Amman, capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, is an ancient city facing distinct modern challenges. Built on seven hills, Amman has expanded in size and population from a quaint sleepy town at the close of World War II, to the bustling, multicultural metropolis it is today. Jordan is deeply enmeshed in the international relations of the region, sharing land borders with Iraq, Israel, Palestine and Saudi Arabia. Further, Jordan remains a key player in Arab-Israeli affairs. Over the past several decades it has absorbed refugees from Palestine, Kuwaitis who left Kuwait after the Iraqi invasion in 1990 and most recently, Iraqi refugees. These new inhabitants have transformed Amman and brought new life to its local culture.
Under King Abdullah II and his father King Hussein, Jordan has made great strides in education, health care and economic reform while creating a distinctively Jordanian democratic structure. Nonetheless, Jordan faces many challenges that students can study and observe first hand – the effects of regional conflicts, social change, lack of natural resources, environmental concerns, and delivering on the promise of economic development to its citizens.