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Bedouin culture receives international acclaim
09 January, 2005

By Ahmad Barakat

AMMAN - Bedouin hospitality was celebrated and honoured yesterday as a cultural practice that contributes in a sustainablemanner to improving the quality of life. The celebration, held under the patronage of HRHPrincess Basma, marked the inscription of bedouin hospitality  on   the 2004  Harmony List, designed by UNESCO′s International Fund for thePromotion of Culture (IFPC) in cooperationwith I.DE.A.M, Integral Development Asset Management.

The Harmony List seeks to highlight the besttraditional or innovative cultural practices from across the world thatcontribute to an improved quality of life. Princess Basma said bedouin hospitality has played asignificant role in bringing people together and contributed topreserving traditions and social ties, held as a source of pride by allJordanians. "We in Jordan havereason to be proud of our heritage.

Our country stands out like a beacon for the way that differentcommunities live together in harmony," the Princess said. Referring to the IFPC- I.DE.A.Mcollaboration, the Princess said: "It is particularly gratifying to note this partnership -which constitutes a model for collaboration with the world of business onthe important objectives of international business here in Jordan, especially those involved with tourism and hospitality - to communicatethe value of bedouin hospitality and its contribution to cultural diversityin the wider world." Speaking at the ceremony, I.DE.A.M President Xavier deBayser said the criteria for selection include respect for theenvironment, capacity to provide solutions to contemporary problems, maintenanceof harmony between populations and their lifestyle, and the potential fortransfer, adaptation and reproduction of the practice in question.

"Bedouinhospitality" and Canada′s Bush School were chosen from the 10 best as the first two inscriptions on the list. Bedouinhospitality, incarnated by the coffee ceremony, is a symbol of conviviality,generosity and meeting with others in a courteous, respectfuland peaceful atmosphere. According to a joint statement by IFPC and I.DE.A.M, 10 culturalpractices are pre-selected each year, and at least one is inscribed on the HarmonyList. The winner is then invited to apply for IFPC funding towards acultural development project. During the ceremony, a diploma was presented byMilagros del Corral, deputy assistant director general for culture and director ofIFPC, to Amneh Al Arameen, a representative of the bedouin communityand an active member of the Women′s Committee at thePrincess Basma Community Development Centre in Madaba.

Enjoying a large degree of autonomy, the IFPC wascreated in 1974 with the goal of helping creators and cultural entrepreneursfind additional funds. I.DE.A.M is an asset management company of the CreditAgricole Group dedicated to Socially Responsible Investment (SRI), favouringcompanies that demonstrate good social, societal and environmental practices.

Present at the ceremony were Princess Wijdan, a memberof the IFPC administrative council, Minister of Education Khalid Touqan, Ministerof Higher Education and Scientific Resarch Issam Zabalawi andrepresentatives of diplomatic missions in the Kingdom. The celebration, held at the University of Jordan,concluded in front of a bedouin goat-hair tent, where guests drankunsweetened coffee and listened to traditional songs.