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As part of the ‘Green Futures Exchange’ project funded by Aspen Institute Stevens Initiative, a delegation from An Najah National University visited the United States from July 19th to July 29th, 2018. The delegation included Dr. Mutasim Baba, Project Manager and Director of the Building and Transportation Research Unit, Dr. Sameh Monna from the Department of Architecture, and six students who were the winners of the Green Futures Exchange Design Competition: Rusul Hussein, Hanan Qassrawi, Rand Mustafa, Ramzi Shadid, Ola Bara and Nermin Al-Shayeb from the Department of Architecture at the University. The delegation spent the first three days in Washington DC followed by a full week at Arizona State University, a partner of the project.

During the visit to Washington D.C., the delegation visited the Aspen Institute and met with colleagues from the project’s sponsor, the Stevens Initiative. The Stevens Initiative 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. The delegation was received by Mr. Mohamed Abdel-Kader, Executive Director of the Stevens Initiative; Andie Shafer, Senior Programme Associate; Brent Beemer, Foreign Affairs Officer of the Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs at State Department; Alica  Lejlic of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, along with other staff of the Stevens Initiative. During the meeting, the project’s success and milestones over the last year were discussed as well as future plans and the next stages of the project.

Everyone at the meeting expressed their happiness with the visit and the positive outcomes achieved this far as well as excitement for the next phases of the programme.  Dr. Baba conveyed the greetings of An-Najah National University’s administrative leadership to the Aspen Institute Stevens Initiative and thanked them for their support of the project and the University's aspiration to develop international cooperation through virtual exchange.

The delegation also visited the Virginia Tech University's Advanced Research Institute in Arlington, near D.C., and met with the Director, Prof. Saifur Rahman, and a number of researchers at the Centre. Prof. Saifur Rahman gave a presentation on his foundation and his research especially in the field of energy management and development of energy saving systems in buildings. During the visit, the delegation toured the laboratories of the Institute and met with researchers who gave a presentation on their work, especially regarding energy management and energy control in buildings. The delegation then visited a number of green buildings and museums in the area. The delegation then left for the city of Tempe, Arizona, to visit the project’s partner institution, Arizona State University.

During the entire week, an intensive programme was supervised by Prof. Harvey Bryan, from the Department of Architecture at Arizona State University. The programme included various meetings and lectures and visits to engineering and architecture offices specializing in the field of green buildings. Meetings were also arranged with a number of students at the university who participated in this project. The delegation visited the Solana Solar Power Project in Arizona with the Palestinian engineer Osama Al-Shami from the electricity company in Phoenix. The delegation also visited the huge Biosphere research project, which specializes in various natural environments and visited a number of Green Buildings in several areas of the state.

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© 2018 An-Najah National University