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UTA collaborates with the Hashemite University in Jordan

Tuesday, April 19, 2016 • Media Contact: UT Arlington Media Relations

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Dr. Shaher Rababeh, Dean of the Hashemite University College of Engineering and Director of the Construction Project

A unique collaboration between the University of Texas at Arlington and the Hashemite University in Jordan has led to the planning of the Hashemite University’s Structural System Laboratory, which is in the design phase led by a team based in DFW.

A visit to UTA by H.R.H. Princess Muna Al Hussein, mother of H.R.H. King Abdullah II of Jordan, and a delegation of Jordanian scientists and educators in recent years sparked the idea of creating a test lab similar to the one at UTA in their home country. In the group was the president of the Hashemite University, one of Jordan’s most respected educational institutions. “Hashemite” is both the surname of the royal family and the name of the university under its patronage. Impressed by the scope and abilities of UTA’s Civil Engineering Laboratory, the Hashemite University's President Kamal Bani Hani committed to creating the lab and through discussions with, and under the guidance of, Professor Ali Abolmaali, Chair of UTA’s Department of Civil Engineering, it has since become a reality.

Hashemite University and UTA officials visit the test lab site in Jordan

Under the leadership of the two respective university presidents, Vistasp Karbhari of UTA and Kamal Bani Hani of Hashemite, the laboratory now under construction will be a unique facility and the only one of its kind in that part of the world. It will be comparable to the best structural testing facilities in the U.S., including UTA’s Structural Laboratory. UTA’s input and guidance in developing the design and identifying the critical equipment needed for the Hashemite University’s Laboratory is based on many years of experience and the success of UTA’s faculty, led by Dr. Abolmaali, which has successfully completed multimillion dollar research projects annually for federal, state, and private entities.

Dr. Shaher Rababeh, Dean of Engineering and Director of the Construction Project, is leading the Hashemite University’s laboratory design and construction team, in addition to 12 other construction projects currently active at the University. The 3,000 square foot reaction floor and two perpendicular reaction walls for biaxial testing are under final design and will be constructed this year. This will enable engineers to test the durability of structural components and systems for resistance to earthquake impacts, extreme temperatures, assessment of new structural designs, and reaction to natural and man-made threats to structures and systems. When completed, the Hashemite University’s structural systems lab will be the only one of its kind in Europe and the Middle East.

From left, Professor Ali Abolmaali, chair of UTA’s Department of Civil Engineering; UTA alumnus and former Chief Executive Officer of Jordanian Airlines, Nasser Lozi; and Kamal Bani Hani, president of the Hashemite University

“The Hashemite University’s lab will be able to test, in full scale, a typical three-story building subjected to any earthquake record for full evaluation and design specification modification,” said Abolmaali. “It can test a full spectrum of structural systems including, but not limited to, long span bridge girders, full scale beams and columns, structural connections with different structural materials, and even an aircraft wing. The vision of Hashemite University President Kamal Bani Hani, and the leadership of Engineering Dean and Director of Construction Projects Dr. Shaher Rababeh, have made this collaboration a reality.” 

UTA’s Civil Engineering Department currently has several Jordanian Ph.D. students, supported by Hashemite University, being trained at UTA’s Structural Laboratory. They will join the faculty of the Hashemite University upon graduation and will be well positioned to embark upon full scale structural testing in the new lab at Hashemite University. “This true international collaboration has only been possible through the full support of the two visionary presidents at UTA and Hashemite University,“ said Abolmaali.

“The expertise of UTA’s renowned civil engineering program through its outstanding students, faculty, staff, and state-of-the-art laboratories, is now being shared with the country of Jordan,” said President Karbhari. “This is a living example of our Strategic Plan Bold Solutions|Global Impact in action. We will continue strengthening our educational and philanthropic ties with our Jordanian alumni and colleagues and are grateful that they, too, appreciate the world-class teaching and research conducted at UTA.  We deeply appreciate the collaborations and partnerships with President Bani Hani, Dr. Shaher Rababeh, the Hashemite University, and look forwarding to further strengthening our interactions with Jordan.”

President Vistasp Karbhari with H.R.H. Princess Muna Al Hussein

UTA has over 200 alumni in Jordan, and has for some years been a destination of choice for Jordanian students wishing to earn a degree of international repute from the highly ranked UTA College of Engineering. UTA’s recent designation as a Carnegie Classification R1: Doctoral Universities – Highest Research Activity places it among the top 115 American universities, and is a recognition of growing research excellence and the knowledge such activity generates, to be shared with the world. Students from the global community add to the richness of the college experience at UTA and are frequently the best and brightest from their home nations, coming to the U.S. to avail themselves of a college education that is still second to none around the world.

UTA Alumni in Jordan include the former Chief Executive Officer of Jordanian Airlines, Nasser Lozi; the former Minister of Energy, Malek Kabariti; and others in high positions in government and industry. President Karbhari has been continuously reaching out to Jordanian alumni and is extremely proud of their success. He will host in the fall of 2016, along with his Excellency Nassir Lozi and President Bani Hani, a UTA alumni reception in Amman, Jordan to celebrate the Hashemite University’s laboratory and the many successes of UTA alumni.

About The University of Texas at Arlington 

The University of Texas at Arlington is a Carnegie “highest research activity” institution of more than 51,000 students in campus-based and online degree programs and is the second-largest institution in The University of Texas System. U.S. News & World Report ranks UTA fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. UTA is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as the top four-year college in Texas for veterans on Military Times’ 2016 Best for Vets list. Visit to learn more, and find UTA rankings and recognition at