Jordan 01.09.2012 - 14.09.2012
Can you place Jordan on a map? In case you are hesitating, we will introduce you to the country in between war ravaged Syria and Iraq, occupied Palestine, revolutionary Egypt and with the closed Islamic fort of ultra-conservatism a stone’s throw away: Jordan is a relatively safe haven in a troubled neighborhood. We will take advantage of this perfect geographic location to gain an insight into the country that is of high strategic importance for the whole region. We aim at focusing on a broad range of issues, the situation of Palestinian and Iraqi refugees, water scarcity problems, blog culture, women’s rights, the Arab Spring, get a glimpse of NGO work, cooking class, and the astounding nature sights that the country offers. Our wish is to offer a multidimensional understanding of this often neglected country.
The Hashemite Kingdom is a country in the Middle East whose strategic importance is often neglected by our media. Jordan is in fact directly or indirectly influenced by the ongoing conflicts in the region, illustrated by the enormous number of Palestinians and Iraqis seeking refuge in the oasis of peace. The stable Kingdom is a close ally of the United States; Iraq was invaded through Jordan, and the Jordanian government has signed a peace treaty with Israel. But these alliances do not reflect the position of the majority, as 2/3 of the population are Palestinian refugees. This leads to various internal tensions; between the traditionalists in the Muslim brotherhood and the official pro occidental stance. The King is juggling between opposing interests as the winds of the Arab Spring are approaching Jordan, and the outcome is still uncertain. The fascination of Jordan persists in the dilemmas between tradition and modernity - and its wonderful nature ;)
Things we want to accomplish on this trip
- Discover the one Middle Eastern country that remains largely unexplored by tourism and mass media.
- We wish to gain an insight in the refugee problem in Jordan through meetings with humanitarian workers, psychologists and academia.
- Unravel the mysteries of the stunning desert sights in Jordan, the archeological and historical treasures, the panoramas and the canyons.
- Get a close impression of the Arab culture in terms of language, cooking, shisha and lifestyle facilitated through home stays and encounters with local youth
- Visit one of the world’s seven wonders: Petra, the Nabatean city carved in stone
- Meet UNRWA (The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees) representatives in Palestinian refugee camps and understand the root causes of the problems.
- Meet local students to discuss their hopes and aspirations for the future.
- Visit the Swiss Embassy and learn about their interests and the various development projects undertaken in Jordan.
- Meet a well-known Jordanian blogger to discuss human rights and the Arab Spring.
- Read a book in the Dead Sea and find Nemo and corals in the Red Sea while snorkeling
- Discuss the history of the region and strategic issues at academic research centers
- Learn about war trauma and the situation of Iraqi refugees at the Center for Victims of Torture.
- Wadi Mujib- hiking through a stunning canyon on the lowest point on earth.
- Cook Arabic food and acquire basic Arabic language skills in our two crash courses.