Omani educator in the US wins teaching award

Oman Sunday 17/January/2021 20:21 PM
By: Times News Service
Omani educator in the US wins teaching award
Dr Abdullah Al Bahrani, the director of the Center for Economic Education at Northern Kentucky University, recently won the Kenneth G Elzinga Distinguished Teaching Award for the year 2020.

Muscat: An Omani academic in the United States has won a prestigious award in recognition of his high teaching standards and efforts to inspire his students to always do their best across all fields of life.

Dr Abdullah Al Bahrani, the director of the Center for Economic Education at Northern Kentucky University, recently won the Kenneth G Elzinga Distinguished Teaching Award for the year 2020.

Given to educators who convey economic concepts in a manner that can be easily understood by others, and reward students who show initiative and achieve excellent academic performances, the award is given by the Southern Economic Association, an organisation that aims to develop interest in economic theories and their practical applications in the real world.

“As an educator, I am a researcher and teacher,” said Al Bahrani, who moved to the US in 1994 with his mother when she went there to complete her degree. “The continuous pursuit of knowledge to help improve social wellbeing and understanding of the economy is what attracts me to my career.

“Ultimately, I want to help people live better lives and I believe I can do that best through research, teaching, and working with people making policy to design effective policies,” he added.

To be nominated for the teaching award, candidates need to receive a nomination from their institution, as well as have their work reviewed by a committee that compares their achievements to those who have been recommended for the award over the past three years.

“The recipient list since 2002 indicate that the Southern Economic Association gives this award to economists that are dedicated to the profession and have improved economic education through decades of work,” revealed Al Bahrani, who took up academics in 2010, having previously worked in the banking sector.

“It is an honour that Oman has one of its own on this list of distinguished economic educators,” he admitted. “It is also confirmation from the profession, from other economists, that my work is influential and is highly regarded. I have won several awards, some chosen by students, others by colleagues at my institution, and each matter because it is from a different audience highlighting the importance of my work. This award is confirmation that my work is recognised at a national, if not global, level.”

Having stayed in the US for nearly 30 years, Al Bahrani says the opportunities available to educators there to learn from people all over the world, and help open their minds through the perspectives shared by others, are what continue to make the country a magnet for people from around the world.

He hopes that Omani students can learn from some of the best academics in the US, before returning to the Sultanate to help it grow and develop in the right direction. He is available to provide advice to Omani and other Arab students seeking guidance on studying in the US and other countries.

“It was my intention to do the best work I can do and help as many people as I can,” he explained. “You take on the best opportunity available to you at a given time. I also realised that I can best give back to Oman by building my global experience and bring that to Oman. Currently, I am able to do research and teach globally from the US.”

Al Bahrani went on to say, “Higher education is undergoing a lot of change now. Some of these are due to the pandemic, but also because of questions about the value of education. As educators, we need to better express what the value of education is to students and to policymakers as well. Worldwide, we need to emphasise the importance of research and knowledge creation to economic development.

“Research increases the chances of innovation, which is the catalyst for economic growth,” he revealed.

“My dedication to my career is because I wanted to learn and always continue to grow. I love my job, I am passionate about my work, so it is easier to dedicate so much time to it. My advice might sound like a cliché, but it is to pick a career, not a job; to do what you truly love. Spend more time finding what you love doing, then investing in it. Ultimately two things got me to this point: my curiosity and my dedication for wanting to find new and better ways to do things.”