Doug Magnuson, Director

Ph.D. Anthropology, Brown University

M.A. Anthropology, Brown University

B.A. Anthropology, Bethel College, St. Paul, MN

Patti Magnuson, Program Administrator

B.A. Political Science, Westmont College


Doug and Patti Magnuson have lived in the Middle East for over 35 years, growing as disciples of Jesus while living at the crossroads of faith and culture, and they love introducing students to the region that has been their home for most of their married life.

Doug and Patti began their overseas sojourn in Tunisia. While Doug did his anthropological fieldwork, they both began learning Arabic, making friends, adapting to Tunisian culture, and integrating into local life -- going home with friends for meals or weekend stays, eating any local food put in front of them, and learning as many of the customs and lifeways as possible. They went on to live in Tunisia for 12 years, and three of their four children were born there. While their oldest was a toddler, they lived in a Tunisian village, with only letters to connect them to the U.S.  Since then, they have lived and worked in Egypt, Jordan and Israel-Palestine. They have co-­led ministry teams, mentored countless expatriates in understanding and adapting to Middle Eastern culture, and raised and homeschooled their four children.

Dr. Doug, as he is known on MESP, has taught in five different countries and loves to lead his students on adventures where they learn about culture, politics and religion in living rooms, coffee shops and markets. He regularly cries out, “This is an experience I REFUSE to be denied!,” ­challenging students to step out of their comfort zones and deeply experience the fullness of life in the Middle East. Doug coordinates all of the MESP courses, delivers lectures, and leads processing sessions on the topics addressed by our amazing array of guest speakers. He also interweaves a strong emphasis on cultural understanding throughout the entire program and trains students in cultural adaptation using the Intercultural Development Inventory.

Though Doug and Patti have done all of their traveling together,Patti has seen a completely different side of life in the region. In a culture where men and women are often kept separate, Patti has had the privilege of experiencing life with Middle Eastern women for more than 30 years. She has truly seen and done it all: she moved overseas with just her backpack and spent her first two months living, with Doug, in a no-star hotel. Together, they wandered the streets looking for opportunities to learn Arabic and make friends. She has attended wedding ceremonies, stayed up all night helping local women butcher a cow to feed the guests at a circumcision ceremony, learned how to make couscous from scratch, and made weekly visits with village women to the public bath.

Patti serves MESP and its students out of this wealth of experience. Using her amazing gifts of encouragement and the Middle Eastern hospitality she has picked up over the years, Patti mentors MESP women and helps both female and male students learn to live in Middle Eastern culture. Patti also helps with MESP’s administrative needs, manages the food stipends, accompanies students on trips, accommodates medical needs, and more.

Jessica Mussro, Program Assistant

B.A. International Development, Southern Wesleyan University

Graduate Certificate in International Family & Community Studies, Clemson University

Jessica is a Spring 2010 MESP alumna--from back in the Cairo days! Her MESP experience inspired her to help other students find similar opportunities to learn abroad. Since 2012, she's worked at Clemson University's study abroad office, assisting students who study, intern, and volunteer overseas (Go Tigers!). As someone who has experienced the challenges of growing academically and spiritually on MESP, she'll be there to encourage and support you as you step outside your comfort zone.

Jessica grew up all over the US and the UAE, but currently calls South Carolina "home". After studying the Middle East for her undergraduate degree, she's excited to return to the region and experience it with you. She enjoys reading and writing poetry, cooking, playing music, and winning movie-quote-offs.