Category Archives: Jordan

Posts covering Jordan.

Jordanian Cuisine

Jordanian_FoodThe Jordanian cuisine is extremely festive and is heavily influenced by Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine. Pretty much every mealtime is a social event, where people gather together to share the prepared food. There is a large variety of cooking styles in Jordan but it is mostly the authentic meals such as shish kababs, shish taouks,and stuffing of vegetables (grape leaves, eggplants,etc) that stand apart from any other country.  Hummus is a very common and delicious appetizer that is eaten with freshly backed pita bread. “Mansaf is a Bedouin dish and often symbolizes a occasion. Mansaf consists of Arabic rice, a rich broth made from dry sour milk (jameed), and either lamb or chicken.” One can say that Jordanian cuisine highly resembles the Greek cuisine or Mediterranean cuisine.

The collective manner of sharing each meal, allows the Jordanian people to express their hospitality and generosity towards any guests and extended family members.  All the meals are put into appealing arrangements and that allows a person to get what they want easily.  Food is extremely important to Jordanian families because it reflects their culture and tradition.

Posted by Irina Franz


Women’s Rights Struggle in Jordan

jordan-s6-c30Although Jordan seems to be moving in a positive direction towards their future in area’s such as economy, environment and politics, the country is at standstill when it comes to women’s rights. Recently Jordan has seen a rise in women protesters on the streets. The women are strongly unsatisfied with their limited role in the country and politics. Women’s issues are not a priority for the country and the women are finally getting enough courage and strength to take their objections to the streets. It is estimated that approximately 55 percent of higher education is received by women. Yet, it is still not enough for the males to take notice of this fact. Most leadership positions are held by the males and the females are not even considered for these positions.

Recently Jordan updated their constitution to fit the countries pathway for the future. However, gender equality was absent and this pushed the women to form a protest against the absent of their rights. Recent studies show that women’s rights are being left behind or taken away due to  the Arab Spring. Many Muslim countries are looking towards conservative religions for some guidance.  Jordanian women need to keep pushing till they get some positive results from their government.

Posted by Irina Franz


Jordan’s culture is very unique compared to other countries. When it comes to conversation,  Jordanians love to talk about religion but not if you are trying to push a different religion on  them. If you are trying to take the missionary approach, it might hurt your relationship with that person. They aren’t opposed  talking about money  such as  wages, rent, and other money related items. One thing you should try to avoid is asking them about their personal relationships with their spouses. This is considered very impolite. They enjoy talking about  soccer because it is the sport that brings the communities together. Talking about current event could be risky, especially if it’s about the west or Israel.

Gift giving can be tricky. Usually when you provide a gift to a family, it means that you are better off than them. Most of the time they will not get offended especially if you do it in secret or if you bring the gift to the children. Begging is extremely normal in Jordan. Actually, the beggars are considered to be sophisticated and well-trained and surprisingly the  profession is not considered to be t the bottom of professions. When it comes to expressing themselves, when Jordanians use quiet voices it shows that the person is well matured and respected. Loud voices reflect their emotional state, it could be love, grief or hate. Standing close to each other is actually very common and should not be surprising. Overall, Jordanians are extremely welcoming and nice people to all who enter their home.

Posted by Irina Franz

Near East Foundation

NEF has worked in Jordan since 1937 in areas pertaining to literacy, agriculture, and development. With six offices in Amman, the foundation works closely with other NGO’s to strengthen local communities through development. NEF focuses on environmental issues, finance and attempts to solve the lack of water problem.

In 2008 the foundation organized a project called “Poverty Pockets” which primarily invests money and energy on establishing development on local economies. The project looks at the poorest areas in Jordan and finds different ways to increase economic growth by creating money generating jobs. By promoting investment and encouragement innovation, the project establishes small lending loans and grants. Additionally, the project helps to improve and create local business, public schools, health centers and public community. The primary donor to this project is Jordanian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperations (MOPIC). NEF and MOPIC work together to achieve all the goals that would help to build up a poor community. Foundations such as NEF builds a positive relationship with other NGO’s and in return they work together to give the local people opportunities that they would not have if the NGO was not present in that country.

Posted by Irina Franz

UN’s Involvement in Jordan

According to the UN, it appears that Jordan is substantially involved in UN. The United Nations presence is strongly felt in Jordan by having other 16 different agencies throughout the state. These agencies address humanitarian issues along with development. No single agency can act alone in order to be fully beneficial thus they work together to work on issues such as reducing poverty and sustaining the environment. Additionally, the agencies do focus more on younger generations so they can grow in a healthy and optimistic environment.

Agency such as United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) works on providing young children proper education when it comes to treating  the environment with respect by teaching them how to recycle and reuse various materials. Also,  the UNWomen agency is highly present in Jordan by providing economic empowerment and focuses on ending violence against women. Lastly, the agency tries to develop leadership and political involvement for the female gender so they can have better equality between the two genders.  The United Nations pays close attention to human rights issues by enhancing social equality in Jordan.  Although it appears that Jordan does not have much influence in UN, it is evident that UN has strong influence in Jordan.

Posted by Irina Franz


Petra_yordaniaThe vibrant country of Jordan is filled with rich architecture that draws tourists from across that world. Petra is a site where beautiful temples are carved out of raw stone against a desert mountain. Petra is viewed by the world as a precious property that reflects Jordan’s rich cultural heritage. This landmark was rediscovered in 1812, after being lost for hundreds of years.  Petra shows tourists what humans were capable at the time while having them admire the natural beauty of the architecture. This tourist hotspot provides major revenue for Jordan.

With appearances in movies such as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Arabian Nights, and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen , Petra is becoming well-known and recognized landmark by most people. This beautiful spot has been recognized as the World Heritage Site.  The best way to get to the temple is riding through Wadi Rum by either camels or horses though it is possible to use modern transportation. This cultural landmark is a must see place before you die.

Posted by Irina Franz


Water Crisis in the Arab World

One of the biggest issues that the Middle East faces every year is frequent droughts and dessert storms which have a negative impact on crops and the water supply for many countries. Air pollution is said to be the prime reason for these droughts and desserts. Over use of the Jordan River is having a heavy impact on the Dead Sea and the Red Sea. Many Middle Eastern countries heavily rely on these bodies of water for their survival. Actions at international level have been taken in hopes of fixing this ecological disaster. Countries such as Morocco are experiencing major environmental issues such as land degradation, “water supplies containment by raw sewage and oil pollution of coastal waters.” As of right now, Jordan is not part of the UN Millennium Development Goals along with many other Middle Eastern Countries. Hopefully in the near future Jordan can become a member and start taking the necessary actions towards solving these environmental issues.

Posted by Irina Franz

Related articles

jordan river


As I have mentioned in my previous posts, Jordan’s main concern for the past few years has been the shortage of water. This concern became so alarming that it was made its way on the agenda of many running candidates in Jordan.  This problem became the gateway to talks about environmental issues. One of the propositions in solving the water shortage is to develop new techniques that would capture the rainwater in full potential amounts and exploring other options such as looking for underground water sources. The disposal of nuclear and electronic waste properly is a hot topic and a concern for the environment. Some of the candidates claim, with the backing of scientists, that Jordan’s improper waste disposal has negative effects on the health of the Jordanian people, and it also creates heavy pollution to the land, air and environment as a whole. If the government decides to take action against this issue it would have positive results and not just for the environment. It would help out Jordan’s economy by creating new jobs to fore fill the new job positions to dispose the toxic waste.  The main environmental issue that the state of Jordan is facing is the high depleting water rates from the Dead Sea. This problem has been caused by the agricultural and industrial over uses from the Jordan River.  The sea is facing the possible threat of extinction and it has become an international effort to save the dying sea.  The Red-Dead project has been created to stop the depletion of the Dead Sea by pushing water from the Red Sea to keep the water levels above the concerning rate. The Jordan River is also highly endangered but in the sense that is overwhelming becoming polluted. This is an important problem especially since the water is being shared with neighboring countries such as Israel, West Bank and Syria.  With all of these environmental issues it appears that Jordan has finally taken mini steps in the right direction into reducing these problems.

Posted by Irina Franz

Jordan’s Economic Challenges

According to Central Intelligence Agency, unfortunately Jordan has one of weakest economies in the Middle East. They lack abundance in natural resources, oil and especially water. There are reported instance where cities run out of water and are forced to purchase bottled water. The country is facing high unemployment rate as well as the problem with poverty. Additionally, the economy is facing the issue of inflation and large budget deficit. Jordan relies heavily on foreign assistance which often could be seen in a negative light. The Arab State joined the IMF on August 29 1952 and three years later it became a member of the United Nations. Finally in 2000 Jordan gained a membership in the World Trade Organization. In Fareed Zakaria’s book, he states that the right now we live in the world of Islamic threat and with that paranoia Western Nations might be hesitant to provide economic relieve or develop economic ties with a Middle Eastern country. Jordan has been one of United States strongest allies in Arab region and the country has reassured the US that they have no connections to Al Qaeda. This positive relationship help Jordan in getting a substantial amount of economic relive from the US. In the Anti-Economist, Madrick puts emphasis on how WTO has gained momentum in the mid-1990s and has replaced GATT. This change is beneficial to Jordan since the country is struggling in the economy realm. Hopefully in the upcoming years Jordan can pull out ahead in their economy and become a flourishing state.

Posted by Irina Franz


Downtown Amman, Jordan

Quick Facts about Jordan from CIA:

  • Population: 6,482,081
  • Ethnic Groups:      Arab 98%, Circassian 1%, Armenian 1%
  • Religions: Sunni Muslim 92% (official), Christian 6% (majority Greek Orthodox, but some Greek and Roman Catholics, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and Protestant denominations), other 2% (several small Shia Muslim and Druze populations) (2001 est.)
  • Government Type:  Constitutional Monarchy

According to The Jordan Times, on Friday hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Amman to express their unhappiness and disapproval  with the latest economic policies , failure on the government for not including the opposition representatives and not providing unity throughout the government to reflect a the larger  representation of the Jordanian society.  As of right now Jordan has been one of the countries where the Arab Spring has not affected them and it is going to be interesting to see if this protest will spread and create a further impact to the point where the government will take actions against the protesters.                                                                                  Posted by Irina Franz