Spring 2013, Issue II
A team of 10 CIEE students participated in the arduous Dead2Red Marathon running a total of 242KM from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea.
Jordanian Cooking 101: Maqlouba
One of the best perks of spending a semester in Jordan is the daily opportunity to try authentic Middle Eastern cuisine. In addition to Mansef and Knafeh, Maqlouba is a common dish served in many Jordanian homes. The name literally translates into “upside down,” due to the final step in preparation when the bowl containing the delicious combination of rice, chicken, and fried vegetables is flipped upside down onto the serving plate. A few weeks ago, several students were allowed to attend a Maqlouba cooking lesson taught by the University of Jordan cafeteria staff. Everyone worked together by stirring the rice, seasoning the meat with fresh spices, and, finally, taste testing! Maqlouba is topped with sliced almonds and served with yogurt. Although it is similar to Mansef, this dish has its own unique flavor that shouldn’t be missed!
Katie Collins / University of Denver
A Textile Insight into Culture
Some time ago we were welcomed into the home of Widad Kawar, one of the world's best experts on Middle Eastern textiles, to view her private collection of clothing and accessories from all over the Middle East. We were able to try on different outfits from Yemen to Ramallah as she explained where each piece was from, what it was used for and how it was made. We saw everything from bridal outfits to everyday dresses, all with gorgeous hand-made embroidery which could take up to 12 months to make. She discussed the different colors and designs in each outfit, showing what time period or city they were from. She also shared her book which explains that over time and through conflict, these embroidery and clothes-making skills are slowly being lost across the Middle East, making it an honor for us to be able to view her fantastic collection personally.
Zohreen Badruddin / Georgetown University
My peer tutor Dana and I became fast friends. We meet every Friday, and usually I hang out with her and her friends, which means I learn extra Arabic and talk to even more great people. The amount of Arabic I’ve learned from her and the chance to practice speaking and listening has been an invaluable part of my progress, and I’m lucky that it could happen with someone who has become both my peer tutor and my friend. I bring a notebook, and she is always eager to help me write down everything I learn. Sometimes I will forget a word and she will say, “You’ve written it down before, haven’t you?” Besides Arabic, I see cultural differences up close. I ask about them and see why my peer tutor and her friends may do or think something not part of my culture, and because of that I’ve learned a lot.
Megan Brookman / Mount Holyoke College
The Path to the Foreign Service
A Foreign Service officer serving in the US Embassy of Jordan paid us visit to talk about “Life in the Foreign Service.” Anneliese Reinemeyer, the guest speaker, answered many of our questions about what it takes to be a Foreign Service Officer and also shared some of her personal experiences with us. The road to being a FSO is arduous, but rewarding. One must take the Foreign Service Officer test to even be considered for a position, and only an exceptionally small amount of testers are given a formal offer. This is my long term career goal, and after speaking with her I have even more resolve and confidence to continue along this path. Insha’Allah (god willing) I will someday be able to represent the people of the United States through its foreign policy.
Matthew Bell / University of Missouri
The Water Situation in Jordan
This past week, my Water Politics class went on a field trip to the Northern part of Jordan to take a look at several water technologies to get a better idea of how the government deals with the severe water crisis. In order to see the King Abdullah canal, which carries water from the Yarmouk River and Lake Tiberius to Amman and the Jordan Valley, we had to pass through several military checkpoints which really made me understand the proximity of all these water systems to highly contested borders. Our professor also explained that there are various treaties between Jordan and Israel that deal with access to water but Israel has not always respected the agreements. In the past, Israel has released sewage into the canal instead of the promised fresh water from Lake Tiberius, which resulted in contamination of the entire canal. Being in Jordan and learning about the water shortage here has made me think about water usage in the United States. It is so easy to take our access to water for granted back home because of its unlimited, easy, and cheap nature whereas here in Jordan, each family receives only 2 meters3/week (and water is not always delivered on time) for all household uses (an average family of four in the United States uses 1.5 meters3/day!).
Sexual Harassment in Jordan
CIEE invited the students and their peer tutors to a film viewing and discussion about sexual harassment in Amman, Jordan. The documentary began by showing the typical behavior of young Jordanian men in the streets of Amman. The students, as well as their peer tutors, responded to this part of the film with laughter because catcalling is something we have all experienced and is a normal part of the culture in Jordan. However, the director of the film made it her mission to call attention to the fact that this is not normal behavior- it is harassment.
The discussion after the film was the most interesting portion in my opinion. When asked if a woman is at fault for being harassed because she dresses a certain way, the female Jordanians in the discussion responded, “Yes, of course!” However the Jordanian men were less quick to say something to that effect. This was surprising to me because I am used to a culture where women push for their own rights and the rights of their fellow women. However, it is not that these women do not support women’s rights, but that they value modesty in their society.
Paige Spangler / George Washington University
Father Nabil Haddad
Several weeks ago, Father Nabil Haddad of the Melkite Catholic Church came to Khalifeh Plaza to discuss interfaith issues in Jordan. It was a small and very intimate meeting. Father Haddad, along with his close friend, the late Sheik Tamimi, founded the Jordanian Interfaith Coexistence Research Center, which is the only NGO that deals with interfaith issues in Jordan. They run several programs that bring Muslims, Christians, and other religious minorities together for interfaith dialogue. Father Haddad himself was an unassuming, gentle man who instantly put us at ease despite the heavy topics of conversation regarding faith, cooperation, and identity. He called Muslims his brothers and emphasized that true faith meant grace and understanding between religions. Father Haddad also mentioned that he hires interns every year; moreover, he gives them a great deal of responsibility.
Geordan Williams / Johns Hopkins University