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2023 Franklin Forum: A Reunion and New Connections

2023 Franklin Forum: A Reunion and New Connections

On September 23, 2023, Franklin University Switzerland hosted a reunion and forum—The Education Mosaic: A World of Perspectives in Amman, Jordan. Over 60 attendees participated in the event,  including alumni, parents, friends of the university, and distinguished  guests, for a series of three roundtables covering career readiness, the  evolving paradigms of resource mobilization, and the lifelong impact of  academic travel. 

A first of its kind, the forum presented the  institution with the opportunity to connect and rekindle relationships  with its large body of alumni and their families from across the Middle  East, and it gave the institution the chance to listen and learn.

Distinguished panelists included a  former minister, entrepreneurs, educators, and alumni from the region.  Their insights were particularly enlightening for Franklin's mission as a liberal arts institution where nationalities converge, and an  interdisciplinary curriculum is informed by its stakeholders' diverse  perspectives and knowledge.

A key takeaway included the importance  of curriculum to reflect society's needs. During the first panel on  career readiness, Vice President of Admissions and Enrollment Management  Lucila Perez Mollo led a discussion on how a liberal arts education can provide an in-depth understanding of disciplines and how they relate to  each other, thereby preparing students with the ability to tackle  complex challenges, such as climate change, of particular importance in Jordan, the second driest country in the world. Panelists and the  audience stressed that fostering the right values and soft skills was  paramount in developing students to become humans who can interact well,  learn from, and support each other to improve their communities.

In the second panel, moderated by  Director of Advancement and Alumni Nickolas Neibauer, attendees shared longstanding giving traditions that include the concepts of Zakat or  Waqf and the unique importance of generosity in the region as  encapsulated in the poetry by Khalil Gibran. The panel also shared how  Jordan and neighboring countries have realized the tremendous value of  their youth.

Finally, Professor Emeritus Armando  Zanecchia led the final panel on Academic Travel. During this panel, at  least a half dozen alumni in the audience shared how Franklin's unique Academic Travel had been paramount to their liberal arts experience.  Attendees also shared the lasting value of travel and its importance as  an example of experiential learning.

At an evening reunion, Professor  Zanecchia announced an upcoming Academic Travel trip to Jordan in the  coming year. FUS graduates from Jordan and Saudi Arabia then showed a short video featuring components of their recent academic travels.  President Samuel Martín-Barbero and Chairman of the Board Kim Hildebrant  were delighted to host former Board of Trustee member Ammar Malhas,  along with the Swiss Jordanian Business Club Chairman and former  Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to Switzerland, His Excellency Mr. Adnan Talhouni. Finally, Chairman Hildebrant offered his  special thanks to the Dakkak family for supporting the event.

“Moving forward, this modality represents a reunion reinvented and a  powerful tool to provide alumni and supporters with an avenue to not only come together to celebrate Franklin and memories but learn from each other and support Franklin to grow.” -- President Samuel  Martín-Barbero

2023 Franklin Forum: 
A Reunion and New Connections
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