On the Starlit Terrace

By Jumana Ghunaimat

تم نشره في Sat 20 May / May 2017. 12:00 AM
  • Jumana Ghunaimat

Over 1,000 global figures attended the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s sessions yesterday, Saturday, at the Dead Sea King Hussein bin Talal Convention Centre, in Jordan.

Public figures, politicians, economists, business, and experts came from all over the world to discuss, as planned, the future and empowerment of the upcoming generations, as well as the challenges surrounding youth around the world.

The convention addressed many issues along the lines the political economics of our reality, from unemployment; of youth in particular, to female empowerment, underdevelopment, and the dangers of skyrocketing poverty rates on society.

Notwithstanding other, equally important topics, the Forum also addressed war refugees and conflict displacement, as well as the donor community’s shortcomings in facilitating shelter for the terror and war struck refugees of conflict countries.

On the side-lines of the Forum, everything is addressed.

Participants left nothing out; from concerns, to hopes, all through the challenges and opportunities facing the region as a whole, and Jordan in particular.

On the esteemed shores of the Dead Sea, on the terrace of the Convention Centre’s terrace, participants discuss the implications of the Syrian crisis and its future, between the cease-fire and partition.

They ask the "million-dollar question", on whether or not the players in the Syria will agree to a final solution which will put an end to the tragic war.

Six years have gone by, since the Syrian crisis began, and its effects on the comprehensive development of our war-ravaged region, are unimaginable.

More so, the issues of our youth and women are growing as a result of the wars raging and the weakness of the investment wheel.

On the terrace, the participants are more open and transparent.

Condemnation of the occupation in Palestine and their heinous crimes against the Palestinians is discussed openly, contrary to usual, in the starlit openness of the terrace.

Similarly, terrorism in Iraq presides the list participators’ concerns, right next to concerns of spreading sectarianism. All in the midst of obvious and outspoken hopes that Iraq succeed in its war against ISIS and other forms of terrorism, to arrive at sustainable stability, for a better future, both for Iraqis and the region in its entirety.

In the meantime, businessmen openly discussed their dissatisfaction with the "damned" bureaucracy, hindering their work.

They hesitate, a little, when talking about legislation, which delays their investments, but they save no breath once they get started on the hindrances which obstacle their tasks.

They are also quite articulate when it comes to how the idea of ​​public-private partnership (PPP) remains an unfulfilled aspiration.

International organisations too are present on the terrace. They too seek an audience. And insistently, might I add, they persist their outlook on the region, that this year is going to be better than the last.

Meanwhile, Arab and local officials, as well as experts, all believe that some of these organisations somehow persist on maintaining their optimism regarding our economic situation, even though —clearly— we are doing worse now than we were in 2016; and they know it.

That said, Jordanians have their own conversations.

They reaffirm on the strategic nature of our relationship with Iraq, and the opportunities that come with it. This is both in regards to the prospects of the oil pipeline as a huge project that establishes a new form of partnership, as well as their hope of opening the Trebil crossing once Iraq is done with ISIS, to achieve mutual benefit.

Next to this, a usual topic is addressed, on the usefulness of these forums, the level of attendance, comparison with previous sessions, and Jordan’s benefit from holding them.

Between those who see the advantageous benefits of holding the Forum in Jordan, and those who don’t, the undisputable fact remains that holding the WEF here, given the difficulties of the current situation, the surround wars and all, only reaffirms Jordan’s uniqueness and reliability.

It proves that Jordan is an oasis of security, overcoming what many other states could not.

If anything it shows that Jordan’s relative stability only adds to the Kingdom’s value and indispensability, as the strategic partner it is to its friends, and the haven it is for safe investments of scale, some of which are to be announced today.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.