Dec 16th, 2012 by Marwan Asmar
Under the patronage of the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities and Minister of Environment Nayef Hmeidi Al-Fayez and in collaboration with European Delegation in Jordan, a press conference disseminated results and actions of 4 EU-supported projects in Jordan and the Euromed countries on 10 December 2012, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Amman.
Minister Al Fayez was upbeat. He told the attendess which included managers and staff from the ATHENA, Med-Mem, Medliher and Foundations for a Strong Future projects as well as media journalists from the press, radio and television and those from cultural and educational institutions and civil society institutions, he is very pleased about these projects that support cultural heritage in the region.
“All of these projects are powerful landmarks to build on because they touch ‘tangible’ aspects of our lives, revolving around a structure of actions in the field of cultural heritage for a better environment and sustainable human and economic development,” he pointed out.
“It has been remarkable to see how the notion of cultural heritage has been dealt…tackling different aspects, creating the mechanisms for safeguarding heritage, reinforcing institutional capacities and civic institutions, to multi-media archiving and targeting youths and local communities for the support culture and heritage,” the Minister added.
Nizar Al Adarbeh, Manager of the ATHENA Project in Amman, an initiative in the Department of Antiquities spoke on the importance of the Euromed Heritage IV Program on behalf of Christian Dabdoub Nasser, team leader in the Regional Monitoring and Support Unit in Brussels responsible for the projects, he stressed the importance of projects in supporting cultural preservation.
“We are disseminating the results and achievements of four projects out of 12 regional projects under the Euromed Heritage IV Program which took effect from late 2008 and is ending in early 2013 at a total budget of 17 million euros,” he told the dignitaries that included the Head of Jordan Television and Radio Jordan and representatives from archaeological institutions in Jordan as well as civil society organizations.
“The Euromed program shows the commitment of the European Union to the Euromed area that includes Algeria, Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia and other countries in the region, having started in 1998 with total spending of 57 million till 2007 all in the field of heritage,” Al Adarbeh added.
Representative of the EU mission in Amman and First Councillor Ms Irene Mingasson and expressing the European Union’s when she said the Mediterranean has a rich cultural legacy that provides a vital link to promote coexistence, international relations and dialogue.
The importance of the four projects lay in their regional dimension. All of the project leaders gave presentations in their support of heritage.
Khaled Al Abdallat said the Med-Mem which stands for “Sharing our Mediterranean Audio-Visual Heritage is a 14–television network from Jordan, Italy, Algeria, Morocco and France that had collected a massive 4000 videos and can be viewed free at the online archive of www.medmem.eu site.
“It’s a large video library that covers history, culture and tourism and can be viewed online in English, Arabic and French,” Abdallat said.
The second project was presented by Mercy Corp in Amman Director Robert Marony whose organization represented the “Youth in Lebanon and Jordan Promote Cultural Heritage” project through the Foundations for a Strong Future. The project was about instilling culture and heritage amongst youths in both countries and developing programs for these young members of society to make sure they identify and develop pride in their cultural heritage.
The Safeguarding Mediterranean Living Heritage, Medliher, involved protecting heritage through strengthening the institutional organizations on the local, national and international levels and raising their capacities and creating the avenues to safeguard cultural heritage.
The last presentation was on the ATHENA Project for the Ancient Theaters Enhancement for New Actualities. Nizar Al Adarbeh spoke about the successes and moves to sustain ancient theaters and make people and local community more aware of the need to sustain these structures by safeguarding them from long-terms risks.
“Lots of work has been achieved in the last year on the research, documentation and digital scanning levels of ancient theaters across the Euromed region,” Al Adarbeh told the audience and media which included television cameras from JTV, Royaa Television and A1 Jordan as well as the Petra News Agency and independent broadcasters and newspaper columnists and analysts.
“This included networking with major regional meetings with the partner countries of Jordan, Tunisia, Italy, Algeria and Spain, and this involved regional meetings in Amman and Tunis to ensure a smoother work process,” he added.
Much banners were hoisted around the hall that highlighted different ancient sites in Jordan as well as laser scans while two banners of Alladin’s Magical Journey to Ancient Theaters were displayed to signal the children’s book of the name that was written by award-winning local writer Mohammad Al Thaher.
At the end of the press conference there was a book signing ceremony of Alladin’s tale that was distributed amongst the audience. The children’s book is to be disseminated across many public schools in Jordan.
Another book on the stand was Crossing Viewpoints: Living Heritage in the Mediterranean. This is a latest publication of the Euromed Heritage Program in cooperation with the Adverbum and Jarouss Press to stress the importance of cultural heritage in the region.