You are here

Prominent academic, feminist advocate Rula Quawas mourned

By Suzanna Goussous - Jul 27,2017 - Last updated at Jul 27,2017

Rula Quawas (Photo courtesy of University of Jordan)

AMMAN — “Build your own power bridge; say no to silence and always speak the truth,” was one line out of her tens of thousands aimed at improving society, the educational system and women’s status.

Students, activists, professors, researchers, politicians and intellectuals on Wednesday mourned the loss of a prominent figure in academia, literature, feminism and advocacy Professor Rula Quawas.

Quawas was an associate professor of American Literature and Feminist Theory at the University of Jordan (UJ) for over 25 years.

“Wise women build generations… 57 years spent in raising generations, with a significant presence on the national and academic levels in Jordan,” Audeh Quawas, the professor’s brother, wrote on social media.

UJ vice president for the Faculty of Humanities, Ahmad Majdoubeh posted: “Today, the family of the Department of English, the Faculty of Foreign Languages and the University of Jordan has lost one of its pillars, Professor Rula Quawas, who devoted her entire life to her students, her department, her faculty, her university and her calling.”

As a child she attended the Ahliyyah School for Girls. She received her bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Jordan in 1981, and continued her studies to obtain her master’s degree in the same discipline from UJ in 1991, later pursuing her PhD in American Literature from the University of North Texas in 1995.

UJ President Azmi Mahafzah said: “Jordan has lost an intellectual, an academic and a thinker. A person who educated generations and carried the message of power and knowledge. A professor who dedicated her life to teaching and spreading the word.”

Quawas was the founder of the Women’s Studies Centre at UJ, the founder of the Knowledge Production Unit at the Jordanian National Commission for Women, and the first professor to introduce and teach feminist courses at UJ, shedding light on American and Arab feminism, and contemporary Arab and Arab-American female writers.

“You have to wake up every single day and remind yourselves this: You are empowered, and because you are empowered, you stand tall,” she told her students at an event last year.

“The minute students leave the classroom, they are surrounded by the community, fears, marginalisation, othering… You have to listen to the music of your heart, your inner voice, which is silenced by the community, media and so many forces against you,” she urged.

Quawas always encouraged women to speak up and to fight for equal rights.

“It’s all about the mindset and the mentality of entitlement,” she previously told The Jordan Times, encouraging women to “live against the mainstream”.

Professor Barkuzar Dubbati from UJ’s English Department wrote: “She was so full of life and passion. She was kind to everyone and such an inspiration.”

Her students recalled her role in “building bridges and empowering young people”.

“You stood for girls, you stood for us all,” Mohammad Obeidat, one of her students, posted.

Another student said “she had a beautiful face that smiled to everyone”, adding that she was a strong person who taught countless women about their true value. 

“She always quoted Rumi by saying: ‘You are not a drop in the ocean, you are the entire ocean in a drop’, she will always be remembered.”

In April of this year, Quawas participated in the Jordan University Model United Nations conference on campus, which was held under the theme of the empowerment of young people and women, where she inspired more than 200 school and university students with her motivational speech on global citizenship and the role of the youth.


Her students vowed to carry her mission forward and continue the fight for equal rights for everyone. 

35 users have voted.

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
2 + 1 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.


Get top stories and blog posts emailed to you each day.