Irbid is the second largest city in Jordan, a teeming metropolis with a population of more than half a million, and home to [b]Dr. Mahmoud Al-Kailani[/b], head of the Department of Marketing in the city's Yarmouk University.
During any other summer, Dr. Al-Kailani, a professor of business and marketing, would be in the city with his wife and four children, preparing for the fall semester. Instead, he is 8,000 miles away in the relatively small town of Bridgewater, where he is a visiting lecturer at BSU.
"It is quite a change to be in a place that is so comparatively quiet," said Dr. Al-Kailani, who arrived here in May and will leave in mid-August. "It's an adjustment, but I'm enjoying my stay here, and it's made easier because my son is here with me and we use Skype every day to talk to our family in Jordan."
Dr. Al-Kailani is teaching in the Ricciardi School of Business as part of a faculty exchange program between BSU and Yarmouk University, which began in 2006. In the first summer session, he taught a course in international global marketing -- his area of expertise -- and currently is teaching a "Foundations of Marketing" course.
When he was an undergraduate at Yarmouk University, his career plans were focused in a different direction. "Initially, I hadn't considered a career in university teaching and planned instead to join the family business, which is in retailing," said Dr. Al-Kailani.
However, after completing two years of service in the army, and earning an MBA from the University of Jordan, he decided he would pursue a career in education, and began teaching at Hashemite University in Zarqa, Jordan. "I knew quickly that I had made the right choice," he said. "My field is global marketing, which is dynamic, ever-changing and driving economies world-wide. It's a subject I find endlessly fascinating."
After two years at Hashemite, Dr. Al-Kailani returned to his undergraduate alma mater as a faculty member. He taught there for six years before heading to United States to earn his PhD in business at the University of California in San Diego, which he called "possibly the most beautiful city one can imagine."
Although his stay in Massachusetts is relatively brief, he and his son, Saif, have taken the time to visit local sites of cultural and historic interests, with help from BSU faculty and administrators.
[b]Dr. Jabbar Al-Obaidi[/b], professor of communication studies and director of the Center for Middle East Studies, took them to Plymouth, where they saw the Mayflower ship, and [b]Dr. Peter Sietins[/b], associate professor and chairman of the Department of Management, who taught at Yarmouk last summer, took them to visit Springfield. "We've had a wonderful introduction to the area thanks to them," said Dr. Al-Kailani.
Dr. Al-Kailani said he is grateful for the opportunities he has had to study and teach in the United States and he appreciates how much modern communication makes separation from family easier. "Technology is a great tool," he said. "In a way, Skype enables us to forget that 8,000 miles separate us."
Further, particularly in international marketing, such technological advances have enormous impact on commerce, said Dr. Al-Kailani.
"In many ways, we are one very large society, no matter where we live," he said. "We are able to advertise anywhere to promote our services and products and we can purchase and sell goods across oceans and borders. A new age in business has dawned and its influence increases every day. Whether I'm teaching in Irbid or in Bridgewater, I enjoy sharing the excitement of these developments with my students and their impact on our lives."
Dr. Al-Obaidi, who played a central role in developing BSU's partnerships with higher education institutions in the Middle East, said the university is proud of its engaging partnerships with Yarmouk University, Tafila Technical University, and Alra'a Studies Center. Dr. Al-Obaidi recently returned from Jordan, leaving behind four BSU students who are participating in a six-week Arabic language summer program at Yarmouk.
"These relationships have made the mobility of students and faculty exchanges and joint research a reality," he said. "I am especially grateful for my colleagues Drs. Peter Sietins and Mahmoud Al-Kailani for demonstrating and implementing a practical model for teaching and learning that overcomes the so-called cultural, traditional, and linguistic barriers." (David K. Wilson, '71, Office of University Advancement)