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During the week of March 4th - 8th, 2018, An Najah National University welcomed Dr. Harvey Bryan and Mrs. Jessica Otten of Arizona State University's (ASU) School of Sustainability and the Global Institute of Sustainability as part of the Green Futures Exchange Project.

The Green Futures Exchange project is a virtual exchange collaboration between An-Najah's Construction and Transportation Unit and the Office of International Development and External Affairs and Arizona State University connecting over 100 students of An Najah's Building and Architecture Engineering departments with architecture students of Arizona State University.

Upon their arrival, An Najah’s Acting President, Prof Maher Natsheh, personally greeted and met with Jessica and Dr Harvey.  During this meeting, Prof Maher discussed the enduring and strong relationship ASU and An Najah have maintained over the past six years through multiple different programs related to renewable energy and building sustainability. 

Throughout the visit, Dr Harvey gave three guest lectures on sustainable materials and resources, renewable energy, and passive design to building and architecture engineering students.  Jessica also led a site visit to the Balata Refugee Camp with the students to discuss strategies to collecting data while considering the social components of the site. 

Jessica and Dr Harvey also visited the Aqaba Girls’ Secondary School, the first green school built in Palestine, with the Green Futures Exchange high school participants. The trip served as an opportunity to expose the high school students to the components of green buildings through an engaged experience as well as share the process with Dr Harvey and Jessica.  During the visit, the head mistress discussed the positive impacts the school has had since it’s opening in 2016 on the students’ overall well being and learning experience. 

To conclude the visit, Dr. Bryan, Mrs. Otten and the An-Najah project team, Dr. Mutasim Baba, Dr. Muhannad Haj Hussein, and Dr. Sameh Mona, reviewed the conceptual design ideas students have created as part of a competition to create green building models for a community center in Balata Refugee Camp.

The competition is among bi-national teams (An-Najah with ASU) who are collaborating through virtual exchange tools (social media, video conferencing and virtual lectures). The winning group from An-Najah will receive the opportunity to travel to Arizona State University with An-Najah professors to meet their American cohorts of the project and learn about sustainable building projects and advancements in Arizona.

The project is part of a grant from the Stevens Initiative which is an international effort to build global competence and career readiness for young people in the United States and the Middle East and North Africa while growing and enhancing the field of virtual exchange: online, international and collaborative learning.   

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