The Deputy Prime Minister of Jordan just happens to be a huge fan of Purdue football.
"He watches it religiously," said Michael Brzezinski, director of International Students and Scholars at Purdue. "He would talk about the games as if he’d been there, and he probably knew just about as much as I did."
Deputy Prime Minister Muasher is one of the 45 plus Jordanian Purdue alumni who gathered on Feb. 18 to celebrate the creation of a Purdue Alumni Association in Jordan, made to fit the needs of an ever-growing population of Purdue alumni centered in and around the capital, Amman.
Through his travels for recruitment in the Middle East, Brzezinski was honored to attend the event and say a few words to the newly born association, which included alumni ranging from four decades of Purdue history.
"They loved hearing me talk about the new developments on campus and in the Union, where many of them used to hang out," he said. "They talked about that all night."
The need for an alumni association in Jordan arose due to a significant number of local Purdue alumni looking for a way to stay connected to the University.
Reem Maroun, founding member of the association, had been working for months to prepare for the inaugural celebration. Along with a group of local Purdue alumni in Jordan, Maroun was able to contact Brzezinski and the University in order to begin the process of contacting other Jordanian alumni members for the initial meeting.
"Having the credibility of an official association enables our team to have the support and guidance by the West Lafayette Purdue Alumni Association and become a link in the International web," said Maroun.
Brzezinski was impressed with the enthusiasm shown by all that attended the Feb. 18 meeting. Along with Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Marwan Muasher, Minister of Health Mr. Saed Darwazeh was also in attendance as a Purdue alumna, and both spoke fondly of their time spent in West Lafayette.
"Dr. Muasher’s speech was very much from the heart," said Brzezinski, which spoke of Muasher’s favorite Purdue classes and professors, as well as time spent at the Union with friends.
Maroun said Muasher’s speech was one of the highlights of the evening as well as getting the opportunity to meet so many other Purdue alumni.
"All the attendees were pleased that a committee had been formulated to turn the dispersed Purdue alumni into a community, a family with a purpose and goal," said Maroun.
This newly formed family welcomed Brzezinski very graciously by treating him to some of the best restaurants Jordan had to offer, he said. They also visited the Dead Sea, where local Jordanians urged Brzezinski to touch the water.
"It has a thicker feel, somewhat oily because of the salt," he said. "People just float on top of the water; you really can’t sink."
Brzezinski also handed out Purdue souvenirs to attending alumni, including pins and car decals. Most wore the pins proudly the entire time, he said.
"Many international students know of Purdue as a distinguished University," said Brzezinski. "That along with a positive experience while attending leaves graduates with a sense of pride."
Following the event, Maroun has high hopes for the future of the Purdue Alumni Association Jordan and its continued connection with Brzezinski and the University.
"The founding members and myself anticipate the PAA in Jordan to achieve numerous goals, we are aiming high."