RAWABIT: The U.S.-Jordanian University Cooperation Network

Through the RAWABIT project, the University Cooperation Network’s (UCN) participating Jordanian and U.S. universities seek to improve their institutional capacity, internal funding, and risk management to undertake serious collaborative reforms guided by U.S. and global best practices in these areas. Universities and affiliated scholars and researchers in both countries can benefit from an open and transparent atmosphere of information and peer-to-peer collegiality.

The overarching goal of RAWABIT is to formalize and institutionalize the UCN’s operations in support of intensified cooperation around higher and postsecondary education with a special focus on ensuring better job opportunities and economic outcomes for targeted populations of university students in Jordan especially young woman.

Objectives:

  • Institutionalization and formalization of the University Cooperation Network (UCN) to build on current and potential relationships between Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the United States and Jordan.
  • Increase capacity within Jordanian HEIs to embrace and adapt U.S. best practices and prepare students for employment in expanding sectors of Jordan’s economy.
  • Enable HEIs in Jordan to offer curricular and co-curricular programs that incorporate the demands of the private sector and workforce needs to prepare students for employment in vital and growing sectors of Jordan’s economy.

Background:

  • In 2016, a team led by the Eurasia Foundation and funded by the U.S. Embassy in Jordan assessed US-Jordan university partnerships. Key findings of the assessment established that there were few sustained partnerships; those that existed were mostly unidirectional (Jordan to US); and there was a weak infrastructure to support existing and potential linkages.
  • As a result of that assessment, the U.S. Embassy in Jordan funded the initial phase of the University Cooperation Network (2018-2021) with two hubs at Virginia Tech and University of Jordan. Under this project, an informal network was established with about ten universities in the U.S. and ten in Jordan.
  • After funding for that project concluded, in 2022 NEA funded the PULSE (Partnerships for University Leadership and Student Engagement) project, with a hub at the University of Jordan, culminating in a July 2022 conference on paths forward and partnership grants. PULSE was the bridge between the original UCN and the new UCN to be housed at the Fulbright Jordan Commission.

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