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Posted on September 14, 2011

California University of Pennsylvania professor Dr. Aref Al-Khattar will travel to the Middle East as a participant in the Fulbright Specialist Program.

Al-Khattar, a professor of criminology at Cal U and director of the graduate-level Applied Criminology program, has been selected to work with students and faculty at the University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

There he will give lectures and conduct seminars for graduate and undergraduate students, and he will work with Sharjah’s faculty in the Department of Sociology and its criminal justice track in the Master of Applied Sociology program.

“In general, Fulbright’s mission is to provide assistance to organizations, and that will be my focus,” Al-Khattar said. He plans to depart for the UAE on Dec. 20.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. Its goal is to increase mutual understanding between the United States and the people of other countries.

The Fulbright Specialist Program is a short-term complement to the core Fulbright Scholar Program. It sends U.S. faculty and professionals abroad for two to six weeks to serve as expert consultants on curriculum, faculty development and institutional planning at overseas academic institutions. 

A native of Jordan, Al-Khattar is a retired law enforcement officer with 17 years' experience. A former lieutenant colonel in the General Intelligence Department, he was awarded the Medal of Independence for his role in protecting the kingdom’s security.

Al-Khattar holds a bachelor’s degree in Arabic language and literature at the University of Jordan. He earned his master’s degree and Ph.D. in criminology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

At Cal U, Al-Khattar is a professor in the Department of Justice, Law and Society and an active member of the university’s Institute for Criminological and Forensic Sciences.

"Dr. Al-Khattar is an internationally recognized expert on terrorism and counterterrorism,” said Dr. John R. Cencich, dean of Cal U’s School of Graduate Studies and Research and director of the forensic sciences institute. “It's one thing to teach this subject from a book, but Aref brings real-world experience to students from around the world."

As a Fulbright Specialist, Al-Khattar’s name will appear worldwide on a roster of available experts for the next five years.

“It’s a prestigious honor to have Fulbright status, and it brings an obvious sense of satisfaction,” Al-Khattar said. “But it’s good status for Cal U, as well. I am promoting Cal U and putting Cal U and Fulbright together, so it’s a win-win for both Cal U and myself.”