During a historic week last month when Israeli and Jordanian leaders met at the White House to sign a peace accord, officials from Brigham Young University were in Jordan to make some history of their own.
BYU and the University of Jordan in Amman signed an agreement of bilateral cooperation in academic, scientific and cultural fields, according to an article in the English-language Jordan Times published on July 25.BYU President Rex E. Lee and Associate Academic Vice President John S. Tanner met with University of Jordan President Fawzi Gharaibeh to sign the historic pact.
Under the agreement, the two universities will work to establish ties of friendship and cooperation and to promote mutual understanding through possible academic, cultural and personnel exchanges, the newspaper noted.
Group visits by BYU students to the Jordan campus will facilitate short- and long-term study and research, and in exchange, graduates of the University of Jordan will receive careful consideration for admission to BYU.
In addition, the two universities will explore possibilities for post-doctoral fellowships, faculty exchanges, joint conferences and an exchange of books and reference materials published at both universities.
The July agreement formalizes educational exchanges that have been occurring over the past several years, according to Lee.
BYU officials traveled to Jordan two years ago to provide help with admissions for top Jordanian students. "And Sen. Kamal, a high-ranking official in the Jordanian government, and his good friend Ambassador David Kennedy worked out a scholarship plan for some Jordanian students to attend BYU," noted Lee, who had high praise for the quality of the Jordanian students already at BYU.
"This latest agreement doesn't commit either institution to anything, so it will largely depend on what we both put into it," he said.
"However, the agreement does have the potential to further strengthen our relationship - and through us the relationship of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - with Jordan," said Lee.
The friendly ties between the two institutions are already bearing fruit. Next week, Major General Hmeidi Al-Fayez, chief military adviser and protocol chief to Jordan's King Hussein, will travel to the BYU campus to see his daughter, Ghadeer, receive a graduate degree in international relations, said Lee, who will watch three of his own children graduate during the commencement exer-cises.
Al-Fayez's son, Nayef, graduated from BYU last year and, like his father, is now serving on the king's personal staff, even accompanying the king to the White House peace talks, Lee said.