In Honor of Queen Rania, Harvard's Women's Leadership Board Offers Scholarships to Jordanian Students

May 03, 2007

(Office of Her Majesty – Press Department – Boston) - The lush campus of Harvard University exceeds the beauty of pictures, and the challenging learning curriculum there exceeds expectations. Thanks to two fellowships announced by the Women's Leadership Board (WLB) at Harvard in honor of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah's visit, a number of Jordanian students will soon be able to experience everything that the university has to offer.

The fellowships are for Jordanian undergraduate women to study at Harvard Summer School, which caters to students from over 50 countries. The program will allow the selected students to expand their academic experience, benefit from exchange and exposure to different countries and cultures, and enhance their leadership skills through special seminars in communication, strategic thinking and networking.

"Thanks to these summer internships, which combine education with empowerment, bright young Jordanian women are set to gain valuable leadership skills… learning from women like you and perhaps sharing some of their stories," said Queen Rania. "Last summer… I spoke of the 'reverse domino effect,' where every woman lifts another up and passes the gift of strength on. That’s what you are doing, and for that I thank you."

The WLB noted their eagerness in having an increased number of young Jordanian women amongst their student body because it will serve to increase awareness of contemporary Jordan and the role women play in the country today.

The Jordanian Harvard Summer Fellows will live in campus dormitories staffed with proctors and advisors. A minimum of two students to a maximum of six students will be selected per year to participate. The scholarships will be available for at least three years.

Also during her visit to Harvard, Queen Rania met with faculty of the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). The faculty members briefed Her Majesty about the WIDE World (Wide-Scale Interactive Development for Educators) initiative that developed at the HGSE, and may soon be exported to Jordan. The interactive on-line courses were created to help a large number of educators understand how to apply proven research on effective teaching in their own workplace.

WIDE World includes programs for teachers, coaches, and school leaders; it support collaborative teamwork towards great teaching that engages students, dramatically enhances performance, and develops school systems as coherent learning organizations.

Her Majesty, who noted her interest in bringing the program to Jordan, discussed some of the advancements taking place in the education sector in the Kingdom. She referred to Jordan as a regional success story, saying the Kingdom is working on creating the right environment and integrating technology in the classrooms, but "teachers are the ones that bring it all to life," she said.

The program will serve to integrate the new educational technologies to improve teaching and learning, a mission that is in line with Her Majesty's mandate to improve the capacity of teachers in using technology.

The Jordanian education system boasts the lowest illiteracy rate for girls in the Arab world, and is continuously adapting innovative methods of teaching and technology to further advance the quality of education.

"There is no doubt in my mind, that Education is the ‘E’ in Empowerment and Equality—which is why I am particularly proud of the strides we are making in Jordan in educating our women and girls… [and] that we have achieved gender equality in schools and have the lowest female illiteracy rate in the region," the Queen had said earlier.

The WIDE World program has already started to go global. The faculty spoke of their experience in China where they are currently in stage three of implementing the program.

Regarding expanding it to Jordan, one of the faculty members said, "The Jordanian education framework is very impressive and thoughtfully conceived and we look forward to exploring ways of working together."

More about Harvard Summer School

The Harvard Summer School offers a full curriculum of arts and science courses taught by Harvard faculty. Courses are provided for college credit and follow an intensive course schedule. The students may enroll for a four week or eight week session and will undertake academic programs customized for their career aspirations and interests. Supplementing this core academic program, the young women will be required to participate in a series of leadership skill building classes and activities designed by the Women and Public Policy Program with support from the Women’s Leadership Board. These sessions will focus on communications, critical thinking, decision making, and negotiation skills.

The summer fellows must meet all requirements for admission to the four week or eight week Harvard program. Candidates will be selected with preference to women with high academic merit and demonstrated leadership capacity. Students must be completely proficient in English and capable of participating in a highly interactive classroom.

All summer school tuition, room and board, expenses for books, and a modest stipend will be covered by the Women’s Leadership Board. The deadline for the application is June 10, 2007.

More about WIDE World (Wide-Scale Interactive Development for Educators)

WIDE World is a coach-supported online and on-site professional development program developed at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The purpose is to help large numbers of educators understand how to apply proven research on effective teaching in their own workplace.

WIDE World includes programs for teachers, coaches, and school leaders. The programs support collaborative teamwork for teaching that engages students, dramatically enhances performance, and develops school systems as coherent learning organizations

Courses are led by an instructor and a group of experienced coaches. Coaches work with an online study group of about 10 individuals or small teams who then assess the impact of professional development programs to guide further planning.

More about the Women's Leadership Board

The Women's Leadership Board is an international group of women with substantial experience in government, private enterprise, and the nonprofit sector. It is one of the most influential and prestigious volunteer women's bodies in the world. Its members are drawn from the most senior levels of government, business, medicine, and the non-profit sectors in over 25 countries, with the aim to advance issues related to women globally through leadership, advocacy and dialogue on public policy.

They advise the Dean of the Kennedy School on policy issues in areas where they possess particular expertise and offer practical perspectives on the activities and plans of the Women and Public Policy Program and the Council of Women World Leaders.