Doug & Patti Magnuson

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.

Brenna Carroll

Brenna Carroll, Program Coordinator

M.Sc. International Relations of the Middle East with Arabic, University of Edinburgh

B.A. International Studies Honours, Trinity Western University

Brenna studied in Jerusalem with MESP in Fall 2013. Her experience inspired her to pursue a master’s in International Relations of the Middle East while learning Arabic intensively. Recently, Brenna spent a summer in Cairo studying Modern Standard Arabic and the Egyptian dialect. She brings to the program assistant role a love of Middle Eastern culture, food, and hospitality in addition to her experience working in university administration. She looks forward to guiding students through the MESP experience, which has had a profound impact on her educational and vocational path.

Brenna is a Canadian who lived in Scotland for two years and as a result, she adores Highland cows. She enjoys filtered coffee, reading, hiking, and volunteering with refugee communities.  

Rachel Long

Rachel Long, Program Assistant

B.A. Global Development Studies, Seattle Pacific University

Rachel joins the MESP staff after completing a year in Kyrgyzstan on a Fulbright. Her love of the Islamic World has inspired her travel and work all over the world. She spent time in Southeast Asia where she encountered the warm hospitality that the Islamic World is known for, which led her to the Middle East. She studied in Amman with MESP in fall 2016 and also spent time working with refugee communities in Jordan. After this, she worked in refugee resettlement and for URI, a grassroots peace-building organization in the United States.

Rachel’s background in international development and Islamic studies enables her to have a deep understanding of the communities she works in. She likes to be pushed out of her comfort zone and hopes to guide MESP students into new experiences. Her warm and extroverted personality allows her to reach across cultural boundaries and bring people together.

Rachel throws the most epic Halloween gatherings — her 2016 Halloween party went down in MESP history. She’s a master at the Slav Squat and has been to every continent except Antarctica! As much as she likes to travel her packing is a last-minute endeavor. But have no fear, Rachel will always make sure your passport is near!