Visit of the Director-General of UNESCO to Jordan (3-6 March 2020)

The Director General of UNESCO is currently undertaking her first official visit to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan from 3 to 6 March.

During her trip, the Director-General was received by Jordan’s King Abdullah II Ibn Al-Hussein with whom she had a fruitful discussion on strengthening cooperation between the organization and the Kingdom in the fields of education, culture, heritage, science, environment and climate change.

The Director-General commended King Abdullah II for his constructive role as custodian of the holy sites in Jerusalem, as well as for his vision in aiming to ensure that Jerusalem remains a unifying city of peace and harmony for the three monotheistic religions. UNESCO, within the scope of its mandate, will work with all concerned parties to preserve the cultural heritage of the World Heritage site of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls. This site of outstanding universal value requires safeguarding in line with relevant international standards, including UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention and World Heritage Committee decisions.

While in Jordan, Ms. Azoulay visited the Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME), a major intergovernmental science facility in Allan, created under the auspices of UNESCO. It is the first synchrotron light source in the region, and the first to be fully powered by solar energy anywhere. Since 2017, it has hosted research and experiments on topics such as new materials for batteries, the ancient manuscripts of Qumran and the analyses of algae. Over 185 male and female scientists from the region, including technicians, engineers and researchers at SESAME itself, have spent up to two years at synchrotron radiation facilities, acquiring first-hand experience in constructing accelerators and beamlines for synchrotron light sources and using the technology. SESAME also fosters scientific diplomacy by building bridges between scientists in Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, Palestine and Turkey.

Later on 4 March, the Director-General was to visit Luminus Technical University College (Al Quds College) where a UNESCO project , funded by the Government of the Republic of Korea, supports the provision of technical and vocational education and training and higher education opportunities for Jordanian and Syrian youth present in Jordan due to the crisis in Syria. Students are trained in six vocational disciplines, including design, IT and hospitality.

    On 5 March, Ms Azoulay was to visit some of Jordan’s cultural heritage highlights, including the World Heritage sites of Petra and the Baptism Site “Bethany beyond the Jordan” (Al-Maghtas), as well as Mount Nebo.

    UNESCO is supporting the Government of Jordan to ensure the safeguarding of its cultural heritage. The Organization is working closely with authorities to ensure the stability of the world-renowned site of Petra and address the ongoing threat of flash flooding in the area and develop sustainable tourism.

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