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Executive director of Fulbright Commission in Jordan McNamara retires

By JT - Jun 01,2020 - Last updated at Jun 01,2020

Alain McNamara (Photo courtesy of Fulbright Commission in Jordan)

AMMAN — After serving as the executive director of the Fulbright Commission in Jordan since its inception in 1994, Alain McNamara has announced his retirement.  

McNamara established the Jordanian-American Commission for Educational Exchange, also known as the Binational Fulbright Commission in Jordan, under a bilateral agreement in 1993, according to a statement from the commission.

McNamara came to the commission with extensive senior management experience in multicultural, international environments promoting and administering educational exchange and higher education development programmes. 

He has been associated with Jordan’s development since 1976, the statement said.

In 1994, McNamara left his post as vice president and most-senior field representative at AMIDEAST, an American non-profit organisation promoting cooperation and understanding between the Middle East and the United States.

In the early 1980s, McNamara had served as director of the AMIDEAST office in Amman and worked as the country director in Egypt immediately before returning to Jordan in 1994.

McNamara received degrees from the University of Aix-en-Provence in France and from Georgetown University in Washington, DC. 

During his time at the commission, McNamara administered more than 700 awards given to Jordanians to gain academic degrees and teach or conduct research in the US, and welcomed more than 1,208 American students to Jordan under different programmes, the statement said.  

As envisioned by Sen. William J. Fulbright, these grantees “have experienced another culture firsthand and established warm relationships in each other’s countries”.

“Over the past 25 years since Alain McNamara arrived to Jordan, we have become really good friends and professional colleagues. In my personal and professional communication with him, I was really impressed by his integrity, honesty, devotion, expertise and dedication to his job, with a real high sense of commitment and love for both countries that are involved in this partnership of the Fulbright programme,” Fulbright said. 

“With these unique characteristics, my friend Alain did a magnificent job in bringing Jordan and the Unites States of America together, and in fostering mutual cooperation and understanding between our two countries,” he added.

Founding Fulbright Commission Board Chair and Chancellor of Philadelphia University Marwan Kamal said: “I really want to thank Mr McNamara for what he did and what he has contributed to the cooperation between American and Jordanian universities and academic institutions.  While we will miss our friend Alain, we do wish him and his family happiness and a good future with health, prosperity and peace of mind.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and related preventive lockdown measures, the commission was unable to hold planned events to honour McNamara and his family as they prepare to move back to the United States in the coming month.

“Over the past 26 years as the executive director of the Binational Fulbright Commission, I had the privilege to foster the expansion of access that took place in the annual awards competitions in Jordan. These opportunities [for graduate study and research in the US] were no longer limited to the major universities and city centres but were made accessible throughout the Kingdom,” McNamara said. 

“Another achievement of which I’m proud was partnering with the Government of Jordan to establish a JD8 million endowment for Jordanian scholars and students that I hope will continue to be an investment in the people of Jordan for many years to come,” he added.

“Over the years, we built a solid reputation. I am proud to see Fulbright alums leading in academia, government, culture and business in both countries.  I wish them continued success!”

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