From Sept. 28-30, 2021, Bryn Mawr hosted Katy Whiting, managing director of Sijal Institute in Amman, Jordan, and Bryn Mawr’s partner since 2018 in offering the Arabic Language and Interdisciplinary Learning Program (ALIL). In collaboration with the Bi-Co Arabic Program and Global Bryn Mawr, each summer, Bi-Co students study Arabic at Sijal Institute, take a content course taught by Bryn Mawr faculty, and complete an optional externship, nested within ongoing Arabic study, with a local organization. The program has continued to evolve during the pandemic, with instruction and externships taking place remotely. With year five now being planned, we hope students will be back in person next summer.
Whiting’s visit to campus included a lecture titled, “No Camels on the Website: Intercultural Education in Jordan,” attended by more than 25 Bi-Co students, faculty and staff. Whiting’s discussion of key concepts in global learning—including Orientialism, cultural humility, and confronting white saviorism—reflected her extensive experience teaching Arabic and developing curricular materials at the K-12 and collegiate levels as well as her graduate training in applied linguistics and teaching Arabic as a foreign language. After the talk, Professor Manar Darwish, who is faculty director of the Bryn Mawr-Sijal partnership and Matthew Jameson, who teaches in the program and manages the partnership, joined Whiting to share program information for prospective students. A reception in the Cloisters followed.
During her stay, Whiting met with Bi-Co colleagues for several planning discussions and a dinner to celebrate the accomplishments of the partnership to date as well as the opportunity to be together in person.
Sijal Institute is an institute of Arabic language and culture founded by scholars of Arab culture, history, and society. They offer intensive instruction at all levels for students seeking to learn Arabic in Jordan. The Institute also acts as a hub of intellectual and cultural events, bringing together scholars, artists, and specialists across a broad range of expertise and disciplines, for seminars, workshops and special programs.
This spring, Education Professor Alice Lesnick, who leads Global Bryn Mawr as associate dean for global engagement, will be faculty host for a BMC alum trip to Jordan. First stop? Sijal Institute!