Culture and Development
“Cultural diversity creates a rich and varied world, which increases the range of choices and nurtures human capacities and values, and therefore is a mainspring for sustainable development for communities, peoples and nations” (UNESCO 2005 Convention).
Dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples based on mutual understanding and respect is the essential prerequisite for social cohesion and peace among nations, and ensures the necessary conditions for personal and societal development and growth. Cultural diversity is a driving force of development, not only in respect of economic growth, but also as a means of leading a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual life.
The role of culture for development is affirmed by the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, an international agreement that ensures that artists, cultural professionals, practitioners and citizens worldwide can create, produce, disseminate and enjoy a broad range of cultural goods, services and activities, including their own. Jordan ratified the convention in 2007, showing its commitment to support its vibrant modern cultural landscape.
Assisting Jordan in the implementation of the 2005 Convention and strengthening the contribution of culture to sustainable development is one of the UNESCO Amman Office’s main goals. Its activities included:
- Organizing cultural diversity nights where different ethnic groups in Jordan (including the Circassian, Chechen, Armenian, Jordanian, Turkish, Daghestani, Bukhori, Bangladeshi, Kurdish and Druze groups) have the opportunity to showcase their traditions through dance, song and music.
- Mapping cultural institutions to understand the field of contemporary cultural practices in Jordan and the needs of artists. The survey primarily targeted contemporary forms of cultural practices rather than traditional or craft-based forms and constitutes an important element for the formulation of a new cultural development policy.
- Providing stand-up comedy training to young people from different social, cultural and economic backgrounds, which culminated in a final performance.
- Mapping and assessment of handicraft producers and designers in Jordan to gain an understanding of the handicrafts industry, followed by a competition for Jordanian designers of hand-made objects.