Maani: Winning Puts Amman on the World Map as a Touristic and Cultural Destination

Maani: Winning Puts Amman on the World Map as a Touristic and Cultural Destination
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Published October 24th, 2010 - 15:19 GMT

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 "Amman's winning the hosting of the Universal Forum of Cultures for the year 2016 is an event of high magnitude, locally, and on the Arab and international levels. It is bound to give Amman, of all its constituents and segments, the opportunity to tell the whole world about its charm, deep rooted in history, its cultural movements constituents, and its dreams, ambitions, and accomplishments in all human and urban spheres," said Omar Maani, Mayor of the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) in a statement to Al-Rai Daily.

Maani further added that Amman aspires to a bright future as a Capital consecrating itself with a genuine identity formulated over the successive, magnificent, human civilizations, geographic diversity, moderate climate, and on top of everything with its local citizen who enjoys a diversified culture in a superior social colorful fabric playing the most beautiful demographic symphony.

The Mayor pointed out that winning the hosting of such an event shall allow the intelligentsia of all walks of life to share with their fellow intellectuals around the world their cultural, artistic and human experiences. It shall also place Amman on the world map as a touristic destination where millions of tourists, the world over, shall enjoy their best times watching the archeological, and touristic sites. They shall also indulge themselves in all the cultural and artistic activities, shows, musicals, theater, artistic dancing troupes (shows), art galleries, plastic art (shows), sculptural galleries, in addition to poetic nights, lectures and other pertinent activities.

Marketing the Cultural, Touristic, and Artistic Product,

Maani stressed that winning such an event shall eventually contribute to marketing the cultural, artistic, and touristic product, in addition to promoting the message of Amman with its human, moderate, centrist, and love connotations. In addition, there will be a great opportunity to attract international institutions interested in culture, art, information, and tourism to hold joint projects with official and national institutions in Jordan and Amman.

He said that the GAM gives this winning to everyone, and invites all concerned to join forces to make the 2016 hosting of the event a historic moment that is worthy of our Hashemite leadership, our good people, and our country which is always worthy of the best.

Maani called for pooling all resources and efforts of all sectors to prepare for the event. To him, everybody should be involved in the event, each according to his or her capabilities, and creativity. GAM, on its part shall, until due time of the Forum, implement all the projects oriented towards rehabilitating urban regions in the center of the city, public transport matrix, theaters and show rooms and halls, King Abdullah Gardens at Al-Muqabalein, which are the biggest in the history of the Kingdom, in addition to King Abdullah House for Culture and Arts, which is meant to be a prominent cultural and artistic landmark on the international arena.

He expressed his greatest wishes for our dear City and for the City of Quebec to score a distinguished and historic record of hosting the Universal Forum of Cultures for the year 2016.

Communication Advisor to the Mayor, Najeh Abu Al-Zein said that the idea of the Universal Forum of Cultures emanated on the heels of Barcelona's organizing the 1992 Olympics. The organizers, a group of intellectuals, and Barcelona's municipal officials came with the idea to launch a universal cultural forum, and give all cities of the world the chance to host it.

Among these cities were Barcelona 2004, Mexico 2007, Valparaíso, Chile 2010, Napoly 2013, and Amman, Jordan, and Quebec, Canada 2016.

Tolerance and Friendship

Director-General of UNESCO, Federico Mayor Zaragoza, said that the Forum may substantially contribute to crossing barriers and borders, and building wide spaces of tolerance and friendship that should, in their very basis, leave the best legacy for the generations to come.

He pointed out that cities do represent main incubators for human kind, eventually playing a critical role in building more just globalization, and extending the best advantages and benefits to everybody, given the fact that everything affecting cities is bound to affect nations and their citizens. To him, cities constitute ideal spaces for excellence, cultural development, upgrading identity, and social solidarity, with special emphasis, at the same time, on the international challenges we, nowadays, face.

He stressed that the Forum targets culture and citizens through laying the foundations of dialogue, reciprocity, and awareness to reach social solidarity. It (the Forum) also tackles urbanization that aims at improving the quality of living for all citizens, in addition to enhancing the city's orientation towards universality and upgrading its local capacities.

Dialogue and Discussion

Zaragoza also delineated that the Forum tries, through tackling the opportunities and crises generated by globalization, to rectify them all by way of dialogue, discussion, experimenting, and the various activities. As a world gathering, it aims at improving world social equality through supporting sustainable human development, and creating new creative opportunities to solve cultural and racial disputes. It also functions as a medium of incentives for long range goals with regards to sustainability, peace, culture, diversity, and co-existence.

He further added that the Forum has enhanced its civic vision towards future development, as it is interested in programs and reforms that should leave tangible and intangible effects on the city. The Forum is also considered to be a live, ever growing project. Therefore, its Commission is constantly working on making use of cumulative experiences, good practices, problem solutions, and the challenges the Forum faces while in session.

The Forum, according to Mr. Zaragoza, focuses on the city as both the latter and citizens prepare the agenda: political, cultural, artistic, and economical. They both constitute the force behind international development. Cities interact with one another, exchange expertise and knowledge to improve urban management, democratic practices, and social solidarity, in addition to upgrading and building identity, ensuring their competition, delivery of the basic services, and improving the quality of living for everyone.

He explained that the Universal Forum of Cultures has originally come to play a role in this side of conduct, as a cultural initiative related to rebuilding the urban model. It is also an integrated initiative aiming at improving the quality of living to all citizens, to develop dialogue as a basis for human understanding. He maintained that it is an urban improvement process with enough capacity to help the urban society overcome social challenges, and to contribute to the city's hosting of the world economic interaction and understanding.

Cultural Diversification

Zaragoza stressed that the city, which could host the Universal Forum of Cultures, must have hosted the activities of the Human Rights Declaration; (UNESCO) Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, (UN) Millennium Development Goals, Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development, Barcelona Principles, and the Universal Forum of Cultures Principles & Values.

He further explained that the Universal Forum of Cultures is distinguished by being a world gathering by citizens and for them. It targets a diversified and family audience from all age brackets, with special focus on youth and children. It is a convenient platform for dialogue, thinking, and free expression. It is a gathering without limits, or competition, and with no profit purposes. It creates a network of cooperation, solidarity, and alliance among public organizations and cities, and promotes the values of languages, minority cultures and related activities.

It is worth noting that the Forum is convened in various forms, some of which are the same everywhere, but others are left to the hosting city to add whatever it pleases. Dialogues are the backbone of each forum, in addition to the speakers corners which include public discussions, forum workshops, in addition to cultural, artistic, musical and theatrical shows, along with dancing shows and poetry nights. There are also story readings and other activities related to the main objectives of the Forum.

Selective forums may include games, traditional city sports, sustainable shows, and markets organized by NGO's with human objectives, in addition to urban cultural activities and others that may shed light on the city.

Based in Barcelona, the Universal Forum of Cultures is run by a board of trustees elected every three years, and a duration ranging between 30-150 days.

Languages of the Forum include that of the hosting city, in addition to the official languages adopted by the Forum Commission: Catalonian, Spanish, English, and French. The hosting city may add any language with a strategic dimension in organizing the Forum, in addition to the minorities languages used in the region where the Forum is convened.

The idea of the Forum came on the heels of the Barcelona Olympics of 1992 by the organizers, a group of intellectuals, and municipal officials to the effect that all urban spaces, and the Olympics buildings and facilities should be maintained and utilized through the founding of a Universal Forum of Cultures, giving the opportunity to all cities to nominate themselves to host the Forum.

Among these cities were Barcelona 2004, Mexico 2007, Valparaíso, Chile 2010, Napoly 2013, and Amman, Jordan, and Quebec, Canada 2016. 


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