Ambassador Edward “Skip” Gnehm, Jr.
Board President since 2019
Trustee since 2012
Ambassador Gnehm is Kuwait Professor of Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Affairs at The George Washington University, as well as a member of the Middle East faculty and Director of the Middle East Policy Forum. In his 36 years prior to retirement in 2004, he served in the United States Foreign Service as Ambassador to Jordan, Kuwait, and Australia, and, from 1991 to 2004, as Deputy Permanent Representative to the U.N. He was Director-General of the Foreign Service and Director of Personnel of the Department of State. While Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (1987–1989), he had responsibility for all U.S. military programs from Morocco to Bangladesh. He was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Persian Gulf and Arabian Peninsula. His earlier assignments posted him in Vietnam, Nepal, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Tunisia, and Lebanon. In addition to teaching, Ambassador Gnehm sits on the Board of Directors of American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA), for which he has been both Chairman of the Board and Acting President. Among the other boards in which he has participated are those of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, the Board of Oversight of the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center in Washington, and the Senior Living Foundation. He is a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy, the Middle East Institute, DACOR (Diplomat and Consular Officers Retired), the American Foreign Service Association, the American Philatelic Society, and the Fourth Evangelical Presbyterian Church, where he served six years as an elder. Ambassador Gnehm earned a B.A. in international affairs in 1966 and an M.A. in 1968 from The George Washington University. He also attended the American University in Cairo (1966–1967) through a postgraduate Rotary International Fellowship.
H.E. Mr. Abdelelah Mohammad Al-Khatib
First Vice President Since 2018
Trustee since 2002
Abdelelah Mohammad Al Khatib has held multiple senior positions in both the public and private sectors and has contributed to the Jordanian and international communities throughout his career. Having been Jordan’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities from 1995 to 1996, he later served twice as Foreign Minister of Jordan (1998–2002 and 2005–2007). In 2010, he received an appointment as Chairman of the Economic and Social Council and in 2012 became Chairman of the Independent Election Commission. He was a member of the Upper House of Parliament (The Senate) for three terms between 2010 and 2016, during which he was elected consecutively as head of the Economic and Financial Committee, the Committee for Public Freedoms and Citizens Rights, and the Arab and International Affairs Committee. On the international stage, in 2011, he acted as Special Envoy of the Secretary General of the United Nations to Libya. He was General Manager and then Chairman of the Board of the Jordan Cement Company and also General Manager of Al Daman for Investment. He also sat on the Board of Directors of the Central Bank of Jordan. An active contributor to the work of civil society, Mr. Al-Khatib was elected Chairman of the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature and serves as a member of the King Hussein Cancer Foundation Board of Trustees. He holds an M.A. in international communications from American University in Washington, D.C., an M.A in international economics and development from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and a B.A in political science from Pantios University, Athens. Recently he has lectured at the Paris School of International Affairs at Science Po in Paris.
Prof. S. Thomas Parker
Second Vice President since 2001
Trustee since 1987
S. Thomas Parker is Professor of History and Director of the Archaeological Laboratory and Repository at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. He received his Ph.D. from UCLA and is a specialist in the history and archaeology of the Roman Levant. Prof. Parker has directed several major archaeological field projects in Jordan, including excavations at Petra, Aqaba, and the Roman legionary fortress at el-Lejjun, east of the Dead Sea. Among his numerous articles and books are Romans and Saracens: A History of the Arabian Frontier (1986), The Roman Frontier in Central Jordan: Final Report on the Limes Arabicus Project, 1980–1989 (2006), and The Roman Aqaba Project Final Report, Vol. 1: The Regional Environment and the Regional Survey (2014). Prof. Parker has brought hundreds of students to Jordan for fieldwork experience, and since then, many have continued to be involved in Jordanian heritage work.
Ms. Anne H. Aarnes
Board Secretary since 2017
Trustee since 2017
Anne Aarnes is a retired senior Foreign Service officer who spent her career at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Having held senior management positions both in Washington and overseas, she retired in 2015 with the rank of Career Minister. Ms. Aarnes served as USAID Director in Jordan, Pakistan, and Central Asia. In Washington, she was Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Middle East and Asia Bureaus and for the Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs. She also served on the faculty of the National War College. Postings earlier in her career included Egypt, Bangladesh, Ukraine, Pakistan, and Washington. Ms. Aarnes earned a B.A. from Oberlin College and an M.A. from The George Washington University.
Mr. David Nickols
Treasurer since 2017
Trustee since 2017
David Nickols is a professional engineer and Director of ITPEnergised, a renewable energy consultancy based in the U.K. With almost 40 years of experience in engineering, management, project delivery, finance, and corporate governance in many different countries, he serves as independent director on the boards of several companies, including two regional engineering firms headquartered in Amman. He has been the divisional President for Europe, Middle East, and Africa for two major U.S.-based engineering companies. A graduate of the University of Cambridge with an M.A. in engineering (Downing College, 1981), he has been engaged in the Middle East and North Africa region since first participating in an engineering project in Baghdad during the 1980s.
Dr. Pearce Paul Creasman
Director since 2020
Dr. Pearce Paul Creasman became director of ACOR in March 2020. Dr. Creasman comes from the University of Arizona, where he has been a professor since 2009, focusing on the heritage, archaeology, and environment of the Middle East and North Africa. Starting in 2012, he served as director of the University of Arizona’s Egyptian Expedition. Having worked in several countries in the region, his most recent archaeological project is directing the excavations at the pyramids and royal necropolis of Nuri, Sudan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dr. Creasman’ s degrees include a Ph.D. and M.A. in anthropology/nautical archaeology from Texas A&M University and a B.A. from the University of Maine.
Mr. Ahmad Abu Ghazaleh
Trustee since 2018
Ahmad Abu Ghazaleh is Chairman of United Cables Industries Company (UCIC), a public shareholding company listed on the Amman Stock Exchange, and Vice Chairman and CEO of Arab Wings, the Royal Jordanian Air Academy, Queen Noor Technical College and, in the United Arab Emirates, Gulf Wings. He also serves as Executive Vice Chairman of the Abdali Medical Centre and as President of the Mohammad and Mahera Abu Ghazaleh Foundation (MMAG), which is dedicated to the arts and education at galleries and other cultural institutions worldwide. The boards of Fresh Del Monte Produce, Inc., and Bank Misr Liban, S.A.L., include him as a member. He also serves as a Trustee on the boards of the Queen Rania Foundation and Endeavor Jordan. Raised in Chile, Mr. Abu Ghazaleh studied economics at Northeastern University in Boston and has been based in Amman since 2003.
Mr. Hani Al Kurdi
Trustee since 2020
Hani is a partner in the Eversheds-Sutherland litigation and dispute management practice group and head of arbitration in the Amman office. He has over 16 years’ experience advising clients in Jordan and the region on a range of matters with a primary focus on complex litigation, aviation, and regulatory matters. Hani also advises clients on corporate matters. Prior to joining Eversheds Sutherland in 2019, Hani established in 2014 a small boutique firm that provides high end and specialized legal services to its clients. He also advised the Jordan Football Association on all legal matters relating to the FIFA 2016 U17 Women World Cup that was hosted in Jordan. Prior to that, he had worked with Eversheds-Sutherland from 2012–2014 and as Royal Jordanian’s general counsel from 2006–2012. Prior to joining Royal Jordanian, he worked at Alia Sharif Zu’bi Law Office from 2004–2006, Khalifeh and Partners from 2002–2004, and in 1999 and 2001 at Kailani Law Office. He obtained his law degree from the University of Jordan and a post graduate diploma in shipping law and an LLM in computer and communications law both from the University College London. He also holds a Graduate Diploma in English Law and a Legal Practice Course certificate. Hani has been qualified to practice as a lawyer in Jordan since 2004 and is also qualified as a Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales. He is ranked by Chambers Global 2020 in band 3 for Jordan corporate and commercial. In addition, he is recommended as a global leader for aviation finance in Who’s Who Legal 2019.
Mr. Laith Al-Qasem
Trustee since 2020
Mr. Laith Al-Qasem is an established business leader with over 25 years of business and development experience. He has been involved with 19 startup companies and has substantial experience in private sector and economic strategy development, objective setting, planning, coordination, and execution, particularly for technology-related companies. He is a member of the Jordan Economic and Social Council and has led and participated in several Jordanian national economic development initiatives, such as Jordan Vision 2020, the National Agenda, and the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. In 2000 and 2004, Al-Qasem led Jordan’s first national private sector-led business development initiative (Jordan Vision 2020; JV 2020 versions 1.0 and 2.0). He has extensive contacts with the Jordanian government, the science and technology sector, the private sector, and NGOs. Moreover, Mr. Al-Qasem is and has been a board member of several national associations and NGOs that address gaps in the economic and social environment, including the Young Entrepreneurs Association (YEA), the Center for the Study of the Built Environment, Partners Jordan for Democratic Change, the International Amman Academy, the Institute of Management Consultants, Al-Aman Fund for Orphans, and Tkiyet Um Ali. Al-Qasem has a diploma in leadership in the Middle East from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government (2011), a master of business administration from Georgetown University (1986), and a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan (1983).
Prof. Betty S. Anderson
Trustee since 2018
Betty Anderson is Professor of History at Boston University. She has a Ph.D. and M.A. in Near Eastern history from UCLA and received her B.A. from Trinity College in History and Political Science. She is the author of Nationalist Voices in Jordan: The Street and the State (2005), The American University of Beirut: Arab Nationalism and Liberal Education (2011), and A History of the Modern Middle East: Rulers, Rebels, and Rogues (2016) in addition to articles in a variety of academic journals and edited volumes. In 2019–2020 she lived in Jordan as a Fulbright fellow. Her current project maps mobilities within Amman to determine how people find belonging in a city that is rapidly expanding and undergoing socio-economic change.
Prof. Björn Anderson
Trustee since 2019
Björn Anderson, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Iowa’s School of Art and Art History, received a B.A. in humanities from the University of Oregon, an M.A. in classical archaeology from the University of British Columbia, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in classical art and archaeology from the University of Michigan. A specialist in the study of material, cultural, and visual interaction in the ancient Mediterranean and Near East, he has taught a variety of courses in ancient art and archaeology. His dissertation focused on cultural identity in the Nabataean capital of Petra in southern Jordan. His articles have appeared in Ars Orientalis and Studies in the History and Archaeology of Jordan, and he has also contributed chapters to several books, including The World of Ancient Persia (2010), the Springer Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology (2014), Political Memory in and after the Persian Empire (2015), The Art of Empire in Achaemenid Persia: Festschrift in Honor of Margaret Cool Root (2017), Arsacids, Romans, and Local Elites: Cross-Cultural Interactions of the Parthian Empire (2017), and the Oxford Handbook of Ancient Arabia (2018). A member of The Digital Studio for Public Arts and Humanities at the University of Iowa, Prof. Anderson is a member of the editorial board of the Levantine Ceramics Project and teaches courses on the use of digital technology in the study of art. He has excavated in both Israel and Jordan. His current field project uses photogrammetry and 3D modeling to reconstruct a tomb façade in Petra, Jordan.
Mr. Geoff Coll
Trustee since 2018
Geoff Coll is a Washington, D.C.-based securities litigator who handles high-stakes internal investigations and complex commercial disputes. He represents clients in Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and New York attorney general enforcement actions, as well as shareholder class and derivative actions and hostile takeover litigation. In addition, Mr. Coll handles civil, criminal, and regulatory matters for large private and public companies and individuals, representing them in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigations and offering compliance advice and False Claims Act qui tam defense. He has experience as a diplomat in Paris and Mumbai and is a founding member of the board of directors for an India-based NGO focused on human rights and women’s rights issues. He also served as a legal representative of an Afghan community development NGO to international groups. Mr. Coll received his legal training from Columbia Law School (J.D., 1988) and also has a B.A. in English with honors from Oberlin College (1982).
Dr. Tom Davis
Trustee since 2020
Dr. Tom Davis is Professor of Archaeology at Lipscomb University and a specialist in the eastern Roman empire and biblical archaeology. He currently serves on the editorial board of Buried History and on the Board of Trustees of the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute (CAARI). He has been author and editor of a plethora of academic publications, including the monograph Shifting Sands: The Rise and Fall of Biblical Archaeology, published by Oxford University Press in 2004. Professor Davis has led field excavations in Kazakhstan, Cyprus, and Egypt and has lectured extensively in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. He has also served as principal investigator and field director at dozens of archaeological projects in the United States. He did part of his archaeological training at Jordan’s Tell el-Hayyat site while earning his graduate degrees. Davis holds a Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Arizona in Syro-Palestinian archaeology (1987 and 1983, respectively) and a B.A. in history and archaeology and Near Eastern studies from Wheaton College (1979).
Prof. Debra Foran
Trustee since 2019
Debra Foran is Assistant Professor in the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies and the Medievalism and Medieval Studies Program at Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) in Canada. She holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in ancient studies from the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto and a BA in Near Eastern archaeology from WLU. Her current research focuses on the relationship between ritual, landscape, and economy during the Classical and Medieval periods in central Transjordan. She is the Director of the Khirbat al-Mukhayyat and Tall Madaba Archaeological Projects and regularly leads undergraduate field schools in conjunction with these projects. Dr. Foran has over 25 years of archaeological experience in Jordan.
H.E. Mr. Claus Gielisch
Trustee since 2017
Claus Gielisch is one of two managing directors for C. Gielisch GmbH, a family-owned business headquartered in Germany. He holds a degree in law and joined the company management in 1986, becoming CEO in 1990. At the operational business level, Claus Gielisch handles fine-art claims as a publicly appointed and sworn expert in the assessment and evaluation of damages to contemporary art objects. He assesses damages to artworks for clients in the insurance industry around the world. Arts and cultural activities are passions also pursued in his personal life. Mr. Gielisch serves on the boards of the Industrie-Club in Dusseldorf and the Zero Foundation. He is V.P. of the Deutsch-Französischer-Kreis and is a member of the Rotary Club. Mr. Gielisch has served as Honorary Consul for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan since 1990 and as Vice-Doyen of the Consular Corps of North Rhine-Westphalia. As the nephew of Princess Majda Ra’ad and Prince Raad Bin Zeid, he has maintained close ties to Jordan since the time of his first visit in 1973.
Mrs. Reem Atalla Habayeb
Trustee since 2013
Reem Atalla Habayeb co-founded Silsal Design House. A strong believer in empowering children and women in order to shape a strong future for the region, Ms. Habayeb has been an advocate for early childhood development. She first undertook this role during her early career as a teacher and continued it as an active volunteer for over 20 years with SOS Children’s Villages, which she now serves as a member of its International Senate. She has served on the board of the International Women’s Forum and headed its Leadership and Mentoring Program, which supports career development for women in upper middle management. She has also been on the board of the Business and Professional Women’s Association. Currently, Ms. Habayeb is on the boards of the Queen Rania Award for Excellence in Education, SOS Children’s Villages, and Al Shams Al Mushriqa. In 2017 she received the Women Who Make a Difference Award from the International Women’s Forum in Houston. She attended the American University of Beirut and graduated from Santa Clara University.
Prof. Moawiyah M. Ibrahim
Trustee since 2006
Moawiyah M. Ibrahim is the Jordanian representative to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee and former President of the Society of Friends of Archaeology. He was Professor and Dean of Research and Graduate Studies at Al-Isra Private University, Jordan, from 2006 to 2008. Throughout his career, Dr. Ibrahim has held several academic and administrative positions, including at Yarmouk University (Dean of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, 1981–1984, and Founding Director of the Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, 1984–1991), Sultan Qaboos University, Oman (Professor and Founding Director of the Department of Archaeology), the University of Jordan (Guest Professor), the Free University of Berlin (1973–1974), and the University of Tübingen (1976). He was twice a Fulbright Scholar, at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (1985–1986), and the University of Richmond, Virginia (1992–1993). He has carried out excavations and other research projects in Palestine, Jordan, Germany, Bahrain, Kuwait, Yemen, and Oman. In 1987, the President of the Federal Republic of Germany awarded him the Order of Merit. Dr. Ibrahim served on several editorial boards, including Abhath Al-Yarmouk Humanities and Social Sciences Series (Editor-in-Chief), the publication series of the Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology–Yarmouk University, Jordan Journal for History and Archaeology, Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy, Adumatu, and Paléorient, among others. He is the author and editor of several volumes and over 100 articles in specialized journals and books. Dr. Ibrahim also currently serves as a Board member of the German Jordanian University. He holds a Ph.D. from the Free University of Berlin (1970).
Prof. Morag Kersel
Trustee since 2016
Morag M. Kersel is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Museum Studies minor at DePaul University. She has a Ph.D. from the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge and an M.A. in historic preservation from the University of Georgia. Her research interests include the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age of the eastern Mediterranean, cultural heritage law, museums, and archaeological tourism. Her current fieldwork combines archaeological, archival, and oral history research in order to understand the efficacy of cultural heritage law in protecting archaeological landscapes and objects. She maintains the “Follow the Pots” Facebook page to provide updates on heritage matters.
Mrs. Nina J. Köprülü
Trustee since 2002
Nina J. Köprülü is President of Board of Directors of the Joukowsky Family Foundation, a charitable nonprofit organization dedicated to the support of other nonprofits, such as universities and research centers, that have archaeological and other culturally related missions. She has served on the boards of the World Monuments Fund and the American Research Institute in Turkey and as President of the Friends of Aphrodisias of New York, in addition to other philanthropic works. An alumna of Smith College, Mrs. Köprülü splits her time between living in New York and Istanbul.
Prof. Øystein S. LaBianca
Trustee since 1997
Øystein S. LaBianca is Senior Research Professor of Anthropology and Associate Director of the Institute of Archaeology at Andrews University in Michigan. He is Senior Director of the Hisban Cultural Heritage Project, which carries out archaeological excavations and community archaeology initiatives at Tall Hisban in Jordan and a Founding Director of the Madaba Plains Project. He holds a B.A. in behavioral sciences and religion with honors (Andrews University), an M.A. in anthropology (Loma Linda University), and a Ph.D. in anthropology (Brandeis University). His doctoral dissertation, Sedentarization and Nomadization—Food System Cycles at Hesban and Vicinity in Transjordan, was published in 1990 and has since been followed by many more works. He has been a visiting research fellow in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge in England, at the Center for Middle East Studies at the Bergen University, Norway, at the Center for Advanced Studies of the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters, Oslo, Norway, and, most recently, at the Albright Institute in Jerusalem. Grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Geographic Society, the American Schools of Oriental Research, the United States Department of State’s Ambassador Fund for Cultural Heritage Preservation, and the Norwegian Research Council have supported his research in Jordan. Professor LaBianca is ACOR’s representative to the Board of Trustees of the American Schools of Oriental Research, based in Alexandria, Virginia.
Ms. Hala Lattouf
Trustee since 2020
Hala Lattouf is currently a managing partner at AYA for Consultancy and Development. In the recent past she served as Jordanian Minister of Social Development and as a Senator in the Jordanian Parliament, where she chaired the Labour and Social Development Committee and the Japanese-Jordanian Friendship Committee. She has extensive experience working to alleviate poverty and in advocating for underrepresented and vulnerable populations, in particular women and children, and has held positions and directed projects related to these interests in the United Nations and with the World Bank, in addition to her posts in the Jordanian Government. As Executive Director of World-Links Arab Region she created programs that improved educational outcomes, economic opportunities, and global understanding for youth in the Arab region. In her time at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities she has worked to protect archaeological sites, Petra in particular, and in so doing has developed a deep interest in preserving and protecting archaeological and cultural heritage. Ms. Lattouf’s educational background is in economics and she received an M.Sc. in Accounting and Finance from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
H.E. Mr. Hazem Malhas
Trustee since 2006
Hazem Malhas has led a distinguished career in business and investment in Jordan. Born in Amman, he graduated from the University of Texas, Austin, with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1982. He began his professional career in construction and engineering in Jordan, supervising numerous projects in Amman, Zarqa, and the Jordan Valley. Since early in his career, Mr. Malhas has been a supporter of the local small business community, and he helped to establish an architecture firm and also the first American fast food franchise to come to Jordan. In 1986, he joined Aramex as Vice President of Operations, becoming responsible for global strategic alliances and leading the company’s rapid expansion throughout the Middle East. He became Chief Operating Officer in 1990 and saw Aramex through its public listing on Nasdaq in 1997. He continued to serve on Aramex International’s Board through 2000. In 2001, Mr. Malhas founded Aregon, Ltd., now a leading consulting firm and information technology services company. He chairs a real estate company involved in urban regeneration and land development. He has participated in many executive courses over the past 20 years, including at Harvard University and MIT, and has served as a keynote speaker at local and international conferences. Mr. Malhas belongs to the Jordanian Engineers Association, the Young Presidents’ Organization, and many other professional organizations in the fields of information technology and management consulting. He is a member of the Petra National Trust and is a supporter of cultural heritage and athletic activities.
Mr. Guillaume Malle
Trustee since 2019
Guillaume Malle is a New York-based businessman and an enthusiast and scholar of the arts. Currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, he previously graduated from the Ecole Superieure de Commerce de Paris (business concentration, 1984) and also holds an M.F.A. from New York University (2016). His master’s thesis treated the mosaics and spaces of St. Stephen, Umm Al-Rasas, Jordan, and he presented at the 2016 and 2017 Byzantine Studies Conferences. Mr. Malle’s previous professional experience includes time spent in the Mexican financial sector, as well as working for Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, and Lehman Brothers. He served in the French embassy in Mexico in Cultural Services from 1985 to 1986. Further affiliations include the Harvard Center for Renaissance Studies and The Snow Show, a collaborative exhibition curated by Lance Fung.
Ms. Jenna de Vries Morton
Trustee since 2017
Jenna Morton is co-owner of Morton Group, a restaurant development company whose Las Vegas venues include La Cave Wine and Food Hideaway at Wynn Las Vegas, MB Steak in the Hard Rock Hotel, La Comida downtown, and Crush and Greek Sneek, both in the MGM Grand Resort. She chairs the Board of Directors for After-School All-Stars Las Vegas, which provides free after-school programs for 7,500 children annually. She is the Immediate Past President for the Springs Preserve, a 180-acre museum, preserve, and botanical garden devoted to sustainability and water conservation. She is also a member of the Umm al Jimal Archaeological Project, which supports cultural heritage preservation and presentation in Umm al-Jimal, Jordan. Her other civic activities include serving on the boards of Community Cloud Forest Conservation in Guatemala and the Council for a Better Nevada, and she is a member of the International Women’s Forum.
Prof. John P. Oleson
Trustee since 1997
John Peter Oleson, an archaeologist and classics scholar, is Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Greek and Roman Studies at the University of Victoria, Canada, where he taught from 1976 to 2015. He received his B.A. in classics and his M.A. and Ph.D. in classical archaeology from Harvard University. Oleson is a 25-year Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. In 2010 he was awarded the Pierre Chauveau Medal by the Royal Society of Canada for his “distinguished contribution to knowledge in the humanities.” Prof. Oleson’s research focuses on ancient technology, particularly ships, harbors, Roman concrete, and water-supply systems, and on the Roman Near East. He has directed underwater and terrestrial archaeological excavations at a number of sites around the Mediterranean, most notably at Humayma in southern Jordan (1986–2005). He has published a dozen books and more than 95 articles concerning ancient technology, marine archaeology, Etruscan tomb architecture, the Nabataeans, and the Roman Near East.
Prof. Megan A. Perry
Trustee since 2009
Megan A. Perry is Professor of Anthropology at East Carolina University (ECU), as well as Director of International Initiatives for the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences (ECU). She holds degrees from the University of New Mexico (Ph.D.), Case Western Reserve University (M.A.), and Boston University (B.A.). Her primary research interests involve investigating human skeletal remains to assess ancient disease, diet, and mobility patterns, in addition to mortuary practices of ancient populations in 1st to 6th century A.D. Jordan. Her bioarchaeological research at Petra focuses on how inhabitants of one neighborhood in the ancient city adapted to their increasingly urban environment through evidence of physiological stress, isotopic evidence of diet and migration, population demography, and sources of the site’s most important resource, water. Prof. Perry has been working on archaeological projects in Jordan for more than a quarter-century. In addition, she collaborates with forensic pathologists and local law enforcement agencies on regional forensic anthropology cases.
Prof. Jennifer Ramsay
Trustee since 2016
Jennifer Ramsay is Associate Professor at the College at Brockport, State University of New York. She received her B.A. in anthropology in 1992 with a minor in classical studies from the University of Victoria, Canada, her M.Sc. (1998) from the University of Sheffield, England, in environmental archaeology and paleoeconomy, and her Ph.D. (2008) in archaeology from Simon Fraser University, Canada. Jennifer received the Archaeological Institute of America’s Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2019 and a State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service in 2020 and one for Teaching in 2014. Her area of expertise centers on the use of archaeobotany, subsistence reconstruction, trade patterns, environmental change, and land-use patterns to gain insight into lifeways of past societies. Although she specializes in the Roman and Late Antique world, Prof. Ramsay has also analyzed and published plant material from the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages, and Islamic periods. Over her career she has participated in many archaeological excavation projects in Israel, Jordan, and Italy. She currently serves as Associate Director for the Petra Garden and Pool Complex and as Assistant Director for the Petra North Ridge Project.
Dr. Seteney Shami
Trustee since 2012
Seteney Shami is founding Director-General of the Arab Council for the Social Sciences, which she has served since 2012, as well as Program Director at the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) since 1999. An anthropologist from Jordan, she obtained her B.A. from the American University of Beirut and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and she has conducted fieldwork in Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, and the North Caucasus. After teaching at Yarmouk University, Jordan, she moved in 1996 to the Population Council in Cairo. In 1999, she joined the SSRC in New York, where, since that same year, she has served as SSRC Program Director for the programs on InterAsia (until present), the Middle East and North Africa (until present), and Eurasia (until 2010). Her latest publication was co-authored with Mitchell Stephens and Cynthia Miller-Idriss and is titled Seeing the World: How US Universities Make Knowledge in a Global Era (2018).
Prof. Bethany J. Walker
Trustee since 2009
Bethany Walker is Research Professor of Mamluk Studies and Director of the Research Unit of Islamic Archaeology at the University of Bonn, Germany. She has directed several archaeological projects in Jordan, including the ongoing excavations at Tall Hisban in the Madaba Plains. Her work has also taken her to Egypt and Cyprus, and in Iraq she has served on the Advisory Board for the Al-Sharaka project, which included a $15 million USAID grant awarded in 2003 to support the rebuilding of the country’s higher education system. Dr. Walker’s monograph Jordan in the Late Middle Ages: Transformation of the Mamluk Frontier was published by the Middle East Documentation Center in Chicago (2011), and she has dozens of other publications, conference presentations, and public lectures to her credit. At the University of Bonn, she managed the Virtual Lab of Islamic Ceramics. Previous appointments include Missouri State University, Oklahoma State University, Grand Valley State University, and the Islamic College at Prince Songkla University in Pattani in Thailand. She served on the ASOR Board of Trustees and is currently on editorial boards of various archaeology and history journals and monograph series in the U.S., France, Poland, and the U.K. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto’s Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations in 1998, her M.A. from the University of Arizona’s Department of Near Eastern Studies in 1992, and her B.A. from Bryn Mawr College’s Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology, with a minor in anthropology.
Mrs. Widad Kawar
Widad Kawar is the founder of Tiraz: The Widad Kawar Home for Arab Dress, and is a promoter of the art of Arab embroidery through exhibits around the world. Born in Bethlehem, daughter of Jalil Zand Irani and Haneh Sleh, Ms. Kawar attended a Quaker school in Ramallah and ultimately completed her college education at the American University of Beirut. An internationally renowned expert of Jordanian and Palestinian ethnic and cultural arts, she has amassed an extensive collection of dresses, costumes, textiles, and jewelry over the past 50 years. She seeks to preserve a culture that has been largely dispersed by conflict. Known as Umm l’ibas al-falastini—”the mother of Palestinian dress”—she has made her collection available for public viewing and mounted exhibits of Palestinian dress around the world. She has written many books on Palestinian embroidery and is seeking to establish a permanent Gallery of Cultural Embroidery. Most recently, she collaborated with Margaret Skinner on A Treasury of Stitches: Palestinian Embroidery Motifs, 1850–1950 (Rimal/Melisende, 2010).
Prof. Nancy Lapp
Nancy L. Lapp is an American archaeologist and biblical scholar who has worked on a number of sites in Jordan and Palestine alongside her husband, Paul Lapp. In her early career, Lapp served as secretary and then research assistant to Dr. William F. Albright at Johns Hopkins University (1955 to 1957). During this time, she met Paul, and together they participated in the Drew-McCormick Archaeological Expedition to Shchem. After this, Paul was appointed Director of the American School of Oriental Research (ASOR) in Jerusalem (today the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research). During his Directorship (1960–1965), Nancy was heavily involved with keeping the Institute running smoothly, as with assisting with the numerous excavations Paul initiated during this time, all while raising their five children. After Paul stepped down as Director, the Lapps continued to live and work from ASOR, and Paul began work at the Early Bronze Age site of Bab edh-Dhra. This project later expanded into the Expedition to the Dead Sea Plain project (EDSP), excavations that Lapp continued to assist on from 1970 through their final season in 1990. Paul died in a tragic swimming accident in 1970 with nearly all of his excavations unpublished, and thus Nancy resolved to publish them herself, an endeavor that has largely been completed as of today. The Lapps have a collection of their photography of Jordan and the Middle East available on the ACOR Photo Archive. Lapp became Curator of the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary’s Museum of Near Eastern Archaeology in 1970 and in 2000 became Curator Emerita, continuing to receive funding from various grants and fellowships for her ongoing publication work. She has a B.A. from the University of Cincinnati and M.A. from McCormick Theological Seminary.
Prof. David McCreery
Trustee 1968–1995; 2005–2017
Professor McCreery is an internationally renowned Near Eastern archaeologist and paleobotanist who is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Willamette University. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, M.Div. from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and B.A. from Sterling College. A former ACOR Director (1981–1988), Prof. McCreery participated in numerous excavations, most notably at Bâb edh-Dhrâ` and Numeira (Jordan). Most recently, he served as Co-Director of the Tell Nimrin Excavations in Jordan. After his ACOR Directorship, he went to teach at Willamette University and maintained an archaeological lab on campus, where he worked with his students on recent finds. His teaching has been recognized nationally with the Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA). He continues to be involved with the Salem Society of the AIA, which he served as founding President. In his career he also authored more than 20 journal articles and excavation reports. Professor McCreery retired after 27 years of teaching in May 2015.
Mr. Randolph B. Old
Former Board President (2011–2020)
Randolph B. Old’s family moved to Jordan to open a branch of Chase Bank in 1975, and he now considers Jordan a second home. After arriving in Jordan, the Old family was quick to become involved in ACOR through Friday field trips, pottery classes, and hand-ax hunts. Mr. Old joined the Board in 1990, became Treasurer in 1992, and served as President of the Board from 2011 to 2019. Throughout his involvement, he has witnessed ACOR move from a small rented office on Amman’s 3rd Circle to its permanent building in the city’s Tla’a al-Ali District, complete with an extensive research library. He is proud to note that over the years ACOR has paid off debt, built an endowment, and widened its mission to include archaeology as an economic development tool. ACOR has been an important part of life for Mr. Old and his family, and his wish is that it continue to be an inspiration for students and productive partner for the Jordanian government and educational institutions. He and his wife, Jody, reside in Vero Beach, Florida.
Prof. James R. Wiseman
James R. Wiseman is an archaeologist with particular emphasis on the Roman provinces. As Founder’s Professor Emeritus of Archaeology and Professor Emeritus of Art History and Classical Studies at Boston University, Dr. Wiseman’s primary research interests in the recent period have involved the relations between Romans and indigenous peoples (especially in the East), trade and the economy during the Roman Empire, the archaeology of Greek and Roman religion, town and countryside in classical antiquity, late antiquity in the eastern Mediterranean, and the application of scientific methods and techniques in archaeology. Founder of the Journal of Field Archaeology and the Archaeology Department at Boston University, and the recipient of numerous honors, Prof. Wiseman has a long history of service to ACOR.
H.E. Senator Leila Sharaf
Leila Sharaf is a Senator in the Jordanian Upper House of Parliament, an appointment made by His Late Majesty King Hussein. She has long been active in public service and previously served as Jordan’s Minister of Culture and Information (1984–1985). Her appointment to the cabinet represented a key advancement for the involvement of women in Jordanian national politics. Born in Lebanon, she received her B.A. and M.A. in literature from the American University of Beirut, and she now serves on the AUB Board of Trustees. Leila has received many honorary offices including the Board of Directors of the American Society for Public Education and Training in the Middle East, the Advisory Committee for the Theater under the Ministry of Culture, the Noor Al Hussein Foundation, the Royal Society for the Protection of Nature, the Board of Trustees of the American University of Beirut, Philadelphia University in Jordan, and the Arab Open University in Kuwait. She is also the President of the Islamic Cultural Society in New York and a Founding Member of the Cerebral Palsy Foundation in Jordan.
H.R.H. Prince Raad Bin Zeid
His Royal Highness Prince Raad bin Zeid is Lord Chamberlain of the Royal Court in Jordan and head of the Royal Houses of Iraq and Syria, having inherited the position from his father, Prince Zeid bin Hussein, in 1970. He has served for many years in civil administration and charitable organizations of various kinds. A strong advocate for the rights of the disabled, Prince Raad has previously served as President of the Higher Council for the Affairs of Persons with Disabilities and the Jordan Paralympic Committee, the efforts of which have helped put Jordan’s Paralympic sports on the map. He previously served the ACOR Board as First Vice President. For his over forty years of service, he was awarded the W.F. Albright Service Award at the Annual Meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research in 2017.