Al-Balqa Applied University Implementing the Royal Vision in water management by transferring the distinguished Dutch model

Al-Anbat -
Al-Zoubi: Strengthening cooperation in the field of water engineering and technology between the Kingdom of Jordan and the Kingdom of the Netherlands through joint research projects.
Al-Balqa Applied University followed with interest the visit of His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein to the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 2018, the subsequent contacts, and the talk of His Majesty King Abdullah with high-ranking officials in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, specifically about the water situation in Jordan and the possibility of benefiting from the leading Dutch experience in this field. According to Jordan Times (March 22, 2018), His Majesty said "Jordan is the second water-poorest country in the world. And indeed, the water situation in our two countries could not be more different. But I say that no two countries better understand the profound impact of water management on humanity’s future. So I think there are some very fruitful areas for our combined knowledge.”
As an immediate response to the Royal Vision, Al-Balqa Applied University took upon itself the implementation of a pioneering plan in the field of water engineering and technology, as the university continued to build effective and sustainable partnerships with Dutch institutions, and carried out a number of initiatives in this field with the aim of alleviating water-related pressures at the governmental and societal levels. One of the most important institutions that the university has been able to network with is the IHE-Delft, Institute of Water Education
Al_Balqa Applied University President, Prof. Abdallah S. Al-Zoubi, met online with IHE-Delft Business Director Prof. Johan Aad van Dijk. The main purpose of the meeting is to follow up on the progress of one of the most important developments and research projects funded by the Dutch government. Through the Dutch Organization for Internationalization of Education (NUFFIC) within the Dutch Knowledge Program (OKP) under the title "Promoting the development of skills for wastewater treatment and reuse in agriculture in the Higher Technical and Vocational Education and Training Program in Jordan (WATRA)” with a value of approximately nine hundred thousand Euros.
Prof. Dijk thanked Al-Balqa Applied University and expressed his happiness to meet His Majesty during His Majesty's visit to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Further, Prof. Dijk expressed the desire of the IHE-Delft to strengthen the relationship with educational institutions in Jordan and the Middle East, especially with pioneer and active institutions such as Al-Balqa Applied University. Further, he expressed his gratitude for the great cooperation shown by the Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands in Jordan to facilitate building bridges of cooperation between IHE-Delft and Jordanian institutions. Finally, Prof. Dijk expressed his kind appreciation for the efforts of Al-Balqa Applied University in sponsoring internationalization and knowledge exchange towards sustainable cooperation for the benefit of the Jordanian citizens and government. On the other hand, Prof. Dijk reviewed the activities of the project and stressed the importance of implementing and activating the Regional Center for Water Engineering and Technology at Al-Balqa University, and the need to benefit from it in training, technical education, postgraduate studies, and entrepreneurial work in Jordan and the Middle East. He also thanked the NUFFIC management for their understanding of the repercussions of the Corona pandemic as they approved the extension of the project implementation period for six extra months.

Prof. Al-Zoubi expressed his pride in the partnership with the Dutch institutions and government, and the great consensus in visions and goals, especially as they are consistent with the vision of His Majesty King Abdullah towards strengthening cooperation with the Kingdom of the Netherlands in all fields, especially in the field of water. Further, Prof. Al-Zoubi presented a number of proposals to enhance cooperation with the Dutch side. For example, Prof. Al-Zoubi agreed to merge the newly established regional water engineering and technology center with the existing water center at the university to form one advanced center. This center will provide innovative services to students, researchers, the community, and decision-makers. In fact, Prof. Al-Zoubi agreed to accelerate the equipment purchase necessary for the newly established center, and for the on-campus incubator for water engineering and technology. Further, Prof. Al-Zoubi also suggested examining the possibility of introducing joint postgraduate programs, attracting funding to follow up on the implementation of innovative water-related projects, and strengthening the relationship between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to optimally meet the expectations of the governments of Jordan and the Netherlands.
Dr. Nasser Almanaseer, Associate Prof. of Civil Engineering – Water and Environment of Al-Balqa Applied University, WATRA Project Manager and Regional Committee Member for the Middle East - DUPC2: IHE Delft Partnership Programme for Water and Development, said that the project focuses on education, research, and institutional capacity development. Dr. Almanaseer added that WATRA project is designed to build on Al-Balqa Applied University achievements to further invest in the university reputation and vision in providing scientific and practical solutions to the process of knowledge sharing, actions for impact and internationalization. Further, the outcomes of the WATRA Project will enhance the capabilities of Al-Balqa Applied University in providing an innovative learning environment based on hands-on training, and hence, water engineers and managers with high and focused competencies.
At the end of the meeting, Prof. Dijk and Prof. Al-Zoubi expressed their gratitude to the Dutch and Jordanian governments, to NUFFIC and OKP, as well as to the project coordinator from IHE-Delft Dr. Peter van der Steen, and to the project manager from the Balqa Applied University Dr. Naser Almanaseer, and to the project team as well. Dr. Al-Zoubi also thanked the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands for their support to Al-Balqa Applied University by opening channels of communication with Dutch institutions. Finally, Dr. Al-Zoubi thanked DUPC2: IHE Delft Partnership Programme for Water and Development, and thanked Dr. Wim Douven, the overall coordinator of the programme, and his team.
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