Ammon News, Culture & Society

Queen Rania commends youth volunteers in meeting with Nashmi Center for Youth Empowerment

[1/15/2018 3:27:43 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah expressed her gratitude toward all Jordanian volunteers for "uplifting the nation with their passion," during a meeting on Monday with members of the Nashmi Center for Youth Empowerment. Speaking at a gathering with Nashmi members at Beit Shams in Jabal Amman, the Queen said she is always eager to meet with volunteers for their crucial role and important efforts to advance their communities. She spoke with the youth volunteers about the importance of positivity and constructive criticism, which should be followed by "reform, hard work, and collaboration." Her Majesty was received at Beit Shams by Nashmi Founder, Ala’ Al Bashiti, and Shams Founder, Maha Dahmash Malhas. Following an overview from Al Bashiti on the organization’s work, the Queen joined a number of the center’s youth volunteers for a discussion on volunteerism in Jordan. Her Majesty explained how social media has changed the face of volunteerism, providing it with new avenues that were nonexistent ten years ago. Commending the Nashmi Center for creating sustainable, data-driven initiatives, Queen Rania highlighted the importance of gathering statistics in developing effective initiatives that meet the public’s needs. Launched in 2016, the Nashmi Center for Youth Empowerment is a non-profit organization that promotes social work and volunteering across the country. Aiming to position volunteerism as a way of life and a moral obligation among Jordan’s youth, Nashmi encompasses several volunteering campaigns addressing social issues. Among the 21 initiatives it supports, Nashmi lobbies against the use of firearms at public events, raises awareness to protect youth from cybercrime, performs repairs and maintenance at primary schools, and works to assimilate people with disabilities into society. According to Al Bashiti, Nashmi was built upon the values of dialogue, honest work, and productivity. At the meeting, he shared the organization’s strategy for the current year, which aims to launch initiatives that counter extremist ideology, encourage school students to perform community service, and shed light on the importance of maintaining parks and other public spaces.

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China to open cultural center in Jordan

[1/8/2018 7:29:12 AM]

AMMONNEWS - China will launch a cultural centre to promote Chinese culture in Jordan and to enhance ties between the two countries, Chinese Ambassador to Jordan Pan Weifang said Monday. The ambassador made the remarks at a press conference with Jordanian Culture Minister Nabih Shuqum, where the two sides signed a deal for the launch of the center in the Jordanian capital of Amman. The center, which serves to promote the Chinese cultural and boost cultural exchange between the two sides, will provide training opportunities on Chinese calligraphy, handicrafts, art, language, literature, books and movies, among other activities, the Chinese ambassador said. "A wide array of performances, exhibitions and cultural activities will be held by the center to familiarise Jordanians with the Chinese culture and boost ties in this regard," said the ambassador, adding that the center would function as a cultural bridge between the two nations. The Jordanian minister voiced appreciation to China for its support to Jordan, adding that the kingdom was determined on boosting cultural exchange with China. *Xinhua

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Jordan Introduces Cash Support to Poorer Citizens in 2018 Budget

[1/2/2018 6:55:48 AM]

AMMONNEWS - Among the 99 legislators present (out of 130) in the evening session, 58 lawmakers voted yes. The Islamist Islah bloc (14 seats), and other deputies, had announced boycotting the debate in protest to lifting subsidies off essential commodities that have been a fixture in the national economy over decades, including bread. In an unprecedented occurrence, the House debated and voted over the bill in one day, a development seen by officials as a leap in the reforms to the way the Chamber operates, while critics, including social media activists, slammed the House for completing the task without enough deliberation. The 2018 draft state budget includes, for the first time, a social safety network/cash subsidy with a value of JD177 million to make up for rising cost of living brought about by lifting subsidies. The cash subsidy will be directed to each member of the army, security and civil service whose salary is below JD1,500, the government and the deputies agreed, as suggested by the House’s financial committee, which studied the budget and made a set of recommendations. Other measures the government has agreed to include cancelling two conditions set originally for individuals to be eligible to receive the cash support, namely, the family should not own two cars or more and/or real estate worth JD300,000 and more. Otherwise, all Jordanian families whose total annual income does not exceed JD12,000 and individuals whose annual income is not more than JD6,000 will be eligible to receive the cash subsidy, estimated for each individual at around JD32 annually. The corrective measures to be implemented by the government, including public expenditure control, will increase revenues by JD450 million in 2018, according to the budget statement. The Finance Ministry is expected to activate a website it has already designed to allow would-be beneficiaries to post their information, with 2016 used as a base year for income. Civil and military employees and pensioners, retirees served by the Social Security Corporation and beneficiaries of the National Aid Fund will have the subsidy added to their monthly salaries, while other beneficiaries will receive quarterly or biannual payments, including divorced women who receive alimonies. The government also agreed to exempt households that consume less than 300kw/h a month from any price hikes that apply when the oil barrel’s price exceeds $55. The Cabinet had already decided to include the 60-69 age category under the free medical care umbrella, among other measures to ease the impact of the new system on low-income citizens. Jordan: New Economic Plan To Create 150,000 Digital Jobs By 2025 Jordan: $10 Billion Worth Of Investments In Aqaba By 2025 Following the endorsement, Prime Minister Hani Mulki thanked lawmakers for their vote and commended the new approach to the deliberations, as only 31 deputies took the podium, of whom six spoke on behalf of their blocs. House Speaker Atef Tarawneh said that around 110 deputies were represented in the speeches delivered. Mulki told deputies that off-budget expenditure is blamed for the accumulating dues on the state, vowing to bring an end to such a behaviour. He said that without the debt service, the budget would have a JD400 million surplus. Under the budget law submitted to the Parliament, domestic revenues stand at JD8.496 billion, compared with JD7.715 billion of reestimated revenues in 2017, while current expenditures are estimated at JD7.886 billion and capital expenditures at JD1.153 billion in 2018. The after-grants deficit in 2018’s budget is expected to sway around JD543 million in 2018, dropping by JD209 million in the reestimated value in the 2017 budget. As for government units, revenues are estimated at JD1.664 billion and expenditures at JD1.812 billion with a deficit of JD148 million. The combined deficit of the central government and government units will drop this year to JD831 million, down from JD1.035 billion in 2017. *JT

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Passports department urges citizens to obtain smart IDs

[12/31/2017 4:32:58 PM]

AMMONNEWS - The Civil Status and Passports Department said on Sunday that citizens can obtain their smart IDs at 92 offices across the Kingdom during the official working hours, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. The department said that the number of its branches has been increased with the aim of facilitating and accelerating the process of obtaining new smart IDs.

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Queen Rania attends launch of ‘Karim and Jana’ educational mobile application for children

[12/4/2017 4:13:46 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah attended on Monday the official launch of ‘Karim and Jana,’ a free mobile application developed by the Queen Rania Foundation for Education and Development (QRF) to promote early childhood education. Designed for Arabic-speaking children between the ages of three and six, ‘Karim and Jana’ features five fun and educational games, through which children can develop their mathematical, linguistic, and social skills. The mobile application provides parents with a free learning resource that increases their children’s readiness for school during their formative years. The launch event took place at the Children’s Museum Jordan (CMJ), where Queen Rania was welcomed by QRF CEO, Haifa Al-Attia, and CMJ Director, Sawsan Dalaq. Her Majesty joined a group of mothers from across Jordan for an awareness session, which emphasized the importance of early childhood education as well as parents’ role in shaping their children’s personality and learning skills. Research has shown that more than a third of children in Jordan between the ages of three and six have never been taught letters, numbers, or words, and more than a third of mothers in Jordan do not read to children under the age of five. Meanwhile, in comparison with other middle-income countries, Jordanian children’s enrollment rates in kindergartens and nurseries were found to be very low. After the session, Her Majesty chatted with a group of mothers as their children tried out the application, who explained how technology has made it much easier for them to teach their children from home. The ‘Karim and Jana’ application is designed for children to use alongside their parents, who are encouraged to apply its concepts to real-life activities. Queen Rania then dropped in on a Training of Trainers (TOT) session, where a team from QRF conducted a training session on the use of the free application for its partners from CMJ and the Zaha Cultural Center. Throughout the upcoming period, QRF will provide training on early childhood development as well as tablets loaded with the ‘Karim and Jana’ application to multiple Zaha Cultural Center locations, Queen Rania Al Abdullah Hospital for Children, and Jordan River Foundation centers in several governorates. Her Majesty also stopped by the CMJ library and joined a group of children learning about tourism sites in Jordan through the application. Through ‘Karim and Jana,’ children can learn to count to 20, identify two- and three-dimensional shapes, understand basic addition and subtraction, and build listening and comprehension skills through stories and songs. The application also includes an ‘Adventure’ game, which uses interactive play principles to take children on a journey across Jordan. The launch of QRF’s first mobile application comes as part of its support of the National Strategy for Human Resource Development (HRD), which outlines national priorities, including early childhood education and development, for implementation by the Ministries of Education and Social Development, in collaboration with NGOs and the private sector. Established by Her Majesty in 2013, QRF aims to be a leading regional resource and incubator for new and innovative ideas and initiatives in education. The foundation’s work is focused on identifying gaps and opportunities for developing new education programs, as well as influencing policy and creating transformational change on the ground. ‘Karim and Jana’ is available for free download for Android from Google Play and for iOS from the App Store.

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NET-Med Youth programme supports youth in becomingfully-fledged actors in society

[12/3/2017 4:43:21 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Sami Houraniis a young Jordanian entrepreneur who turned his back ona lucrative and prestigious job in robotic surgery to establish an ambitious youth platform. He is a motivated and proactive young man in his small country, where youth unemployment and exclusion have become a major concern for policy-makers, a concern that is echoed across the Middle East and North Africa. The prevailing senseof loss among youth in the southern Mediterranean served as an inspiration for EU officials involved in cooperation, leading to the creation of the NET-Med Youth programme, an ambitious project focused onyoungbeneficiaries, where each individual counts. Hourani is one of many Jordanians who benefited from this three-year project. Through training and day-to-day guidance, the project helped take his business to another level, capable ofcompetingin a cutthroat market. Young men and women in the southern Mediterranean region suffer from high unemployment and low representation in public and political spheres, disinterest in civic engagement, exclusion from mainstream media, and economic marginalisation. NET-Med Youth is ajointEU-UNESCO response to these issues,according to Dareen Abu Lail,an Associate Project Officer with the project.“The NET-Med Youth project has done great work withlocal assets, developing them according to local needs. It is clearly a unique project with a substantial added-value forthe country,”said Abu Lail. "I would see NET-MED Youth in the future focusing on the policy level. Anevidence-based approach will help us to work more with youth organisations, to make recommendations for the government to develop youth policies," she added. EU partners in the project believe youth in the region have great potential,butneed guidance and training to realise their goals, and that’s precisely what the project seeks to achieve: empowering youth to help them engage in the creation and implementation of national policies on education and employment that focus on their rights, responsibilities and potential.

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Queen visits Jordan valley village, looks firsthand at development projects

[10/30/2017 3:42:22 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah on Monday visited Al-Bayoudha in the Jordan Valley, where she met with families, village elders, and community leaders to discuss the village’s community development projects. Her Majesty began her visit at the Abdulrahman Bin Awf Charitable Society, where she met with representatives of communities across the Al Ardah municipality. Established in 1990, the charitable society has contributed to the launch of several income-generating projects through its financing of sustainable agriculture and provision of training courses. After conveying His Majesty King Abdullah II’s regards, Queen Rania commended the people of Al Bayoudha for capitalizing on the area’s natural resources in order to create a sustainable local economy. "His Majesty consistently calls for each area to make the most of its distinguishing features by developing and building upon them. This step lies at the core of decentralization and sustainable local development," Her Majesty said. In turn, residents briefed the Queen on the environmental and economic importance of the area. Queen Rania then met with Director of Al Balqa’ Institute for Innovation, Ilham Al Abbadi, as well as a number of the institute’s female beneficiaries. The village women showed Her Majesty some of their products, including olive oil, thyme, soap, and embroidery pieces. Established in 2013, Al Balqa’ Institute for Innovation has implemented several social development projects in the area, with a focus on natural agriculture, handicrafts, food production, and social responsibility. In collaboration with the Arab Group for the Protection of Nature and the Al Bayoudha Society, the institute has contributed to the planting of 6,200 trees of 25 different varieties at homes across Al Bayoudha, with 10 trees awarded to each family. Striving to enhance the quality of village agricultural products and market them to other regions, the institute also hosts seasonal volunteers to help farmers harvest wheat, olives, and animal feed. Among Al Balqa’ Institute for Innovation’s many initiatives are a children’s innovation club, the Al Bayoudha Volunteer Network, and the promotion and support of the biodiversity-focused ‘Declaration of Al Bayoudha,’ under which the local community strives to transform the area into a model environmental and social economy.

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