Planning for the coming 100 years

07-02-2021 11:28 AM

By Professor Dr. Ahmad Y. Majdoubeh

This year, Jordan will be a hundred years old and Jordanians will be marking the centennial with a great sense of pride and achievement.

Pride because Jordan has been an oasis of stability, moderation, coexistence, respect of human rights and peace.

It has also been a safe haven for so many peoples seeking refuge; and it has been a blessing to its neighbours, never meddling with their affairs, but always intervening with goodwill to cooperate, build bridges and solve problems.

Achievement because Jordan’s human resources, always viewed with respect and admiration, have not only built their country on firm foundations, but contributed to building several of the neighbouring countries with diligence and loyalty.

In the first hundred years, so much has materialised, at so many levels: politically, economically, socially, educationally, ecologically, etc.

Among the strongest markers and indicators are its reliable and resilient institutions, which form the backbone of the state, both in the public and private sectors.

Several of them clearly stand out as milestone achievements, offering key services to the people: the University of Jordan, the official Radio and TV stations, Al Hussein Medical Centre, Al Hussein Sports City, the Eastern Ghor Canal, King Talal Dam, the Aqaba Free Zone; to name a few.

The centennial is an occasion to celebrate, and even brag: in the middle of a volatile and turbulent part of the world, an oasis of positivity and civility has been established, a beacon to the region and the world.

But the centennial is an occasion of reflection, self-examination and planning: reflection on where we truly stand today; self-examination for the purpose of rectifying some of what has not been done well or what went wrong; and planning for the coming hundred years.

The crucial question is, and should be: where do we want to be at the end of the coming century?

What are our priorities, politically, economically, socially, educationally, etc.? What precisely needs to be done to eradicate poverty, alleviate unemployment, enhance democracy, boost education, revive agriculture, push more successful industries forward, capitalise more on tourism, and so on and so forth.

And what should our mega projects be? Trams and subways inside cities, fast trains among major cities and across neighbouring countries, flying taxis, cable cars in scenic places, the Red Sea-Dead Sea Water Conveyance project, a new model city, more natural reserves, sustainable energy projects, water desalination stations, etc.?

We know that, despite COVID-19, a lot of events are being thought of by way of celebrating the Jordanian achievements of the past hundred years; and rightly so.

Many events, however, should be thought of by way of carefully, thoughtfully and creatively planning what we need to, and must, achieve in the coming hundred years, as well.

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