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Loyola University

Publication Date

Summer 2017

Program Name

Jordan: Geopolitics, International relations, and the Future of the Middle East

Abstract

This ISP examines the link between international travel and selected political beliefs. While the literature on the political effects of international travel are almost non-existent, many works exist that link increased education to higher political skepticism. In this study, we test the theory that international travel can be interpreted as education, and thus can have the same effect of engendering political skepticism.

This theory is tested using a survey which was distributed at various locations in Amman, Jordan. The survey first asked about the respondent’s basic demographical information, education level and international travel history. The political questions focused on two main themes: peace and intervention. The respondent was asked to rate their optimism for peace in various Middle Eastern conflicts and their beliefs on the ability for American or Russian military intervention to bring peace to the same Middle Eastern conflicts.

One hundred surveys were collected and analyzed. It was found that international travel had no effect on optimism for peace in Syria, Iraq, Libya or Yemen. However, the results showed a strong trend in other areas. Those who had traveled internationally, compared to those who had never left Jordan, were significantly more pessimistic about peace in the Arab/Israeli conflict, and were significantly more skeptical about the ability for American military intervention to bring peace to Syria, Iraq, Libya or Yemen. Additionally, those who had traveled internationally were significantly more skeptical about Russian involvement in Syria. The most significant aspect of analysis showed that traveling to more countries resulted in more skepticism. The results for optimism for peace in Syria, Iraq, Libya or Yemen are muddled because current events change those situations constantly. However, views on the Arab/Israeli peace and foreign military intervention in the region are long-held, resulting in clear evidence that international travel generates political skepticism.

Disciplines

Near Eastern Languages and Societies | Political Science | Sociology

 

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