Internship in Jordan gives new perspective

By By Brady Nord and By Brady Nord

By Brady Nord

I just returned from living in Amman, Jordan for the past four months and I can’t speak highly enough of the amazing opportunity. It is interesting being an American male watching the constant conflict in the Middle East and then voluntarily placing yourself within it. I automatically assumed that whatever horrible account being aired on CNN or Fox News Channel would be occurring daily, and to my alarm, this became my biggest false pretense of the Middle East.

I arrived in Amman at the beginning of May, just when the annual wind and sand storms were ending and the average temperatures were inching close to 104 degrees. In Amman, I worked within the Jordanian government’s Ministry of Social Development, and more specifically, with the government’s legal council. Each day, four Jordanians and I tackled issues related to human rights and civil responsibilities. My daily interactions were bridging the communication gaps and developing programs with nongovernment organizations such as the United Nations or the Human Rights Watch.

Many of the biggest problems we dealt with involved Iraq. I helped facilitate communication between the Jordanian government and the United Nations in accordance with human rights violations occurring on the Iraqi border. One imminent issue dealt with human trafficking. Through organized crime in Iraq, children were being purchased and given a fake identification issued by the Iraqi government. Many times, these children were sold for adoption or killed for their organs to be sold on the black market. Regardless of the severity of these crimes and the obvious negative association with them, I found the experience to be life-changing, and it helped me gain an entirely new perspective to the challenges that other countries deal with.

Among all the truly amazing experiences I had, working with abandoned children in the Hussein Foundation was by far the most rewarding. Once a week, I met with children ranging from infants to 6 years old. I would play games with them and help them with schooling. These children are smart, happy and loving individuals. In the middle of a war-torn region where most were left with nothing, it was a true blessing to see the genuine happiness of so many children. I cannot speak highly enough of the integrity and hard work of employees in the Ministry of Social Development.

Along with the amazing work opportunities, I was able to see two wonders of the world and much of the Middle East. I traveled throughout Jordan visiting Petra, the Dead Sea, Jeresh and the Red Sea. Later, I visited Cairo, where I rode camels through Giza. This was anything but a hostile or perilous summer. There was not a week that went by without an invitation to a local dinner or an Islamic wedding. Now, thanks to the Hinckley Institute of Politics, I watch the news with a whole new perspective, knowing that just as Britney Spears or the latest WWE wrestling star doesn’t accurately represent America, terrorism doesn’t emblematize Jordan.