Noor Eddin Amer ’12 Is the First King’s Alumnus to be Appointed to the Board of Trustees
The Induction ceremony appointing new Head of School Peter Nilsson in October also marked a first for King’s: Noor Eddin Amer ’12 became the first alumnus to be appointed to the Board of Trustees.
In 2006, Amer received a few pieces of paper that would change the trajectory of his life. The son of two teachers originally from Mas-ha, Palestine, Amer was always at the top of the class in his public schools in Sahab, an industrial city southeast of Amman. He recalls the lack of quality instruction at these schools, as illiterate students were in his classes as high as the fifth grade. One day, ten-year-old Amer was called into the teacher’s lounge and given an application for a brand-new summer program at a high school that hadn’t yet opened. He took the application home and filled it out without much thought.
A few weeks later, Amer was notified that he had been accepted to participate that summer in the inaugural session of the Summer Enrichment Program (SEP) at King’s Academy, a full year before King’s officially opened its doors to students. Amer participated in SEP in 2006, 2007 and 2008, finally enrolling as a freshman at King’s in the fall of 2008.
Through King’s, Amer found the intellectual challenge that had been lacking in his previous schools. His toughest hurdle was learning English. Biology class was particularly challenging, and Amer would self-impose an additional hour of study hall each evening. During that hour, he would work his way through just one page of his biology textbook, an Arabic-English dictionary by his side. By the end of his freshman year, Amer had acquired fluency in English and a reputation for a love of learning and work ethic that continues to precede him.
Michael Kussaim, who was Amer’s advisor at King’s, describes him as “always willing to aid his peers.” From his freshman days, “Noor Eddin Amer was industrious, motivated and empathetic towards his community,” Kussaim says.
As the only alumnus on the Board of Trustees, Amer brings a unique perspective on and connection to the school’s mission.
“King’s gave so much to me, it’s imperative on me to give back in some capacity,” he says. “I think that when His Majesty envisioned King’s Academy, he envisioned it as a beacon of hope for Jordan, the region and the world, so one of the main challenges is: how do we go beyond the walls of King’s? How do we go beyond those 600 or so students here and have an external impact?”
Part of the answer, says Amer, is through creating new generations of global leaders by ensuring a strong, accessible education. After graduating from King’s, Amer enrolled in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), completing a bachelor’s in computer software engineering and a master’s in computer science. Much of Amer’s work at MIT — both as part of his academic program and through internships and extracurricular activities — revolved around leveraging technology to develop effective teaching methods and platforms.
King’s, says Amer, is uniquely situated to succeed in the rapidly-changing educational environment. The relative youth of the school, its valuable mission and its emphasis on educational innovation — particularly in the Middle School — give it momentum that other, more traditional institutions may lack.
In addition, King’s Academy’s commitment to educating students from all corners of the Kingdom and all walks of life ensures that students like Amer will be able to access the opportunities afforded by a King’s education.
“Being part of the board, a top priority of mine is to make sure that King’s continues to be financially accessible to all of our student body,” Amer says. “Money should never be an issue in deciding whether you want to be at King’s.”
However, Amer notes that creating future generations of global leaders takes time, and the job of King’s is not finished once graduates receive their diplomas. He stresses the mutual responsibility between the school and its alumni in creating a network of support that can benefit current students, alumni and communities beyond King’s.
“You need to be creative,” he advises alumni. “If you don’t see a venue to give back to King’s or to Jordan, create that venue.”
Creative efforts among alumni like Amer are also addressing more immediate issues beyond the King’s campus. While at MIT, Amer helped launch the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) which provide students with opportunities to work and do research abroad. Amer trained students who worked in Jordan through MISTI, including several who taught at King’s. Another MIT student and King’s alumnus, Rami Rustom ‘16, along with Saria Samakie ’17 and William Close ’16 launched Fikra 3al Mashi, a “mobile classroom” aimed at reaching refugee communities in Jordan.
In his new capacity on the board, Amer is already making effective contributions to the King’s mission.
“Though the youngest on the board, Noor Eddin has offered valuable insight to our trustee meetings,” says Chairman of the Board HE Bassem Al Salem. “He brings the voice of an alumnus to the table, and that is essential for ensuring that the spirit of King’s Academy is represented and sustained in our work.”
Head of School Peter Nilsson describes Amer as “an asker of excellent questions.”
“One of the great skills of strategic thinkers is asking just the right questions to surface just the right information to help make the best possible decision,” Nilsson says. “From the first phone call I had with Noor Eddin, I have been so deeply impressed by his ability to be intentional: to think carefully and to reach well thought-out conclusions.”
Amer sees a future in education beyond his work on the Board, largely driven by the impact a King’s education has had on his own life. Of King’s Academy’s Five Guiding Principles, he identifies most closely with the second: Love of Learning.
“I think in many ways the key to life is to always be a student and to never think that you’re a teacher,” he says. “As long as you love the process of learning you’ll do well in life, because there’s always more to learn.”