UND is in talks with Al-Hussein Bin Talal University in Jordan to bring more foreign students here.
AHU's president, Ali Al-Hroot, told UND officials Thursday during his visit that he's especially interested in UND's graduate program in education. It's also worthwhile, he said, to have young Jordanians come here for a few weeks to meet people and see how they think. "The culture of things now," he said, "it's very important."AHU, named after Jordan's late King Hussein, was founded nine years ago near the town of Ma'an in the southern part of the kingdom. Enrollment is about 7,000, with many coming from neighboring Saudi Arabia.
Al-Hroot said he expects 4,000 more this next school year. If there were a partnership, he said, he figured he could send about 30 students UND's way in the first year.
AHU has ties with many other universities in the Middle East but none as far away as the United States.
Al-Hroot wants a partner here, he said, because of the strong reputation American universities enjoy in the world. He said he expects stronger enrollment because of this.
For its part, AHU would offer training in the Arabic language and an opportunity to study in Jordan.
UND currently has partnerships with universities in 16 foreign countries from as close to home as Canada to as far as India and Cameroon.
A graduate of Indiana University in Bloomington, Al-Hroot said he'll be exploring partnerships at his alma mater and several other universities later in his trip as well.
Other areas of interest for AHU include nursing, engineering and computer science.
Thursday, Al-Hroot visited with Ray Lagasse, director of international programs, and Josh Riedy, dean of outreach programs, among others.
There is a possibility that few Jordanian students actually would set foot in Grand Forks.
Riedy told Al-Hroot that UND excels in distance learning, a field it's had to develop to serve a very rural state. "Serving students abroad," he said, "is no different than teaching a student that's a two-hour drive away."
It depends on how Al-Hroot's department heads feel about students not having regular face-to-face sessions, Riedy said, but UND offers everything from instant messaging online to video conferencing facilities.
Al-Hroot will meet with more UND faculty and staff today, including Daniel Rice, the dean of the College of Education and Human Development.