JORDAN  On August 9th, 2019

 

 

The International School Network went to the residence of the Ambassador of Jordan to Japan to interview the Ambassador H.E. Ms. Lina Annab. 

Education (Madoka)

H.E. Ms. Annab explained to us that education in Jordan is similar to that of Japan, in its structure and focus. The structure of the educational system is similar in Jordan and in Japan, in terms of years of schooling and its designated Ministry. H.E. Ms. Annab explained that on a deeper level as well, in the sense that both educational systems take into account of the rapidly changing environment. H.E. Ms. Annab expressed the importance of education to prepare today’s generation for tomorrow’s challenges and changes. For instance, the internet has increased in relevance over the past 15 years, and the Japanese Society 5.0 takes this into account. H.E. Ms. Annab noted that we must realize the importance of the recent changes, which are changing faster and faster each day, so the “virtual (and modern) world can make the actual world a better place”. 

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Culture (Rino) 

When asked about what value unites the people of Jordan, H.E. Ms. Annab mentioned that love and acceptance are at the core of Jordanian people. This value can be seen through the acceptance of Syrian refugees, as Jordan embraces the second highest share of refugees per capita in the world. H.E. Ms. Annab explained that Jordanians strongly feels their citizenship and ownership of their country and that everyone feels just as important in making their country better. H.E. Ms. Annab believes that the traditions of Jordan is preserved to a certain degree. A rapid modernization has taken place in Jordan, which has lead to the loss of some memories, heritage, and language. However, the people of Jordan are aware of this issue and are making efforts to counteract the loss through semi-movements. H.E. Ms. Annab warmly congratulated Japan on its success in cultural preservation and modernization at the same time. 

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Tourism (Nanami)  

When asked about recommended tourist locations in Jordan, H.E. Ms. Annab claimed that there were too many to name just a few. Jordan is historically, ecologically, and culturally diverse, and visitors are able to enjoy a wide variety of activities. In terms of historical sites, Jordan is a ‘trail of civilization’ that had witnessed numerous civilizations over the course of human history. From the prehistoric, Helenistic, to Roman eras, the country still holds ruins from these ancient civilizations. Just like Japan, Jordan tries to preserve the unique and cultural aspects of their country, and she encourages more Japanese people to visit these sites. 

Jordan’s natural landscape consists of hot springs, mountains, forests, canyons, deserts, beaches, etc. Its natural beauty has been approved by many filmmakers, as movies such as The Martian and Indiana Jones have been filmed there. The country also shares part of the Dead Sea, which is known as the lowest and oldest point on Earth. Additionally, H.E. Ms. Annab shared that starting this April, she participated in a 40 day hike along the Jordan trail that stretches 650 km all the way from the north to the south. Participants get to enjoy all aspects of the outdoors that shaped its culture over the course of history. Because of the vast ecological diversity in the country, she suggests that visitors look into all types of activities during their stay. 

In religious aspects, H.E. Ms. Annab mentioned that Christianity started in Jordan. It is known to be where John Baptist baptized Jesus Christ, and the location is now registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

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Cuisine (Nanami) 

In terms of cuisine, H.E. Ms. Annab first mentioned ‘mansaf’, or dried goat milk kept for cooking. It is essentially a type of yogurt, that is commonly eaten with rice, meat, or bread. A lot of Jordan’s cuisine is seasonal and is heavily related to their lifestyle. It incorporates a lot of meat and vegetables that are native to the land. However, seafood is not incorporated into their diet because the country is mostly surrounded by land. H.E. Ms. Annab wants more Japanese people to experience Jordan’s cuisine. She believes that Jordan must share their culture through food because meals have the power to bring people together. 

 

Globalization (Nanami)

H.E. Ms. Annab wants people to revisit the word ‘globalization’ and really understand what it really means. She claims that this term is overused especially in the field of economics, and it seems to be losing its original meaning. Globalization should essentially mean peace, and be based on the interrelation of different cultures. It cannot work economically without it being socially and culturally fair and just. Through globalization, people must build bridges and break down barriers so that they can appreciate differences and coexist in peace. She hopes that people are consciously reminded that we are all essentially human beings, with the capabilities of existing in peace. The true meaning of globalization in her vision is the peaceful understanding and cooperation of all kinds of people. 

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Gender Equality (Rino) 

H.E. Ms. Annab thinks that there is still space for improvements in equality and equity in Jordan. Women of Jordan are among the highest educated women in the world, yet the labor participation rate is low, as it can also be seen in the fact that only 15% of the congress are female politicians. H.E. Ms. Annab believes that legislation for equal treatment is vital in creating an environment that encourages women to join the workforce. There are efforts and progress made towards this goal, but H.E. Ms. Annab wishes to see them actually translated into jobs.  As H.E. Ms. Annab says, “women are half of the society” and therefore gender equality is necessary for all elements of the society to prosper. 

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Qualities (Rino) 

H.E. Ms. Annab considers some of the best qualities of Jordanians to be their warm and welcoming attitude and their authenticity. According to H.E. Ms. Annab, Tourists to Jordan always say that the best part of their trip was not the tourist spots, but the people of Jordan who are down to earth, modest and full of hospitality. She wishes for the people of Japan and Jordan to engage more in interacting with each other. She believes that the two countries share many similar cultures and history, and therefore the people will feel stronger connection once they get to know each other. 

 

Goals & Dream (Madoka)

H.E. Ms. Annab’s goals as the Ambassador of Jordan to Japan is to build on to the already excellent relations between the two countries. She explained that this mission has a very strong foundation, as the two nations already have genuine love for each other. H.E. Ms. Annab hopes to further diversify the relations between the two nations as the “potential is tremendous,'' aiming to tackle the various aspects to make sure the relations can develop to the maximum level. In recent years, Prime MInister Abe has been visiting Jordan which has strengthened strategic ties, and H.E. Ms. Annab is very hopeful for the two countries’ relations to get even stronger for the future.

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Message (Madoka)

As a message towards Japanese people, H.E. Ms. Annab mentioned her hopes that Japanese people can be more aware of how admired they are from people all over the world. She hopes to share the good image and strong ties between Jordan and Japan to more people.

 

Furthermore, H.E. Ms. Annab aspires to break down the “psychological distance” that exists between Jordan and Japan, so that the two countries can come closer together, and exchange more visitors. There are few Japanese people visiting the Middle Eastern area, and vice versa. H.E. Ms. Annab hopes that people can break down stereotypes and so people can enjoy, share, and cherish different cultural values.

JORDAN  On Febuary 16th, 2015

 

 

The International School Network went to the residence of the Ambassador of Jordan to Japan to interview the Ambassador’s spouse, Madame Shifa Haddad. Madame Haddad  specializes in landscape architecture, which includes the architecture of houses and gardens. She has a Master’s Degree for the history of architecture, as she studied architecture and its harmony with nature. She is also very good at the Japanese language, as she was before awarded with the Monbusho Scolarship. Her interest in the Japanese culture started from watching her mother practice ikebana, Japanese flower arrangement. Her mother used only three flowers in her work, where each flower symbolized humans, earth, and heaven. Madame Haddad was amazed by the simplicity and beauty of ikebana.

This was news to us.

Madame Shifa Haddad embraced me in a hug when I expressed my thanks towards the people in Jordan for their support and consideration towards the people in Japan considering the unfortunate events in the Middle East. Madame Haddad  said that she was good friends with Mr. Kenji Gotou. She met him in Jordan in 2004 where she was a translator in an NHK television show.

 

Madame Shifa Haddad  comments that the number of staff members in the Embassy of Jordan is rather small, with 10-11 people, yet she is proud that the embassy members support each other to undergo many activities that are normally done by more people. Madame Haddad’s responsibilities as the Jordanian Ambassador’s spouse is of the social and cultural level. She gives lectures and does story-telling, meets people and groups, and organizes bazaars, charities, exhibitions, and cooking classes.

 

Madame Haddad  presented to us several interesting cultural similarities and differences of Jordan and Japan. Jordan and Japan were connected in the Silk Roads, where traditional objects, along with ideas, were traded and shared. Similar traditions of the two countries in art include wooden mosaics and floral designs. Similar to the traditional Japanese houses, traditional Jordanian houses are delicate and open to the environment and nature, having no doors at entrances, making them open for guests.

Traditional Jordanian houses are made of mud, with a plain, dry beige color, as they blend into nature. From the outside, these houses do not have much color, except for in the short springtime, where flowers and green plants grow in the mud. On the other hand, Jordanian homes are colorful and rich on the inside, contrasting to nature. This is the opposite from Japanese homes, where traditional Japanese homes are colorful on the outside but are rather plain on the inside.

Traditional Jordanians were bonded in family and town levels in tribal systems. People welcomed guests to visit and stay in their homes. Hospitality of the Jordanians can be seen as people welcomed guests into their houses, taking care of them without inquiring questions for three days and three nights. Another sign of hospitality in traditional Jordan is where the people, who were shepherds, slaughtered their valuable sheep for their guests. This sacrifice of valuable sheep for guests shows the generosity of the people of Jordan.

 

Madame Shifa Haddad’s message was to be proud of yourself, don’t be shy afraid to make mistakes when learning a foreign language, and to take good care of your culture.

(Reported by  Madoka Nishina)

Interview with Madame Shifa Haddad (Wife of the Jordanian Ambassador) Q&A  By Kurumi Onishi

 

Q1.) What are the responsibilities that you have as the Ambassador’s spouse?

A: The responsibilities she has as a wife of an ambassador is similar to that of the role of a diplomat’s wife. Her role is to represent her own country by attending social and cultural events, as well as some exhibitions.

 

Q2.) What kind of support do you receive from the embassy?

A: The amount of workers at the Jordanian embassy is relatively small compared to many others. At the moment, there are approximately 10 to 13 people working for the embassy. All workers help together and at times prepare together for numerous Jordanian festivals.

 

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Q3.) How did you encounter with the current ambassador (your husband)?

A: The two met through a program, Jordan’s “Youth for the Future”. When getting married, the current ambassador was offered a job in Rome, Italy. However, Madame Shifa Haddad insisted that they live in Japan. Therefore, they decided to work and live in Japan. After a while, Ambassador Demiye Haddad won the Utsunomiya Studentship Award. The two wanted to serve in Japan.

 

Q4.) I heard that Jordan is famous for its cuisine. What Jordanian dish do you recommend to tourists?

A: In Jordan, salads and dips called hummus are commonly eaten. The Madame personally enjoys grilled eggplants. In addition, Tabbouleh, which have mint, parsley, tomato, and cucumbers. Mansaf is also as popular main dish. It is lamb meat with dried yogurt and nuts. When inviting guests for dinner, at times Jordanians would present heads of sheep to indicate the level of generosity, as capturing whole sheep is financially difficult too.

 

Q5.) What is your passion about being in Japan?

A: Madame had previously studied at Chiba University. Ever since she was a little girl, her mother would learn Ikebana. She found it fascinating how with only three flowers (compared to the western-style big bouquets) such beautiful arrangement could be made. During her university years, she studied Japanese culture, pottery, architecture (landscape), and tea.

 

 

Q6.) How were you able to learn and perfect the Japanese language as well as English?

A: It was always trial and error for Japanese. When she first came to Japan, she felt as if the people smelled like fishes. So, she would try avoiding contact with as much people as possible, even public transportations such as trains. Of course she felt homesick. She did not find studying Japanese in university particularly interesting. Therefore, what she did was interact with Japanese people. She tried to hang out with Japanese friends. Even phone calls were difficult, as she constantly had an electric dictionary in front of her and she would translate every Japanese word said. As for English, her father had previously studied at the University of Arizona and she, herself also lived in the States from when she was three to six years old.

 

 

Q7.) I read that people in Jordan are very healthy and that they also provide medical support to people who come from different countries. Why do you think Jordanians are generally healthy?

A: Jordanian cuisine consists of mostly vegetables, wheat, and fruits. There is not too much meat. Also, Jordanians are generally happy, welcoming people and are always willing to help anybody despite nationality differences. Another reason could be that they have the best doctors in the Middle East.

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Q8.) “Petra” was the setting of the film, “Indiana Jones”. Can you tell us more about the place?

A: “Petra” is a mysterious, magical place, which is like a maze in the hidden desert. 3,000 year ago, the Silk Road connected these series of carved stones. The extension of Petra is also famous for being a camping site.

 

Q9.) Can you talk to us about the different clothes worn in Jordan?

A: Jordanian clothing is made with silk and has cross stitch on them. For every area, the design of the garments is different. Dresses could be elaborate or simple. Some dresses are 15m long, which is very difficult for woman to walk with. In addition to the clothes, Jordanians often wear silver jewelry.

 

Q10.) What are some of the animals seen in your country?

A: In the south, there are camels, whereas in the north, goats, sheep, birds, donkeys, and horses exist. There are no fishes in the Dead Sea, as it is the lowest point existing at the moment. Madame, herself did not grow up with many animals. However as a child, she lived at her grandmother’s house with some rabbits and chickens.

 

Q11.) What are the unique aspects of education in Jordan?

A: Jordanian education boosted in a short time span. During the time when the Turks ruled Jordan, there were almost no education and Jordanians spoke in the Turkish language. Currently Jordan has a literacy rate of 99% and is best in their region. High School is mandatory and universities are usually attended by girls. Girls usually marry at the age of around 24 and graduate school before getting their master’s degree. PHD is a little lower, however Jordanians are highly educated.

 

Q12.) What are the cultural values of the people in Jordan?

A: People of Jordan think human beings as treasure. Because there are no oils or natural resources that they could depend on, they had to rely on themselves. That is why there is a tribal system, where everyone lives together and feels connected. However, at situation of difficulties or complication, Jordanians prioritize blood before their tribal group. There are no doors in Jordanian households. It is a way to welcome people to their family, as well as a way of life. If a stranger is need of help, they let the person stay at their house for three days, providing them food and a place to sleep. For three days, they would not ask a single question to the stranger even if something seems odd and dangerous.

 

Q13.) Do you have any message for the Japanese people or students?

A: Jordan and Japan are strongly-bonded. Jordanians respect the Japanese and think of them as the inventors of the world. They like how Japanese people are serious, well-mannered, clean, and have good teamwork. To the Japanese people in general, she commented, “We truly love you. We hope you always be a peaceful country.” For Japanese students, she said, “Learn a lot and find how you can help the world someday.”

(Reported by  Kurumi Onishi)

Karen Nishina 5th grade

Saint Maur International School

INTRO: The ambassador's wife is a mother of two young children called Aya (Aya is the little one) and Maria (Maria is the bigger one). She loves Japan so much. She likes how Japan has Ikebanas. When she was small her mom was doing ikebana and she was taking a long time to do it. Soon she learned how to do Ikebana and how hard it is. She learned a lot about the Japanese culture. She studied pottery, Ikebana, tea and other things from Japan. She bacame to eat fish and became to eat more vegetables. She learned Japanese from her Japanese friends. She tried her best to learn Japanese.

NATURE: There country is a very beautiful place to live. They are very peaceful people. There education is very high. There is a special kind of mud that is very healthy.spring: Spring is 2 months in Jordan. Its very colorful in spring. They have so many flowers. Beautiful flowers like, Tulips and etc. (Wild tulips in Jordan.) Jordans spring is very green and nice/beautiful.

The water is very clean in Jordan. People love to go diving in the ocean.

TOURISM: There is a very mysterious place in Jordan. Its a place like a maze. There are many interesting writing/drawings on the wall of the building.

CLOTHES: The clothes worn in Jordan= A stripped kind of Fabric. It can be made out of silk.  The dresses are very beautiful. The dresses can be very simple too (the simple ones are for wearing in daily life). There are many kinds of dresses with many kinds of designs. A salt dress can be very long. It can be 15 metres.

ANIMALS: Arabian Oryx= Its a special kind of deers. A special kind of deer.

LANGUAGES: 99% of the people can read and write. Even Taxi drivers can speak english.

JORDANIANS: They really love Japan so much. The images of Japanese is very kind and very good. The Jordanians love the Japanese manners.

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Participants

Madoka Nishina  11th Saint Maur International School

Kurumi Onishi    10th Saint Maur International School 

Karen Nishina      5th Saint Maur International School

Haruka Shiga       5th Saint Maur International School