What does the star of a “posh soap” have to do with a refugee camp in Jordan? A lot. Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary in the popular British drama series Downton Abbey visited Za’atri last month. In the show she plays an aloof and disdainful aristocrat; in reality she is extremely sensitive and anxious to help relieve the suffering of the refugees. Michelle will now front up the Christmas … Downton Abbey Comes to Za’atri
Laws are good. They help to prevent murder, theft and violence. But sometimes they suffocate, stifle and smother growth. In these cases, governments need to get out of the way of business. The private sector is the main driver of economic growth. Jobs that are productive, encourage innovation and unleash creativity will only be generated by business, not by governments. The role of government is to enhance a country’s competiveness … Cut the Red Tape!
At an exhibition in Jerusalem recently I saw a display of amusing but thought-provoking objects. One was a simple box of safety matches, the kind that you can flip open. The only difference was that the heads of the matches were shaped like the domes, spires and minarets of Jerusalem. The message was clear: this city is flammable. If it is not handled with care, if the rights and sensitivities … Jerusalem: Handle with Care
A Malay proverb says “clapping with the right hand only, produces no noise.” When it comes to being effective in our day-today work, how can we make sure we make noise, ie produce effective results that make a difference? One way is by working together better. Team-building is an essential part of running any office. In Amman we promote a One Team ethos and have a committee dedicated to promoting … Away Day
Did you know that enough sunlight falls on the earth in 1 hour to meet the whole world’s energy demand for a year? Exploiting this source of clean and readily-available energy must surely be a no-brainer. Promoting renewable energy used to be seen as a fad for environmentalists. And there is no doubt that there are strong environmental reasons for reducing dependence on oil, coal and other fossil fuels that … The Winds of Change
Last week the Jordanian national football team “Nashama” beat Uzbekistan in a nail-biting penalty shoot-out, inching closer to qualifying for next year’s World Cup in Brazil. It was a tremendous win and Amman erupted into celebrations as enthusiastic supporters drove round town honking their horns and waving flags. Unfortunately, some supporters also fired their guns in the air, reportedly injuring three people. Celebratory gunfire is common in many parts of … What goes up must come down
The world’s media has been dominated by the politics of how to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons against civilians on 21 August. As often happens, the facts are obscured by false claims and rumours. The main question is whether the United States will launch a military attack. The United Kingdom has decided not to join any military action, following a debate in Parliament. But as an … Syria: What Next?
Monday 19 August was World Humanitarian Day. Such days – which mark important international themes – occur regularly. But few can be as relevant and important this year given the severe refugee crisis caused by the tragic violence in Syria. There are now almost 2 million Syrians – 10% of the population – in neighbouring countries, mainly Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. Over 20,000 have fled to Iraq in the … World Humanitarian Day: So What?
Travel broadens the mind. By visiting different countries you can make comparisons and learn about how those countries handle big issues. You can also start to appreciate and understand your own country better. One issue which hits visitors abroad is the way a country handles rubbish. I have just returned after two weeks on the west coast of Canada. The whole of British Columbia, notably Vancouver and Whistler makes … Talking Rubbish
When our daughters were small, they used to read stories about Pippi Longstocking. She was a nine-year old girl with ginger plaits. She was unconventional and assertive with no respect for authority. She also had superhuman strength, being able to lift her horse with one hand. Our daughters learnt that girls can achieve anything if they want to. Pippi Longstocking was also Swedish. And another Swede with superhuman diplomatic strength is … Charlotta Longstocking