Fostering Cultural Dialogue to Enhance Community Integration between Diaspora Communities in Jordan: World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development
From social development to economic growth, diasporas have long led to the prosperity of the communities they lived with. Every year on May 21, the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development honors diaspora communities and promotes cross-cultural dialogue by celebrating the diversity of the world's many cultures, fostering unity, and promoting sustainable development.
In the Middle East, and specifically in Jordan, diasporas have lived in harmony with the Jordanian community and created an atmosphere of open dialogue and knowledge exchange ever since the Kingdom was established. Amidst the highly charged region, Jordan always maintained its position as a country of great stability and even greater hospitality. Encompassing a sizable number of Palestinians, Syrians, Iraqis, Lebanese, Sudanese, Yemenis, Armenians, Circassians, Bosnians, Egyptians, and many more.
Whenever tension arises in the region, Jordan is known to be one of the countries to welcome diaspora communities with open arms. For example, Jordan expressed solidarity with the Palestinian diasporas ever since the beginning of the Palestinian struggle; which greatly reflected in their attitudes and strengthened their sense of belonging. Yasmeen Barghouti, a 19-year-old Palestinian whose parents moved from Jerusalem in 1967, talked about the strong ties between the two countries, saying: “Jordan and Palestine have long been considered one nation, with very similar cultures and traditions. And through the years, conversations between the two have only been growing more and more understanding, seeing beyond the trivial differences.”
Syrian and Egyptian diaspora communities, on the other hand, have also made significant contributions to the development of the Jordanian market and furthering society cohesion, Mohammad Mostafa, a 40-year-old Egyptian restaurant host, discussed the role of the Egyptian diaspora community in Jordan, noting that Jordan hugely helped them grow financial resources to aid their families back in Egypt. He went on to say that the Jordanian cultural diversity has made it easy for them to assimilate and reach out to people from different backgrounds; to further understand their cultures and learn from their differences.
When it comes to active integration and engagement between societies, Idris Alzuhur, a 26-year-old community engagement specialist that works for a local community awareness organization, spoke about the importance of communicating with people from different cultures by saying: “Many undermine the impact of promoting cultural dialogue and discussing the different traditions communities practice in Jordan in sustaining a peaceful environment on the land.”
Kameel Ali, a 36-year-old Iraqi community activist, discussed the role of the Iraqi diaspora community in promoting many aspects of the Jordanian economy, he said: “Ever since my family and I left Iraq to Jordan, I have been aware of the many initiatives and projects launched by Iraqis in Jordan. The partnership between the two countries has allowed for genuine community engagement and economic empowerment that will surely reap beneficial outcomes for both ends.”
In last words, Farah Juma, a Sudanese-Jordanian 27-years-old, spoke about her father's experience of immigrating from Sudan to Jordan in 1980 to pursue a new career path, saying: "While my father's journey has not been easy, and living in a new country can be intimidating. He was always grateful to Jordanian society for its proactive efforts to involve people from various backgrounds in all aspects of society and to provide a healthy space for cultural expression, all of which will enhance societal development.”
Diaspora partnerships aid in mobilizing support and influencing structures, improving international relations, and serving as catalysts for policy, operation, and practice change. Collaborating with and across Jordan's diaspora communities, the majority of which are connected through geography, shared interests, or similar circumstances, to accelerate social cohesion and dialogue, is an effective instrument for enacting environmental and behavioral changes that will further support the Kingdom and its people.