Denison University hosted Ambassador Dina Kawar, the Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the United States, on Monday, March 4. During her discussion to a standing-room-only crowd, Kawar provided a short but comprehensive overview of the Middle East and offered a lengthy Q & A session to faculty and students.
In Kawar’s lecture, “Jordanian-American Relations & Jordan’s role in the Region,” she outlined the past 100 years of the region’s history, noting there has not yet been enough time to create culture and institutions that support democracy. “100 years is a long time for us — but not in history,” she said.
The Arab Spring was a lesson for all of us, Kawar noted. When it comes to the modernization of systems and issues such as women’s rights, she said, “We need to develop the institutions, the mentality, and the culture — to create rights and responsibilities at the same time.”
Associate Professor of Modern Languages Hanada Al-Masri introduced Kawar to the room. Many of the students who were present study Arabic with Al-Masri, and take part in Denison’s Middle East and North Africa concentration.
“This was a fabulous opportunity for our students to talk directly with someone who understands the Middle East with such depth,” said Al-Masri. “Ambassador Kawar gave us penetrating insights into a complicated landscape. Her excellency’s visit to Denison is an embodiment of the strong, friendly, and cooperative relations that connect the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan and the United States, and she was so approachable and delightful to speak with. I’m thrilled and honored we were able to meet and talk with such an expert in the Middle East.”
Ambassador Kawar was appointed as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the United States of America in June 2016.
Ambassador Kawar also served as the Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations from August 2014 to June 2016. She has led the Jordanian delegation during Jordan’s non-permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council from 2014 to 2015 and became the first Arab woman to ever preside over the Council. In February 2016, she was appointed by the President of the General Assembly as a co-facilitator for the high-level meeting of the plenary of the General Assembly on the large movement of refugees and migrants to take place in September 2016.
Prior to her position in New York, Ambassador Dina Kawar served as the Ambassador of Jordan to France from 2001 to 2013, with concurrent accreditation to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and to the Holy See, since 2002. She also served as non-resident ambassador to Portugal from 2005 to 2013.
Ambassador Kawar was awarded the Medal of Independence of the first degree by His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan and holds a number of decorations including the “Commandeur De La Legion d’ Honneur” from France, the “Medalha de D. Afonso Henriques” from Portugal and the “Insignes de Dame de Grand-Croix de l’Ordre de Saint Grégoire le Grand” from the Holy See.
Ambassador Kawar holds a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Mills College. She attended Harvard’s Center for International Affairs from 1986 to 1987. She speaks Arabic, French, and English.