Under the patronage of the Minister of Tourism, His Excellency Mr. Nayef Al Fayez, on behalf of the Prime Minister Dr. Bishr Al Khasawneh; in the presence of the former minister His Excellency Dr. Taleb Al Refai, Jamaican Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett and the Kenyan Minister of Tourism Najib Balala, the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre- Middle East and North Africa Region GTRCMC- MENA (Taleb Refai Centre) was launched at MEU’s campus.
The ceremony was held in the presence of the Chairman of the Board of Directors of MEU, Dr. Yacoub Nasereddin, President Professor Salam Al Mahadin, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Middle East Travel and Tourism Development Network Centre Dr. Sanaa Shaqwara, several leaders of the tourism sector in Jordan and representatives of the local and international press.
Professor Mahadin expressed her pride for launching the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre- Middle East and North Africa (GTRCMC-MENA) (Taleb Refai Centre). Thus, Middle East University became the first Arab university to host a regional Centre concerned with performing tourism research, evaluating climate information, designing and managing the resilience in tourism policy, analyzing significant data, risk management of disasters and developing as well as training workforce in the field of tourism, for the aim of being prepared for crises which threaten economies and livelihoods worldwide.
Furthermore, Mahadin added that MEU will use its network of professional relationships with other universities, within the region and beyond, to establish bilateral and multilateral projects in addition to exchange training programmes with related institutions.
In his turn, Minister Al Fayez welcomed the establishment of this international centre at MEU and emphasized that this will have a fundamental role in enhancing tourism, since it is a sector which supports the economy of Jordan through its contribution of 13% in GDP.
In a related context, Dr. Refai emphasized the importance of tourism in driving the economy toward prosperity. The economic advantages of tourism for hosting communities are represented by providing employment opportunities and contribution to the domestic product of the state. He also thanked MEU for hosting the Centre and instilling the concept of social responsibility toward surrounding causes.
From his side, CEO of the GTRCMC Centre, Prof. Dr. Lloyd Waller clarified that MEU is a distinguished partner and will be the regional motivator for further expansion in the MENA region. He added that universities must assume a fundamental role to assist in research capacity building, thus enabling students to be a part of the tourism sustainability process.