, with a strong focus on social justice and intercultural communication. In Jordan and on all programs, SIT places the highest priority on the health, safety, and security of all program participants.


Refugee campThe following topics will be explored on the faculty seminar in Jordan:

  • Roots of current Middle Eastern geopolitics
  • Regional and international players in the Middle Eastern geopolitical arena
  • Refugees and displaced people in the Middle East
  • Humanitarian response to refugees and displaced people in Jordan
  • The future of the Middle East

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this seminar, participants will be able to:

  • Identify and comprehend how the current Middle Eastern geopolitical climate has developed in recent decades
  • Identify and understand how certain regional and international powers play different roles in shaping the Middle Eastern geopolitical scene
  • Understand the refugee crisis and its effects on both the refugees themselves and the host country
  • Develop a comprehensive understanding of the humanitarian efforts aimed at refugees in Jordan
  • Develop an understanding of what the future of the Middle East looks like

On this seminar, participants will explore certain parts of Jordan such as the Dead Sea (the lowest point on Earth) and the historical and archaeological wonder of Petra. Participants will also visit organizations and institutions focused on politics and refugee aid.

Lectures May Include:

  • The main players in Middle Eastern geopolitics
  • The status of refugees in the Middle East
  • Humanitarian action in Jordan
  • The future of the Middle East

Possible Site Visits:

  • Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan
  • Noor Al Husain Foundation
  • The United Nations High Commission on Refugees
  • The Dead Sea and Petra

Bayan Abdulhaq, PhD, Academic Director

Dr. Abdulhaq holds a PhD in pharmaceutical sciences and an MSc in pharmaceutical analysis and quality control from King’s College, London. She holds a BSc in pharmacy from the University of Jordan, where she has taught drug delivery systems, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and analysis. She has extensive experience in educational quality assurance and was quality assurance director at TAG Graduate School of Business, part of the German Jordanian University. She served as board member and executive director of the Arab Organization for Quality Assurance in Education and as consultant for higher education institutions in Bahrain. She is a certified manager for organizational excellence by the American Society for Quality.

Dr. Abdulhaq has more than eight years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry; she has been a production manager and medical affairs manager. She also consults on Good Clinical Practice. She is a licensed pharmacist, a member of the Pharmaceutical Union of Jordan, and a member of the Bioequivalence Committee at the Jordanian Food and Drug Administration.

Ashraf Alqudah, PhD, Academic Director

Dr. Alqudah holds a PhD in clinical and medical psychology from the College of Public Health and Health Professions, University of Florida, and an MA in psychology from the University of Jordan. He specializes in clinical medical psychology and the psychology of chronic pain. His area of research interest includes psychopathology, psychological treatments and psychotherapies, and psycho-social support for refugees and displaced persons. Dr. Alqudah is also affiliated with the department of psychology at the University of Jordan in Amman and has worked on projects conducted by a number of health organizations that included Doctors of the World Organization, the War Trauma Foundation, and the Antares Foundation.

Dr. Alqudah is a member of the Higher Council of the Humanitarian Support Network of Jordan and the Jordanian Mental Health Licensing Committee. Since 2008, he has been involved with the SIT Modernization and Social Change program in Jordan as lecturer, ISP advisor, and then as coordinator of the Research Methods and Ethics course. Ashraf has co-authored a number of articles that have appeared in the Journal of Cybertherapy and Rehabilitation, the Journal of Pain Research, and the International Journal of Psychological Studies. He is currently finishing a research project on stress and burnout sources among NGO workers working with refugees. 

Participants in the Jordan seminar should plan to arrive in Amman on June 13, 2018, and depart on June 21, 2018.

The program fee for the Jordan seminar includes:

  • Accommodations in single rooms in tourist-class hotels in Amman for seven nights and in Petra for one night
  • All breakfasts, plus approximately half of all remaining meals, including a welcome dinner and farewell banquet
  • Airport transfers on the program start and end dates and all transportation to included program activities
  • All program activities as outlined above
  • Health insurance for the duration of the program
  • Pre-departure preparation materials, including informational materials, syllabus, and pre-program assignments

Program fees do not include:

  • International airfare to/from Amman
  • Passport or visa fees, if required (US passport holders can pay for their entry visa upon arrival at the airport in Amman.)
  • Immunizations, if needed
  • Approximately one meal (lunch or dinner) per day