|Arab Studies Program, Class of 2018
|Certificate: International Business Diplomacy|
|Summer 2017: Public Affairs Consultant with the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan|
|Favorite Class: Prison Literature with Professor Mohammad al-Ahmad|
|On-Campus Activities: Junior Centennial Fellow with HE Former Foreign Minister of Jordan Nasser Judeh; Communications Liaison with the GU MENA Forum; Alumni Director with the Graduate Student Government; Communications Director with the Graduate Student Government; Offline and Online Engagement and Outreach Consultant for Agora Partnerships /Entrepreneurship Class|
Work with Startups in Amman
by Xander Causwell
Alaa Mufleh was born and raised in the beautiful city of Amman, Jordan, and came to Georgetown to pursue her dream of becoming Jordan’s first female Prime Minister. She recalls once hearing someone say “Presidents go to Georgetown,” and thus thought attending the institution was an appropriate choice for someone of her ambition.
Mufleh also had more immediate motivations for attending Georgetown. In 2015 she was serving as an Alumni Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, where she worked closely with “over 7,500 of Jordan’s best and brightest” to help change their lives for the better. She knew, however, that if she wanted to be better positioned to help her people, she would need “solid and interdisciplinary training in the politics, culture, history, and economics” specific to her native region. After an encouraging conversation with an alumna of the Arab Studies program at Georgetown, Mufleh decided to apply. “Considering I was already in love with the Hilltop, when I visited the Arab Studies Program website, I realized that it was exactly when I needed. I remember people thought I was insane to have only applied for one graduate program, but I knew what I wanted, and I knew I wanted to pursue a degree in Arab Studies from Georgetown.”
After 2 rewarding years at SFS, Mufleh feels confident that she made the correct decision. She says that each interaction, both on and off campus, has been a learning opportunity. She feels particularly grateful for the “continuous support and mentorship” provided by Professor Fida Adely throughout her time here. In addition to working as a Public Affairs Consultant with the U.S. Embassy in Amman during the summer of 2017, Mufleh conducted research with Professor Adely and Professor Betty Anderson “to understand how the residents of Amman make use of new urban spaces and take advantage of the new job and leisure opportunities, while still finding connections to family neighborhoods and networks.”
Considering her extensive student engagement, Mufleh clearly sought to maximize her own network at Georgetown. She served as a Junior Centennial Fellow with HE Former Foreign Minister of Jordan Nasser Judeh. She was also Communications Liaison with the Georgetown Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Forum, and Communications Director for the Graduate Student Government. As part of an course on entrepreneurship, Mufleh also worked as an Offline and Online Engagement and Outreach Consultant for Agora Partnerships.
Through her courses on campus, Mufleh diversified both her academic and professional interests. She came to Georgetown interested in two topics: terrorism and entrepreneurship and innovation. “However,” she says, “the interdisciplinary nature of my program and the fact that I was also pursuing a certificate in International Business Diplomacy led me to make a connection between both areas of interest, and develop a niche, which is now my main area of interest: Innovation in Terrorism.” Mufleh’s favorite course, though, was Prison Literature with Professor Mohammad al-Ahmad, which she credits with changing the way she views the world and teaching her the importance of that genre of literature in “understanding human suffering.” Mufleh says, “I would take it again in a heartbeat!”
The ideas that Mufleh has grappled with throughout her time in the Arab Studies program has made her reflect on the purpose and direction of her life:
“There is always the option of living an unconscious life, living on the surface and not willing to go deeper than the mundane day-to-day activities where it is safe and easy. My time here, however, has taught me that there is also the option of swimming out into the deep end, loving ourselves and others while empowering them to lead rewarding lives. I have learned that when you bring consciousness to anything, things begin to shift and that is how you inspire and initiate change. If we want to change things we need to repeatedly and systematically choose consciousness. My time here has prepared me to become a better advocate, counselor, risk-assessor, leader, a sister and a friend to those in need.”
With her SFS academic training and her personal drive, Mufleh departs Georgetown for the next stage of her career. She will be working as a social media officer at the Kuwait-America Foundation and is exploring career opportunities with the World Bank Group. She was also recently chosen to be part of an all-Arab women team to climb Mount Everest, and Mount Aconcagua—both in the beginning of 2019.
Though Mufleh has such large ambitions ahead of her, she looks back most fondly at the simpler things from her time at Georgetown. She will miss walking through the “Pearly Gates” on 37th and O St., seeing “Healy Hall’s majestic clock tower” every day as she enters the campus, watching the sunrise from LAU’s 5th floor as the sun slowly shines on Healy, and the colors of the trees in the fall. She will also miss Georgetown’s farmer’s market on Wednesdays, walking across Red Square to get to ICC, and the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies. But most importantly, Mufleh will miss the community, “I will miss all of the amazing people, friends, Professors, and mentors and all of those who turned into family who have shaped the person I am today. To you all—I am eternally grateful.”
Mufleh advises incoming SFS graduate students that the school’s rankings constitute only one part of the story: “You’ll have to come here to know why this school is the best in the world!” She also encourages current students to “go out and explore.” DC, she says, is at the center of it all, and there is always something happening. “I was always out and about in DC, and now pride myself on my ability to serve as a tour guide!”