Dr. Elena Corbett has served as Amideast’s Director of Education Abroad since March 2017. She has oversight of Amideast’s Education Abroad department, which develops and implements all aspects of academic and experiential programming and support for US students and educators seeking opportunities to learn in the MENA region. She leads a small, resourceful team responsible for Amideast’s programming, customized and faculty-led programming for institutional clients, and implementation of the US State Department’s National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) and Kennedy-Lugar YES Abroad programs. Dr. Corbett's favorite project at Amideast has been developing Amideast’s innovative Community, Activism, and Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) Program, a fully-funded study abroad opportunity for community college students and Project Minah, a donor-funded initiative to support community college students enrolled in Amideast EdAbroad’s programs.
Before joining Amideast, Dr. Corbett spent five years as CIEE’s Center Director in Amman, Jordan, to which she came from Penn State University’s Behrend College in Erie, PA, where she was a tenure-track Assistant Professor of History and a recipient of the John Romano Faculty and Staff Diversity Recognition Award from Penn State’s Multicultural Resource Center. Before teaching at The Behrend College, Dr. Corbett was an instructor in the Languages and Cultures Department at the US Naval Academy and the Programs Coordinator for the Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies. In and beyond her teaching roles, Dr. Corbett was responsible for several faculty-led education abroad initiatives to MENA region countries.
Dr. Corbett is a scholar with several publications to her name, including a book based on her PhD dissertation from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago, Competitive Archaeology in Jordan, Narrating Identity from the Ottomans to the Hashemites (2015, The University of Texas Press). Most recently, she contributed a chapter to Voices from the South: Decolonial Perspectives in International Education (2023, The Forum on Education Abroad), an edited volume that is part of The Forum’s Standards in Action book series. As a member of The Forum’s Council, Dr. Corbett has had the honor to work on several ethics and equity-related initiatives that are close to her heart.
An alumna of the Fulbright-Hays, CASA, Title VI, and other fellowship programs, Dr. Corbett has always sought to enable the kinds of opportunities she was given as a student for as many young people as possible.