Spring 2013, Issue III
H.R.H. Princess Ghida Talal
With H.R.H. Princess Ghida Talal
It was a wonderful experience to give a presentation to American university students at the Jordan Institute of Diplomacy. They were so interested to learn about the King Hussein Cancer Foundation and Center and eager to offer any support needed
These types of interaction are crucial to keep broadening the base of relationships all over the world, people who are enemies of cancer and friends of Jordan
The fight against cancer requires the support of each and every one of us.
H.R.H. Princess Ghida Talal,
Chairperson, Board of Trustees, King Hussein Cancer Foundation.
Silsal Ceramics Studio
Since I missed the site visit to the soap house and our supervisor, Tagreed, works really hard to plan trips for us, I trekked out to the Silsal Ceramics Studio, despite not knowing anything about pottery. I might have read a book in middle school once. Mumkin (maybe).
“Silsal is a leading design house that has been creating functional art for over twenty years. Their tableware and furniture are sold throughout the world and their ceramic artwork has been exhibited at the British Museum.”
It was surprisingly a ton of fun. First we entered a cute studio room with many breakable things on display, and then we were given a tour through the back rooms where the magic happens. It was funny to me how it was all men making/kilning the pots and the women carving/painting the designs. It was also phenomenal to watch each item take shape as meticulous hands brought the forms to life. Designs are carved and drawn free-handed, without stencils. Not all the artisans have university degrees, either, since Silsal will train them after hiring.
“Silsal’s collections range from traditional to modern. While some designs are refined interpretations of the arts of the Bronze Age and the ancient Islamic World, others focus on modern, and at times abstract, motifs. Their modern pieces are primarily known for their minimalism and for challenging the shortcomings of various media.”
The design house was established about twenty years ago, and the woman currently in charge who is the mastermind behind the designs inherited the place from her mother and aunt. Everything was gorgeous but way out of my price range, obviously, since each piece is made by hand. One of the guys got a good deal – two Turkish coffee cups and saucers for 20 JD that would match his mother’s kitchen color scheme. I don’t even know what my mother’s kitchen color scheme is, if such a thing exists.
Another one of the guys is also a big ceramics buff, and the production people let him have a go at spinning a pot! I thought it looked great, but he was embarrassed and said he was out of practice.
He also treated us to a mini-lecture after we left the studio about how a place like Silsal with such high expertise should pull their handles instead of sticking them on and not charge so much for electric instead of wood-kiln-fired products. I don’t know anything about that but felt I should include it in this post, in case any experts insist on getting their money’s worth.
Mnghan Lui,Tufts University
Visit to Salt
Salt was the first capital of Jordan with civilizations dating back to the Ottoman Empire. While the rest of the area was populated with nomadic groups such as the Bedouins, Salt was becoming a trade center due to its close proximity to many cities including Damascus. As a result of this long history, the DPS kids took a field trip to see three historic sites of this city.
Daret Wasfi El Tal
Our first visit was to the house of Daret Wasfi Al Tal. After the death of his beloved wife, Al Tal donated his house in her memory. This house not only had a beautiful view into life during the 1970’s, but also contained multiple mementos from the late King Hussein such as signed photographs, and letters. Al Tal earned his status among Jordanian society as the Prime Minister during three separate terms. His house is to soon open as a museum to remember his wife and his service to Jordan. Next we went to Jordan’s first boy’s school. This school has graduated many prime ministers and head educators. Finally, we arrived at the museum of Salt. This building has its own historical significance because the first king of Jordan, King Abdullah I stayed in one of the rooms. Since then the house was transformed to memorialize the old city. It was a great display of the past and it detailed the lifestyle in Al-Salt during the Ottoman Empire and onwards. The museum was small, but it had examples of hand-woven Jordanian dresses, a fake market for kids, a movie on a traditional wedding, and many other rooms describing the history.
Emily Gallagher,American University
Site Visit to the North, Al-Baqoura, Um Qais and Jarash
On Saturday,April 20, the CIEE DPS students had the privilege to travel around the North West part of Jordan to Al-Baqoura and Umm Qais regions as well as the ancient city of Jerashand to the Friends of the Earth Middle East (FOEME) nature park.
Although the weather was less than desirable, the students had the honor of meeting with several very welcoming military leaders and hear them speak about Jordan’s unique role in the region from both ecological and military perspectives. From the military bases that were visited, the students were able to see an impressive panoramic landscape that included land from Israel, Jordan, the Sea of Galilee and even Golan Heights! They also heard from one of the directors from FOEME and his dream to create an ecological park accessible for the both the Israelis and Jordanians. The landscapes are stunning and ecologically more diverse than many other parts of Jordan and it is important to preserve them for the future. After a delicious lunch,
the students headed to Jerash and had a private tour of the Northern part of the ancient Roman city. It was quite a busy, historic and overall wonderful day spent in Northern Jordan!
Susan Waldron,American University
The Jordanian Parliament
On April 4, DPS had the privilege of visiting the Jordanian Parliament. We were escorted through the gates and up the grand stairs to a conference room where we met with Parliament member Abed Al-Rahim Boucai. MP Boucai’s speech was really engaging and provided an honest and personal take on the current domestic issues facing Jordan. The question and answer period proved to be extremely beneficial and MP Boucai was more than happy to try and answer all of our questions.
After the presentation we were taken to the Dome where Parliament holds its meetings.
The Dome where Parliament holds its meetings.
Being in the room that we have seen televised so frequently was really incredible. It felt like we were actually at the core of Jordanian politics. It was really fun to pretend to be members of parliament and pose for pictures during our imaginary 15 minutes of fame. The trip to the Jordanian Parliament was such a privilege that I know the students of CIEE DPS won’t forget.
Ingrid Eicher, Colgate University
H.E. Joanna Wronecka's visit to JID
"Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan H.E. Joanna Wronecka visited the Jordan Institute of Diplomacy on April 18 and engaged in an informative discussion regarding Jordan-Europe relations. Jordan enjoys "advanced status" relations with the EU, and is also a member of the EU's Union for the Mediterranean. In her remarks, H.E. Wronecka provided a historical overview of the new European diplomacy, highlighted the importance of a mutually beneficial relationship between Jordan and the European Union, and enlightened us on the complexities of regional multilateral democracy. The question-and-answer session provided us a rare opportunity to gain first-hand perspectives on the intricacies of diplomacy and politics. The role of the European Union in the national development of Jordan is indubitably essential and continues to expand over time, especially in light of Jordan's ongoing reform efforts."
Yan Han Ong, Georgetown University