Jun 30,2020  

AMMAN — Al Hussein Technical University (HTU) on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Sahara Forest Project Foundation (SFP) to collaborate in exchanging technical expertise and technical education and applied training for graduates in the fields of energy, water and food security, with aim of engaging more women in these sectors.

The agreement was signed by HTU President Labib Khadra and SFP Managing Director Kjetil Strake, according to an HTU statement.

In the statement, Khadra noted the importance of this cooperation, which stems from the university’s keenness to develop “real partnerships” with community organisations in order to support the development of a Jordanian talent pool that is “well-versed in modern technologies”, especially in energy, engineering and computing.

The SFP represents a “unique applied training environment” in that it relies on expertise from a diverse set of fields that together enhance Jordan’s self-reliance in energy, water and food, he said.

He added the university believes in the co-creation of advanced curricula through industry partnerships, noting that a dynamic syllabus and practical application is the “best solution” for bridging the gap between the outcomes of higher education and the requirements of the labour market.

For his part, Strake noted that this training programme is of “strategic importance” for the Sahara Forest Project Foundation. It allows the SFP team in Aqaba not only to interact with a pool of highly talented young Jordanian professionals, but also “to be challenged by the students”, he said.

A “crucial aim” of the new training programme is action-oriented measures to increase women’s chances of employment and ensuring that students are able to contribute to the “big shift” needed in order to modernise global agriculture, Strake said.

 Ambassador of Norway to Jordan Tone Allers said in the statement: “I very much welcome the cooperation between the HTU and Sahara Forest Project. Together, these two institutions can be drivers for innovation in the area of environmentally friendly and water efficient food production. Training of students, with a particular focus on women, is the best way to prepare for the shift that is needed.”

The first discussions between HTU and the SFP in regards to establishing this training programme started on the sidelines of the state visit by King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway to Jordan in early March.

The Norwegian king and queen were accompanied by Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide and Minister of Trade and Industry Iselin Nybø. The visit allowed for an “excellent opportunity” to explore new prospects for cooperation between Norwegian and Jordanian partners, the statement said.

The Sahara Forest Project Foundation is a Norwegian non-profit established to enable sustainable and profitable innovation and deployment of environmental technologies within the food, water and energy sectors, according to the statement.