Emily Halasah

Photo courtesy of Emily Halasah

Halasah poses at Jordan conference.

September 14, 2015

SGA president travels to Jordan

By Reese Shebel

Millions of people are mentioned on Twitter on a daily basis, but not everyone is recognized by the Jordanian embassy. Emily Halasah, recently elected president of the Student Government Association, would have never guessed that she would be flying out of the country to attend an international conference because of a tweet from a friend.

On April 10, Omar Kurdi, a Cleveland State University graduate student, sent out a Tweet congratulating Halasah on her new position as president. Omar mentioned Halasah’s Arab origin and tagged Roya TV, a Jordanian television station. In response, Roya TV wrote an article on Halasah praising her for being a student of Jordanian decent elected in the United States and shared the link on Twitter.

After 50 retweets and about 100 favorites, Halasah was receiving offers to attend conferences in D.C. and other embassies.

Overwhelmed and confused by the sudden attention, Halasah turned them down until she received a call from the Jordanian ministry.

“I was getting tons of emails and phone calls over this tweet,” said Halasah, “but I couldn’t ignore a call from the foreign ministry of Jordan.”

The royal family invited her to come to the Jordanian Expatriate Conference, an expatriate being a person who is a citizen of one country but lives in another. According to Arab culture, Halasah is considered a Jordanian through kinship with her Jordanian father.

“The embassy paid for everything; the hotel, the food and a discounted flight,” Halasah said. “Even better, I was given the opportunity to attend the conference and listen to seminars about issues in Jordan.”

During the higher education seminar, Halasah learned that Jordan had a lot more problems than she had anticipated.
“Turns out they have a lot of bureaucracy,” Halasah said, “and it doesn’t matter how you do on your scores, it’s about who you know when it comes to college enrollment.”

Another seminar discussed Jordanian women’s rights and Halasah briefly spoke about gender equality and met ministers, the ambassador for the United States, a princess and even the king.

“It was like a normal conference,” Halasah said. “I listened, I learned and I left and got to meet a ton of influential people.”
Halasah represented Cleveland State in Jordan, while representing Jordan in the United States.

The support and pride that Jordan showed Halasah surprised and humbled her, and she advises that students take advantage of reaching out via social media.

“You never know what can happen,” Halasah said. “The power of social media is amazing, and I can’t believe I got this opportunity to travel to Jordan because of a 140 character tweet.”

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