Welcome Back to the UCN Newsletter!

Welcome to the 4th Edition of the U.S- Jordan UCN Newsletter! Despite social distancing and our inability to travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in November and December, UCN members have virtually come together to share their experience and knowledge at the UCN Webinars organized by Virginia Tech. Through our webinars and newsletter, we hope to catch you up on our latest UCN highlights and provide you with a selection of events, funding and scholarship opportunities, relevant articles and others to further promote collaboration among members. We hope that you enjoy this Edition and that you share ideas, news, and achievements with us!


U.S- Jordanian UCN Webinar Series: with the financial support of the United States Embassy – Public Affairs Section, the UCN U.S Secretariat housed at the Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute (VT-LCI) is presenting a series of four (4) webinars:

Upcoming Webinars 

Webinar #3: Virtual Exchange Programming

Virtual Exchange Programming (Dec. 8): educators and institutions around the world are exploring how to make global education possible for young people. Pathways for this include engaging in virtual exchange, piloting programs at a small scale with international partners or tapping into international networks to establish new virtual exchange partners. Join our webinar on December 8 from 9-11 am EST (4-6 pm Jordan) to explore ways to adapt to virtual exchange programming.  Register here.

Welcoming Remarks:
  • Bilal Nsour, Second Secretary-Consul Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan-Washington D.C
  • Don Hempson, Associate Vice President, Outreach and International Affairs, Virginia Tech
  • Patricia Parera, Associate Director for Partnerships and U.S.-UCN Secretariat representative, Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute (VT-LCI), Virginia Tech.
  • Nargiza Ludgate, Assistant Scholar, Office for Global Research Engagement, University of Florida International Center
  • Mark Johnson, Senior Advisor to the UCN, Lecturer University of Wisconsin-Madison. 
  • Paloma Rodriguez, Director, Office for Global Learning, International Center, University of Florida
  • Theresa Johansson, Director, Global Education Office (GEO), Virginia Tech
  • Sarah Martin, Special Program Manager, Global Ties KC
  • Mwaffaq Otoom, Dean of Engineering and Anna Lindh Foundation Badge Awardee, Yarmouk University
  • Pamela Smart-Smith, AdvantageVT-Master’s Pathway Program Director, Language and Culture Institute, Virginia Tech

Webinar #4: The Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education, Technology, Emotional Distress and Lessons Learned

The Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education, Technology, Emotional Distress and Lessons Learned (Dec 15): as the COVID-19 pandemic has spread across the globe, every continent and nearly every country has had to react. Join our webinar on December 15 from 9-11 am EST ( 4-6 pm Jordan) to explore possible solutions and practical ways in which universities, researchers, and other stakeholders can address the obstacles caused by COVID-19 pandemic and how we can move forward from a health and socio-economic perspective. Register here.

Welcoming Remarks:
  • Bilal Nsour, Second Secretary-Consul Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan-Washington D.C
  • Don Hempson, Associate Vice President, Outreach and International Affairs, Virginia Tech
  • Patricia Parera, Associate Director for Partnerships and U.S.-UCN Secretariat representative, Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute (VT-LCI), Virginia Tech.
  • Laura Hungerford, Department Head Department of Population Health Sciences and Professor of Veterinary Public Health and Epidemiology, Virginia Tech
  • Elizabeth Wood, Director, Bachelor of Public Health Program and Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Florida 
  • Carla Finkielstein, Scientific Director, Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at Virginia Tech Carilion and Matthew Hull,  Associate Director, Innovation & Entrepreneurship Program Manager, Institute of Critical Technology and Applied Sciences (ICTAS), Virginia Tech 
  • Laila Dahabiyeh, Assistant Professor of Information Systems Management at the School of Business & Assistant Dean for International Accreditation Affairs, University of Jordan
  • Adnan Atoum, President, Al-Al Bayt University, 
  • Sukaina Alzyoud, Founder, Jordan Tobacco Control Research Group Founder and Consultant,  World Health, The Hashemite University.
  • Venkat Sridhar, Associate Professor, Department of Biological Systems Sciences, Virginia Tech

Past Webinars 

Webinar #1: Internationalization of the campus - Tertiary Education Institutions’ Response to the Pandemic

Internationalization of the campus - Tertiary Education Institutions’ Response to the Pandemic (Nov. 12):  the COVID-19 pandemic poses unprecedented challenges to education. Through this webinar, learn about how universities in Jordan and the U.S have transitioned from in-person to virtual instruction, and how they have operated in this period of adaptation, challenges, and opportunities. Click here to watch the recording
Panelists and moderator in our first webinar on Internationalization of the campus - Tertiary Education Institutions’ Response to the Pandemic. 

Webinar #2: Linking Tertiary Education to the Labor Market

Linking Tertiary Education to the Labor Market (Nov. 17): watch the recording of this webinar to learn more about how tertiary education systems can respond to the challenges of preparing young people to the labor market. Also, learn about the barriers women in Jordan face when participating in the economy and the disconnect between the skills and education women acquire, and those demanded by employers, particularly in the private sector.
Panelists, moderator and Virginia Tech staff in our first webinar on Linking Tertiary Education to the Labor Market. 

Funding Opportunities

December 5, 2020: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation welcomes submissions for proposals that seek Smart Farming solutions that leverage digital technology innovation and that drive positive impact for small scale producer (SSP) entrepreneurs. Proposals should address one or more challenges faced by small scale crop and livestock producers in one or more areas of agricultural advisory, farm management decision support, input supply, finance, insurance, market access and linkages.
December 8, 2020: with a $9,000,000 (EUR) award budget, the European Commission calls for proposals that support pluralism, independence, and resilience of independent media. The specific objective of this call is to strengthen the independence of independent media and journalist serving the public interests in Southern Neighborhood.
December 11, 2020: Canada’s International Development Research Center (IDRC) announces a competition to promote health, sustainability, and equity in Low-and-Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). The competition aims to inspire novel research ideas that have the goal of strengthening policy interventions, population health, environmental sustainability, gender, and social equity in LMICs.  
January 7, 2021: under the FY 2021 Request for Concept Notes for NGO Programs Benefiting Displaced Iraqis and Syrians in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, the U.S Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) calls for concept note submissions that support programs in the area of Humanitarian Protection and Assistance and Interim and Durable Solutions and that focus on the sectors of Protection; Child Protection; Gender-based Violence Prevention and Response; Health; Mental Health and Psychosocial Support; Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Education, Livelihoods, Shelter, Core Relief Items/ Cash-Based Initiatives.
January 8, 2020:  The Office of English Language Programs of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces a competition that supports academic exchanges to improve English teaching capacity around the world and increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries around the world.

Scholarship Opportunites

The Margaret McNamara Education Grants provides scholarships (up to US$15,000) to assist women from developing countries to pursue their education in the U.S and Canada. Eligible applicants include women who are at least 25 years old and are enrolled in eligible universities (certificate, undergraduate, graduate, postdoc students). Deadline: January 15, 2021
The International Peace Research Association Foundation provides two fellowships (up to US$ 5,000) to two women from developing countries in the Global South for graduate studies in the field of peace. Selection is based on financial needs.  Deadline: January 15, 2021
The Daughters For Life Foundation provides scholarships two young women in the Middle East that who are in financial need and who will act as leaders and agents for peaceful social change in their communities. Applications are open to citizens and residents of Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and  Morocco. Deadline: January 15, 2021

The Milepost One Scholarship. Warren Wilson awards up to 25-full tuition Milepost One Scholarships to students with a total family income equal or below $125,000 per year. Both international and DACA students who have been admitted to Warren Wilson College are eligible to apply. Deadline: February 1, 2021.


December 10, 2020 (2:00 pm EST). Join the Chronicle of Philanthropy  on the Tips for Successful Online Meetings with Major Donors. In this webinar, panelists will share ways to prepare for a virtual meeting with donors, make conversations more engaging and follow up to keep the interest alive. 
December 19, 2020 (3:00-4:15 pm EST). Join the World Bank Gender Group and the Education Global Practice on the The Equality Equation: Advancing the Participation of Women and Girls in STEM webinar. This webinar will explore gender gaps in STEM-related education and employment through a global, comprehensive review of evidence and will discuss the drivers and solutions related to the participation of women and girls in STEM.

January 27 (9:00 AM EST): Join the Making Universities a Leading Force for Positive Change webinar organized by University World News in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation. This webinar explores how universities around the world have contributed significantly to address global problems – including the COVID-19 pandemic—through international collaboration and civic engagement in their communities.


New Trends in Grant Applications Read this article by The Chronicle of Philanthropy to learn more about recent trends to streamline grant application including simplifying, recycling, and reusing already submitted documents, initiating conversations (video conference, phone calls, etc.) with grant makers and collaborating with other organizations.

What gets in their way? A close look into why so few women work in Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon Read this article by the World Bank to learn more about the barriers that women in Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon face when accessing the job market. The piece highlights four turning-points in life –getting ready, entering and remaining, getting married, and having a child– that present constraints to women when entering and remaining in the labor market. It also underlines the importance of promoting policy interventions that recognize the challenges women face in the job market.  If you are interested in this topic, you can also read the article If urban transport in MENA was safe for women, economies would prosper, which discusses the impact of a lack of reliable, affordable and safe transportation on women accepting jobs in Jordan.
How Sport can help keep children engaged during COVID-19: Innovations by South African S4D organizations Read this UNICEF Blog to learn about how eight Sport for Development (SD4) organizations in South African have developed innovative responses to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic and have promoted education, social inclusion, child protection and empowerment for children during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Why protecting, promoting essential services for women and children is now more critical than ever The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated health, social and economic disparities around the globe and set back 25 of progress made up to date. Read this World Bank Blog article to learn more about how the pandemic has reversed gains in reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and nutrition and how countries must continue to protect and promote these gains.

Melinda Gates: Will the word be generous enough to defeat COVID-19?  Read Melinda Gate’s remarks at the Paris Peace Forum on November 12, 2020, in which she highlights the importance of not leaving developing countries behind when tacking the COVID-19 pandemic and brings attention to the role of wealthier nations to give money to improve the health of people around the world.
Accessibility Tips for Zoom and Other Virtual Programs 
Read this article to learn more about recommendations of how to make virtual meetings accessible. You can also watch the symposium organized by the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange, a project of the U.S Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs dedicated to increasing the participation of people with disabilities in international exchange between the United States and other countries.

UCN newsletter submissions wanted

If you would like to share news, articles, funding and research opportunities, or tell us about university exchange programs or study abroad opportunities on our December issue please contact Patricia Parera, editor at or Fernanda Gutierrez, graduate assistant at by December 15 2020. 

About us

The U.S.-Jordan University Cooperation Network (UCN) aims to strengthen strategic and long-term cooperation among U.S. and Jordanian universities to advance joint research, expand academic exchanges, and strengthen the quality of higher education and research in their countries. By enhancing opportunities for inter-university cooperation, the UCN seeks to expand mutually-beneficial research and education in support of economic and social development objectives. To deepen and sustain such cooperation, the UCN also encourages joint capacity building and professional development.

  • The U.S. network secretariat is located at Virginia Tech – contact person: Patricia Parera (
  • The Jordanian network secretariat is located at the University of Jordan – contact person: Dr. Hadeel Yaseen ( 

To learn more about the UCN and its members, please visit our website. You can also visit the UCN Language and Culture Institute website.

Member universities

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