EnviroJordan is a 2-week long enriching study tour with an emphasis on environmental science issues and education. This pilot program is open to participants from around the world, from private and public school teachers to curriculum specialists and science professors. EnviroJordan aims to introduce the region to educators by providing opportunities to visit historic sites as well as to participate in outdoor activities such as hiking in nature reserves and at Petra, and a Jeep tour in the Wadi Rum desert. EnviroJordan offers an incredibly unique opportunity to experience the people, history, and environmental challenges of the Middle East in a direct and hands-on manner.
EnviroJordan was initiated by Jay Harris, a close contact of Alhambra, in tandem with ArabEnv, a company in Jordan doing environmental consulting and environmental education.Harris is the global specialist for FIELDS, an environmental education training team based in Wisconsin. He specializes in the development of international education programs and resources for colleges and universities, private foundations, schools, and more. Harris has initiated and developed multiple programs in Jordan, including the U.S. Department of State’s first Arabic language program for American high school students. He also conducted a State Department program for the training of young entrepreneurs in Jordan.
EnviroJordan reflects Harris’ passion for enhancing communication between the USA and Jordan, a country he has visited over twenty times since 2006. As a result of those visits, and the extensive network Harris has developed, his Jordanian friends consider him an “honorary citizen.” EnviroJordan strives to help develop cross-cultural connections and cooperative opportunities among educators and others. Corresponding with that goal is the reduction of stereotypes in the U.S. about Arabs and the Middle East. The program benefits from sponsors in Jordan including:
- Karim Kawar – a former ambassador to the U.S. (now a major business leader)
- Mrs. Haifa Najjar – a senator in Jordan’s parliament and the head of prestigious private schools in Amman
- Dr. Sultan Abu-Orabi – the secretary general of the Association of Arab Universities
EnviroJordan also benefits from the support of the Alhambra U.S. Chamber. Educators participating in EnviroJordan are able to closely access and thoroughly study the environment and culture in Jordan. They are participating in meetings with the Ministers of Environment and Education, the Jordan Rangers, the Jordan Environment Society, the Queen Rania Teacher Academy, various schools, and many others. Participants are gaining an understanding of the past and present environmental issues in Jordan and how the nation strives to improve environmental sustainability. Upon returning, the teachers will share their wonderful experience inside and outside of the classroom, creating an effective “multiplier effect” for what Harris calls “informed perspectives” of Jordan and the Middle East.