The Catholic Center for Studies and Media (CCSM) in Jordan, in cooperation with the Educational Activities in Eastern Europe (SGP)/ the Netherlands, held a conference titled, “Look to the Future Together” on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 under the patronage of Senate Speaker His Excellency Faisal Al Fayez.
In his opening address, the Senate speakers said, “Since the founding of the modern state of Jordan, we have faced several challenges, yet we always managed to overcome them and emerge stronger. These challenges further consolidated our stands, and Jordan continued its march with the resolute and courage of its leader as well as with the awareness of citizens and the alertness of its security and military apparatuses.” He pointed out that “Jordan has undertaken several precautionary measures to counter the current challenges, such measures which stem from our constants and from our national interests with the intention to enhance our security and stability, and to enable us to continue to play our pivotal role as a country that seeks peace and strives to end the cycle of violence in the region.”
Senate Speaker Al-Fayez stressed that “in order to maintain Jordan’s propitious march and to preserve our national identity, we must strive to preserve our national unity and rally behind our leader, His Majesty King Abdullah II, to strengthen his resolve in the face of the dangers facing our homeland.
He went on to say, “I am confident about the future and have no worries about the national identity of Jordan, because the Hashemite Throne entrenches stability in our society and protects our national identity.” He stressed that “His Majesty the King, since the assumption of his constitutional powers, reiterated that Jordan would not be an alternative homeland for anyone, and that he would neither give up Jerusalem nor the custodianship of Islamic sanctities there, regardless of the pressures imposed.”
For his part, Director of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media (CCSM) in Jordan, Fr. Dr. Rif’at Bader said that ”we have been living together for a hundred years and have been facing challenges together as has been the case in the past, at present, and in the future. The word ‘together’ means that there is no discrimination. This is mentioned in the Jordanian Constitution which states that ‘All Jordanians are equal before the law.’ So, there is no discrimination as all people are equal regardless of religion or ethnicity. We all rally behind a wise Hashemite leadership. This leadership is like a safe ship, even when it crosses rough seas, because we believe that God has provided us with security and stability which is attributed to His Majesty King Abdullah II Ben Al Hussein.
He added, “We look forward to the future together from a religious, political and social point view as well as with confidence and optimism that our future will be propitious. What makes us to say so is our national unity, the beautiful fence, the impregnable rock that foils all attempts to cause instability, fear, strife or corruption, which some people try to instill.”He added that the “togetherness” implies continuing the march together in Jordan as an extended family and preserving the national fabric. On the other hand, it implies foiling all machinations which aim at undermining security, confidence and optimism. We all rally behind our Hashemite leadership to preserve the Arab rights, namely Palestine and its right to independence, whose essence is Jerusalem, its Islamic and Christian sanctities, its Hashemite trusteeship, and its future at a time when the Jordanian diplomacy concurs with the international legitimacy and with the call of the Holy See to have Jerusalem as a city of brotherhood of three religions and for two peoples.
Mr. Egidijus Navikas delivered an address on behalf of the European Union in Jordan in which he said, “The EU is convinced that all religious traditions have a voice in building a more humane globalization.” He added that the EU strongly supports Jordan’s moderate and stabilizing role as it serves as a positive model for interfaith dialogue and peaceful coexistence. He continued that the UE strongly supports Jordan’s proactive role in interfaith dialogue being the way to build bridges through understanding one another which leads to common living.
In an address representing the Netherlands Embassy in Amman, Mrs. Veerle Vastwijk said that the relations between Jordan and the Netherlands have been warm for a long time. She added that the government of the Netherlands selected Jordan as one of three focus countries which makes Jordan one of its priorities.
She continued that the stability of Jordan is one of the Netherland’s priorities as the Netherlands expanded the number of projects being run in Jordan.
In another address delivered on behalf of the SGP by Dr. Wijbren Jongsma, he said that the SGP is a small political party that was founded in 1918, namely more than one hundred years ago. He added that its projects vary from agricultural issues to the concept of democracy, from education to state-building, from protection of the rights of minorities.
He continued that the SGP seeks to attain a healthy society with a morale that results from mutual respect, as well as a fundamental role of political authority is to ensure justice to the political realm, in addition to meeting the needs of healthy families, good education and healthcare to prevent poverty and social injustice. He stressed that in the struggle for the well-being of all it is important to fight corruption and discrimination.
The conference included three sessions focusing on the future from religious, social and political points of view.
The first session, titled, “A look towards the future from a religious point of view” included addresses by Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan Bishop William Shomali, as well as other addresses by former Culture Minister His Excellency Dr. Sabri Rbaihat, and Fr. Dr. Bishara Dahabrah.
The second session titled, “A look at the future from a political point of view”. It included addresses by Member of the European Parliament, Foreign Affairs Committee Mr. Bastiaan Belder and by Member of the Jordanian Senate Her Excellency Mrs. Haifa Najjar. The session focused on the situation in the region from a political point of view following the restoration of stability in Syria and Iraq as well as in Mosul from where the Christians, Yazidis and Muslims were forcibly displaced.
The third session, titled, “A Look at the future from a social point of view” included addresses by Director of Caritas Jordan Mr. Wael Suleiman and President of the American University of Madaba Dr. Nabil Ayoub.
At the end of the conference, the participants recommended the need to deepen the mutual knowledge between cultural, social, and media institutions in the East and West, as well as the need to promote the common religious and humanitarian values between Christians and Muslims which reflect on harmony all over the world.
The participants in the conference sent a cable of greetings and appreciation to His Majesty King Abdullah II Ben Al Hussein, and congratulated him for being awarded the Templeton Prize, in his capacity as the leader of interfaith dialogue in the world, as well as being awarded the Lamp of Peace Prize, in his capacity as a voice for justice and peace in the world, with reference of the Jordanian diplomacy he leads which calls for solving the Palestinian issue as well as for the protection of Jerusalem, its institutions, and the Islamic and Christian holy sites, by adhering to the just rights of the Palestinian people and the Hashemite custodianship of holy sites.