Jordan’s Heritage Takes to the Skies – ACOR Scholarship Recipient Asem Abu Doleh

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Asem Abu Doleh, former recipient of an ACOR Jordanian Graduate Student Scholarship, has merged his interests in heritage, tourism, and travel to become a flight steward with Royal Jordanian Airlines. Asem now travels the world and is seen here in New Delhi, India, in 2013.

If you fly with Royal Jordanian Airlines, it is entirely possible that you will meet Asem Abu Doleh at work on your flight. Asem is a young Jordanian scholar who combined his love of Jordan’s cultural heritage and his professional studies in tourism to build a career in the airline industry. Asem was supported in achieving his career goals through ACOR’s Jordanian Graduate Student Scholarship (JGSS).

As an undergraduate, Asem studied Conservation and Management of Cultural Resources at Yarmouk University in Irbid, receiving his B.A. in 2009. He then enrolled in Yarmouk’s M.A. program in Tourism Studies. At the end of his first year, Asem applied to ACOR’s JGSS program and was awarded the scholarship for 2012-2013. With support from ACOR, Asem was able to cover his tuition and focus on his major research project, an examination of how Jordan’s tourism is related to air transportation and the airline industry.


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His research began with interviewing travel agents and airline agencies, and administering questionnaires to travelers in Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport. In the summer of 2012, as part of his research, he enrolled in a three-month training program for airline stewards with Royal Jordanian Airlines.

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In addition to researching Jordan’s tourism industry for his master’s degree, Asem continued to work in cultural heritage and is seen here learning mosaic restoration at Yarmouk University in 2012.

After the program, Royal Jordanian (RJ) offered Asem the opportunity to join the RJ on-board flight crew. RJ also worked with Asem to ensure that he could work a full schedule while continuing his studies at Yarmouk. Asem continued working full time for RJ until his graduation from Yarmouk in 2014. Needless to say, his work with the airline also gave him the opportunity to travel all over the world and build a promising career in the tourism sector. His work ethic and commitment have also made quite an impression on his supervisors at RJ:

“Royal Jordanian recruited Asem Abu Doleh with a student contract in 2012 within a program supporting educational institutions in Jordan. At that time, Asem was doing  research on the challenges of air transport in Jordan and interviewing experts in the field of aviation. After his training, he got the chance to continue his work with the airline and to study at the same time. We know how hard it was, but he demonstrated positive thinking and commitment towards his goals. We valued the way his training in the cultural heritage of Jordan translated into hospitality and care for passengers and colleagues in flight.

On the day of his graduation, Asem Abu Doleh had also completed his stewards training and he was upgraded to work in business class on RJ flights. We wish him best of luck for his future career, and we are proud of quality of our employees and proud of their ambition for success.“

– Omar Alsleibi, Chief Steward, Royal Jordanian Airlines

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While traveling the world, Asem is also able to meet key dignitaries, including H.R.H. Prince El Hassan bin Talal, shown here with Asem on a Royal Jordanian flight in 2014.

While a student, Asem was also active with the Jordanian NGO Friends of Archaeology and Heritage (FOAH). He served two voluntary two-year terms on the board and was responsible for publishing the electronic newsletter and maintaining FOAH’s Facebook page and website. “FOAH is one of the best non-profit organizations in Jordan,” said Asem, and he is proud of its work to raise public awareness through lectures and field trips. He remembers fondly working on a notable FOAH initiative as a board member. With the support of UNESCO, FOAH helped produce a video and a school curriculum for Jordanian students about the ancient site of Jerash.

Today Asem continues to build his career with Royal Jordanian and is now married and starting a family. In the future he would like to continue his studies in tourism at the Ph.D. level, perhaps studying at a university in Europe. Asem said, “The Jordanian Graduate Student Scholarship helped me a lot when I was a student. It gave me independence to pursue my research, and relieved me of some of my financial concerns at a critical time in my studies.”

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Asem Abu Doleh in Amsterdam 2014.

Royal Jordanian Airlines has a long tradition of supporting cultural heritage in Jordan. ACOR is very fortunate and very proud that Royal Jordanian is a sponsor of ACOR’s Temple of the Winged Lions Cultural Resource Management (TWLCRM) Project in Petra.

Written by Sarah Harpending

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