Peter Millett » Ambassador to Jordan, Amman

Who Needs Diplomats?

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Diplomacy is an old profession. Over two thousand years ago Greek city states used to send envoys to negotiate war, peace and trade. But surely with new technology, governments don’t need intermediaries? They can use the internet, videoconferencing and Skype to talk to each other. And with multiple news websites, instant reporting and people uploading their own videos onto Youtube, capitals don’t need diplomats to tell them what’s happening. And … Read more »Who Needs Diplomats?

Tunisia: Top of the Class?

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Last week I visited Tunisia for a conference. The preparations for last weekend’s Presidential elections were in full swing.   As the taxi driver who drove me from the airport said: “We are proud to be Tunisians: top of the Arab Spring Class of 2011.” Sunday’s vote was indeed the first freely contested Presidential election in Tunisia’s history. As with the Parliamentary elections held last month, they have been peaceful and … Read more »Tunisia: Top of the Class?

Trashy Stories

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Walking down from the Citadel to the centre of Amman a few weeks ago, we saw three boys sitting by the steps. I was showing some guests around, tourists from Britain.  The boys were about 7 – 8 years old and were eating crisps and drinking juice, watching people climbing and descending the stairs that lace that part of Amman. As we walked past them, one of the boys threw … Read more »Trashy Stories

Aramram: Challenge and Controversy

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Life would be dull if we all agreed with each other. Fortunately, differences of opinion are inevitable. They are also healthy. Whether disagreement revolves around what to watch on TV or where to eat, an open discussion will often lead to a better choice being made. The same applies to policy issues. An exchange of views on the options, say for the energy sector, means that people can evaluate all … Read more »Aramram: Challenge and Controversy

Learning for Life

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The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the world’s most prestigious awards. This year it was won by a Pakistani schoolgirl who fought for the right to learn. At 17 Malala Yousafzai was the youngest person ever to win the prize. She was told about it during a chemistry class at Edgbaston High School in Birmingham in the UK. Malala became a household name after being shot in the head … Read more »Learning for Life

Scotland The Wise

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Three weeks ago the Economist’s front cover pictured a drooping Union Jack with the headline: UK RIP? Fortunately the dismemberment of the United Kingdom didn’t happen. Scots voted by a 10% margin to retain the union. But it was a close run thing.                           If the campaign for independence had been successful, the impact of Scotland becoming a … Read more »Scotland The Wise

Box? What box?

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I’ve lost count of the number of times we have been exhorted to “think outside the box”. Worthy management gurus parroting clichés and senior managers trying to sound trendy have turned it into a hackneyed and meaningless phrase. The approach it advocates is also self-defeating. It suggests that the box – and the constrained and unimaginative thinking that rests within it – remains valid. It gives the impression that we … Read more »Box? What box?

What is the NATO Summit about?

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His Majesty King Abdullah will be in Wales tomorrow for the NATO Summit. Why is this meeting important? The Summit will be the largest gathering of world leaders ever hosted in the UK. It brings Prime Minister Cameron, President Obama, Chancellor Merkel, President Hollande and many other world leaders together at a difficult and sensitive time. Why is this such a key moment? Won’t this just be another expensive gathering … Read more »What is the NATO Summit about?

Helping Palestinian Refugees

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How to help refugees is a major issue in Jordan. As a country, Jordan has offered sanctuary to generations of refugees from many neighbouring countries, most recently from Syria. But the presence of over 2 million refugees from Palestine also presents a major challenge to the country. That is where the role of UNRWA comes in. It is a role that has been highlighted in recent weeks by the tragedy … Read more »Helping Palestinian Refugees

Guest Blog: ‘No one is born educated’ by Richard O’Carroll

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In this month’s slot, I am happy to host a blog written by Richard O’Carroll, who is a Teacher of English at the British Council Jordan. He speaks fluent Arabic and his interests are in helping learners communicate effectively in intercultural business contexts. ‘We have a saying in Arabic which means ‘no one is born educated,’ explained Zaid, “It means we learn through experience and practice. I think it should … Read more »Guest Blog: ‘No one is born educated’ by Richard O’Carroll