Socio-Economic Challenges and the Impact of Regional Dynamics on Jordan

Employment, Social Cohesion, and International Cooperation – Perspectives from the Region and Europe (Workshop II)
10 - 12 November 2019

This workshop in Amman was the second in a series devoted to analyzing issues related to Jordan’s socio-economic reforms and the implications of regional dynamics on the country. Mid-level experts from think tanks, academic research institutions, and comparable organizations discussed options for action together with decision-makers. The participants had previously attended a workshop in Berlin in September 2019.


Among the issues discussed were various measures to tackle unemployment in Jordan. These included the promotion of entrepreneurship with a focus on startups in the tech-enabled sharing economy, as well as programs and legislative measures to enhance female participation in the labor market. The importance of making progress in energy resilience and dept sustainability for economic development was also debated. As to regional dynamics impacting Jordan’s security, economic prospects, and social stability, the participants considered the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) crisis, the US “peace plan” for the Israel-Palestine conflict, and potential threats stemming from militias linked to Iran in neighboring Iraq.

Participants presented policy papers, which they had written between the two workshops, and discussed them with relevant Jordanian decision-makers and representatives of international organizations. A political activist and civil society representative who has led successful initiatives in the field of social innovation and civic engagement shared his experiences with participants to help them advance their advocacy skills.

The following speakers and discussants attended the workshop (in alphabetical order):

  • Najwan Aldorgham, UNHCR, Jordan
  • HE Ziad Al-Majali, Former Ambassador, Jordan
  • Mahmoud Al-Refai, Higher Council for Science and Technology, Jordan
  • Ulla Brunkhorst, Chargée d’Affaires a.i. of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • Kyle Cordova, Assistant to the President for Research and Development, Royal Scientific Society, Jordan
  • Khaled Kanaan, Chairman, Jordan Iraqi Economic Association, Jordan
  • Barik Mhadeen, Senior Researcher, West Asia-North Africa Institute (WANA), Jordan
  • Two representatives from the Ministry of Labor, Jordan
  • Hassan Momani, Jordan University, Jordan
  • Omar Rifai, Director General, West Asia-North Africa Institute (WANA), Jordan
  • Almudaffar Shoubaki, Leaders of Tomorrow, Jordan
  • Nayef Stetieh, President and Chief Executive Officer, Business Development Center, Jordan

The workshop was part of the MENA Program’s project to promote think tank work in the Middle East and North Africa. It aims to strengthen the scientific and technical capacities of civil society actors in the region and the European Union who are engaged in research and policy analysis and advice.

The project is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa). The workshop was organized in cooperation with the West Asia-North Africa Institute (WANA) and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Amman.