A session with a group of high school students from The National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) took place on 4 July 2017 at Ecopeace Middle East’s Office in Amman. The aim of the session was to raise awareness in relation to environmental degradation and to inform the students about EcoPeace’s efforts to rehabilitate the Jordan River.
The session began by introducing EcoPeace as a projects oriented organization with an overall objective of promoting peace and cooperation over the shared environment in the region. EcoPeace’s Jordanian assistant director Mr. Abd al Rahman Sultan focused on the quick demise of the Jordan river and explained how conflict and lack of cooperation led to the current sorry state of the river. Consequently, the students began to understand the importance of EcoPeace’s solutions to help reviving the river, not as an isolated stream of water, but as a part of a larger eco-system.
The importance of the Jordan River is not limited to its natural value, but also to its cultural significance. The Jordan River is considered holy by more than half of humanity as it is mentioned in the holy books of Muslims, Jews and Christians. The students were able to see how the spiritual value of the River can play a vital role in rehabilitating it.
The session ended by introducing EcoPeace’s master plan for the rehabilitation of the Jordan Valley. One of the main challenges to any sustainable solution is how to manage human activities in a way that does not damage the environment. Convincing different actors to work together in a harmonious way is never easy and the students were able to relate as this challenge is a global one and not restricted to a certain region.
Finally, the whole experience was beneficial for both sides. The students had the opportunity to learn, and their perceptions as outsiders helped EcoPeace’s staff to view what they do with fresh eyes.
Written by: Jumana Al Bakheet