News and Events
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