Artists for Peace
|Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan visits UNESCO on the occasion of the show "Night of Jordanian Treasures" and the 2007 Goodwill Ambassadors Meeting|
03-04-2007 10:00 pm On the occasion of the Annual Meeting of Goodwill Ambassadors, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan visited UNESCO on 3 April. During her visit, a cooperation agreement was signed between UNESCO and the Jordan River Foundation, which she chairs. “The Night of Jordanian Treasures”, a performance of Jordanian dances and music in Queen Rania’s presence followed the signing. The cooperation agreement was signed by Her Excellency Ms Maha Khatib, Director-General of the Jordan River Foundation, and Mr Qian Tang, Deputy Assistant-Director General for Education, in the presence of the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, and the Queen of Jordan.
The cooperation agreement aims to identify and establish joint projects in different areas: child protection, literacy, teacher training, formal and non-formal education and children’s rights. Several Goodwill Ambassadors have already made financial donations for the development of “Safe Schools” projects promoted by the Foundation, an initiative that aims to turn schools into safer environments in education.
Founded in 1995 by Queen Rania, the Jordan River Foundation is a non-governmental organization working to promote, in partnership with stakeholders, the development of a dynamic Jordanian society by initiating and supporting sustainable social, economic and cultural programmes that empower communities and individuals based on their needs and priorities.
Mr Matsuura paid special tribute to the Foundation’s work in improving the lives of women and children and its commitment to sustainable human development. “I salute here Your Majesty's remarkable work and devotion to the cause of literacy, from which UNESCO will now benefit even further through the signing of a cooperation agreement with the Jordan River Foundation”, declared the Director-General. Mr Matsuura also pledged UNESCO’s full support to the Foundation in mobilizing partners towards the achievement of the Education for All goals, as well as in promoting the right to education and improving the quality of education. “It is crucial that we continue to initiate and support important initiatives to promote human development and intercultural dialogue. I hope in particular that we can build on the Foundation’s excellent work in early childhood care and development”, he stated.
After the signing ceremony, the Queen of Jordan met UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassadors for an exchange of experiences.
The show “The Night of Jordanian Treasures”, which followed the meeting, was presented in Room I, and included traditional dance and music from Jordan. It was attended by His Excellency Mr Valdas Adamkus, President of Lithuania, Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Meryem of Morocco, Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva, First Lady of Azerbaijan, Her Royal Highness Princess Firyal, His Excellency Sheikh Ghassan I. Shaker as well as many other UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors, Mrs Matsuura, famous artist Mr Fernando Botero and other distinguished guests.
In his welcoming speech, Mr Matsuura praised the Queen of Jordan for her shared commitment to the preservation and promotion of local traditions and cultures. “The latter represent rich resources in terms of creativity, knowledge and economic opportunity (…) They are, above all, testimony to the importance of intercultural dialogue for fostering mutual understanding and peace”, he underscored. Mr Matsuura also took the opportunity to congratulate His Majesty King Abdullah II. of Jordan for his unwavering efforts to bring peace to the Middle East.
In Her address, Her Majesty Queen Rania thanked all the UNESCO Ambassadors and representatives for their efforts “to build peace in the minds of men and to foster dialogue, mutual respect, and understanding among the peoples of the earth”. “We [in Jordan] have carved out a special role as a link between regions and cultures. We know tradition and modernity can both find purchase in our soil, and we are eager to bring the world to Jordan, and bring Jordan to the world (…) Today, at a time when, too often, humanity is clashing instead of communicating, we need to promote [a] universal language and indivisible heritage," she concluded.
The artists introduced different facets of Jordan’s performing arts heritage. Pianist and composer Zade Dirani portrayed various aspects of the communities that comprise the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, playing his own compositions that blend oriental and contemporary western influences. The Performing Arts Centre performed Dabkeh, a community dance to celebrate weddings and other festive occasions. The national music conservatory then presented the group Mahabeesh, which uses the Mehbash, a tool used to grind coffee, as a percussion instrument. Finally the Circassian dance group Al Ahli demonstrated the virtuosity of its performers in the Qafa, royal dance describing the grace, agility and dignity of the Circassians, and the Islameh, a dance celebrating life and liberty. Famous French journalist Stéphane Bern presented the evening that was placed under the high patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah.
An exhibition (2 to 6 April) in the Espace Monaco (Room I) featured traditional and contemporary handicrafts produced by the Jordan River Foundation, as well as remarkable photographs of Jordan.
Photo (top) © M.Ravassard: Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan during her visit to UNESCO Headquarters on 3 April 2007
Photo (bottom) © M.Ravassard: Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah and the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura. Front row: Her Excellency Ms Maha Khatib, Director-General of the Jordan River Foundation, and Mr Qian Tang, Deputy Assistant-Director General for Education, during the signing ceremony for the Memorandum of Understanding between UNESCO and the Jordan River Foundation, on 3 April 2007 at UNESCO Headquarters