What can I say? I love Amman and Jordan!
We have had a powerful first three days here, each featuring a mixture of (1) extremely engaging talks from well placed individuals that have all lead to tremendously thought provoking question and answer sessions, (2) opportunity to visit historically and culturally important sites, (3) outstanding food (lots, and lots, and lots of outstanding Arabic food) and (4) endless Jordanian hospitality and graciousness.
Amman is a remarkable (young) city that is momentously situated geographically, culturally, and politically. It is in a country that faces enormous challenges both internally and from outside. For example: it is the fourth most water poor nation per capita in the world, it has a complicated demographic situation with probably 50 – 70% of its population comprised of Palestinians from the West Bank and with a current steady influx of additional refugees from Syria, it faces protests in response to (among other things) high unemployment and concerns about corruption, and, in spite of being a country rich in places of great interest to visit and full of such remarkable and overflowing hospitality – one of its main industries (tourism) is suffering badly because of its being situated right in the heart of a very unstable Middle East.
Jordan is a country with a very high literacy rate, sophisticated citizenry, and visionary leadership. And yet, for all the hope that is generated by meeting the sort of thoughtful, committed, peace-and-prosperity motivated individuals that we have been meeting these past three days, it is difficult to avoid the counter, disheartening, feeling of skepticism generated by a growing awareness of just how complex are the several complexities facing this nation, this region, and, consequently, the world.