Socio-Economic Challenges and Jordan’s Foreign Policy (Workshop II)

Employment, Trade, and International Cooperation – Perspectives from the Region and Europe

Among the issues discussed were different measures to tackle unemployment in Jordan, such as Jordan’s recently introduced flexible-work regulation and possible state-sponsored employment programs; the role of Jordanian political elites in promoting or undermining socio-economic reform; and the impact of Jordan’s energy policy on energy security, economic development and trade. The participants also considered the importance of international support and how to enhance potential cooperation, e.g. within the framework of the EU-Jordan Association Agreement, as well as the impact of the Israel-Palestine conflict on Jordan.

The workshop participants presented policy papers, which they had written between the two workshops, and discussed them with relevant Jordanian and European decision-makers as well as representatives of international organizations. Two political activists and civil society representatives who have led successful initiatives in the field of employment and female economic empowerment also attended the workshop and shared their experiences with the participants to help them advance their advocacy skills.

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

  • Hiba Abbadi, Project Manager, Business Development Center, Amman 
  • Ruba Al Zubi, Advisor to the President for Science Policy and Program Development at the Royal Scientific Society, Amman 
  • Lina Arafat, Former Ambassador, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, and Director of the Jordan Institute of Diplomacy, Amman
  • Reem Aslan, Consultant, “Gender Pay Equity” Program of the International Labour Organization (ILO)
  • Hasan Bahjat, Community Based Protection Officer at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • Jonny Hazboun, Levant Regional Director, Lapis Communications, Amman
  • Wasfi Haddad, MP, Jordan
  • Rasha Manna, Impact Lead, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and former CEO, Endeavor Jordan, Amman
  • Maher Matalka, Former Chairman, Co-Founder, and Current Board Member of EDAMA Board of Directors, and Former Director of the Economic Affairs Directorate, Office of His Majesty King Abdullah II at the Royal Hashemite Court
  • Diya Nanda, Program Management Specialist, UN WOMEN , Amman
  • Egidijus Navikas, Deputy Head of Delegation and Head of Political, Press and Information Section, Delegation of the European Union to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Amman
  • Irene Omondi, Head of Office Mafraq and Zaatari camp, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Amman
  • Yaroub Qudah, Former Minister of Industry, Trade, and Supply, Jordan
  • Omar Rifai, Senior Advisor to HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal at the Royal Hashemite Court, and Former Ambassador to Israel
  • Nareman Shawaheen, Co-Founder of the “Stand-Up with Teachers” Campaign, Irbid
  • Dyala Tarawneh, Assistant Director, University of Jordan Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, Amman
  • Qais Zayadin, MP and Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Member of the “Civil Alliance”, Jordan

The workshop is part of the MENA program’s project promoting think tank work in the Middle East and North Africa. It is aimed at strengthening 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.