The Jubilee School and my interview with Her Majesty Queen Noor

I had the chance to meet some of the brightest students in the Middle East at Jordan's Jubilee School. The school has a great track record of graduating women who go on to pursue carrers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. I also had the chance to interview Her Majesty Queen Noor (via email) who is involved with setting the strategic direction and providing guidance to the school management. You can read the article on the school here and the interview with Queen Noor here

The Arab Spring: Where is it now?

Three years ago, a fruit seller in Tunisia set himself on fire to protest against the corruption prevalent among the Tunisian police and the government. His act of defiance sparked off a series of protests that shook monarchs and authoritative governments across the Middle East, a region home to over 380 million people.

But where is the Arab Spring now? A slide show I wrote for Albawaba.com looks at the status of the Arab Spring over all of the Middle East. {View the slideshow)

Slideshow: Understanding Arabs

I'll be honest. When I first moved to Jordan, I failed to understand why so and so person would do this and that. Deep breaths were only going so far in helping cope with the situation. Then, through some good people in the US Peace Corps, I chanced upon a wonderful book by Margaret Nydell called Understanding Arabs: A Contemporary Guide to Arab Society.

Snowstorm Alexa shuts down the Middle East

When I moved to Amman from New York earlier this year, I consoled myself with the thought, "What I lose in old-fashioned cocktails, I will make up in weather." Little did I know that winters in Amman can feel every bit as cruel as the East Coast in America.  

Here's a slideshow I did on snowstorm Alexa that shut down the Middle East. {View slideshow}

ACTS - Empowering women in Jordan

The ACTS NGO is helping empower women in Jordan in a very imaginative and unique way. The NGO trains women to prepare delicious home cooked meals, which are then delivered to people working in offices and malls. The food is delivered at a fraction of what is available in restaurants. In addition, the meals are much healthier than what is dished up at fast food joints and restaurants. 

Zoomaal: The Arab Crowdfunding Startup

Zoomaal.com

Startups are like the morning dew: there are so many that come at night and disappear slightly under the influence of the first testing rays of the morning sun. I was pleasantly surprised to speak to the team of the Lebanese startup Zoomaal.com. Given their clearly defined roadmap and drive, it appears that they will be around for a while.  Here is a feature article I wrote on Zoomaal.com for Jordan Business Magazine.

Jordan's Path to Silicon Valley

Umniah Plug 'N Play

Can Jordan become the Silicon Valley in the Middle East?

With the new Umniah Plug and Play Ustart initiative, Jordan’s brightest entrepreneurs are receiving global exposure to leaders of Fortune 500 corporations, technology companies and venture capitalists in Silicon Valley. Here's an article I did for Jordan Business Magazine exploring the opportunities for Jordanian entrepreneurs.

It was very revealing to seeing a growing hotbed of innovation (and I never use the phrase "hotbed of innovation" lightly) in a fairly conservative society. {Read the article}

Municipal Elections in Jordan

Today, municipal elections are being held all across Jordan. This is as good a time as any to understand the structure of government in Jordan. It is also a fine time to dig a little deeper than a mere description, because why would you come to this page and not just go to Wikipedia?

The government of Jordan is a constitutional monarchy. The King is the executive.  The government consists of three branches:

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When It's OK For A Parent To Thwack Their Child

When we got a new dog from the Humane Center for Animals in Amman, we were told by a few people that the Middle East is not a good place to have a dog.  Some people, we were told, consider dogs to be unclean animals. 

However, direct experience has shown us otherwise. 

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The Zaatari Refugee Camp

Just one year ago, the Zaatari refugee camp was home to 100 families fleeing from the situation in Syria. Today, it has over 30,000 shelters. The camp is taking in over two thousand people a day.  It is the second largest refugee camp in the world (the largest is in Dadaab, Kenya) and the fourth largest city in Jordan. 

The BBC has a telling image in their feature on Zaatari camp.

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