Keith Taylor, Ph.D., president of Gannon University, returned to Jordan yet again this year to formalize Gannon’s partnership in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with American University of Madaba (AUM), located in Madaba, Jordan. AUM is the first non-profit university in Jordan and a first Catholic, American university in the region. The university’s cornerstone was blessed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009.

Dr. Taylor and Andy Novobilski, Ph.D., Gannon’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, met with His Royal Highness Prince Mired bin Raad, chairman of the AUM Board of Trustees, and with Prof. Dr. George H. Hazboun, president of American University of Madaba, to sign the agreement and discuss the next steps in what is evolving into a productive academic and cultural partnership between Gannon University and AUM and the Latin Patriarchate in Madaba, Jordan.

“Gannon University is very grateful for the opportunity to work collaboratively with an emerging world-class university and partner such as American University of Madaba,” Dr. Taylor said. “We are excited about supporting AUM’s growth toward becoming a premier Catholic and American university located in the Middle East and the possibilities this partnership holds for student and faculty exchange, shared academic program development and delivery, enhancing diversity and building cultural awareness on campus, and connecting our two communities through service as Catholic universities.”

The agreement is another step toward Gannon’s vision of educating socially-responsible global citizens. The partnership is built upon Gannon’s faculty and student presence in Jordan and partnership with the Latin Patriarch schools in Jordan during the past four years.

Gannon students have participated in faculty-led academic and service-learning experiences in Jordaneach summer, and the partners intend for this to translate to exchange of students between Gannon and AUM in the coming year. “This aspect of the partnership has many benefits, including strengthening Gannon’s and AUM’s initiative to provide students with opportunities for study abroad and international service-learning, professional education and internships,” Taylor said. “We are also excited to have the privilege to welcome students from American University of Madaba to share the best of Gannon, Erie and the U.S. culture, and to add to the cultural diversity that we have worked hard to nurture on our campus.”

The exchange will also extend to the faculty, staff and administrators at Gannon and AUM to facilitate the exchange of ideas related to teaching pedagogy, collaborative research, educational technology applications, and the holistic development of students. Gannon’s experience and long history as an exceptional American university and tradition as a Catholic university will benefit AUM, and the expertise at AUM in developing cultural awareness, interfaith dialogue, and commitment to educating students on a global scale will be invaluable for Gannon’s evolution.

“There are endless possibilities from the collaboration between two Catholic universities committed to developing students in mind, body, and spirit,” Taylor added.

Faculty from Gannon’s School of Education and School of Business are currently in Jordan living the partnership and setting the stage for the first Gannon student to complete a full semester abroad at AUM in the spring of 2013.

More about Gannon University

Gannon University is a Catholic, Diocesan university in Erie, Pa., offering nearly 100 academic programs, including doctoral degree programs in physical therapy and organizational learning and leadership. Gannon enrolls more than 4,000 academically talented and diverse students.

Gannon University is dedicated to excellence in teaching, scholarship and service. Inspired by the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, the University offers a comprehensive, values-centered learning experience that emphasizes faith, leadership, inclusiveness, and social responsibility.

Dr. Keith Taylor was named Gannon’s seventh president in May, 2011. Prior to that, he served as the University’s provost and vice president for academic affairs.

More about American University of Madaba

American University of Madaba (AUM) was founded by the Latin Patriarchate in Jordan, which in 2005 received a license to establish the university from the Higher Education Council of Jordan. The historical city of Madaba is located 35km from Jordan’s capital city of Amann and 60km from Karak.

Pope Benedict XVI, during a pontifical pilgrimage and pastoral visit to Jordan in 2009, blessed the university’s cornerstone.

AUM strives to become a pioneering, distinguished, and forward-looking institution of higher education, capable of contributing to the human, socio-economic, cultural, and professional development of Jordan and the surrounding region. AUM also is focused on instilling in its graduates the knowledge, skills, and training necessary for them to serve as outstanding leaders and professionals. The university offers a teaching and learning environment structured according to the highest international standards.

This article was originally published on Oct. 30, 2012 on