The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall Explore Umm Qais, Jordan

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall during a visit to the Great Sphinx of Giza, on the third day of their tour of the Middle East. November, 2021.
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall during a visit to the Great Sphinx of Giza, on the third day of their tour of the Middle East. November, 2021.


Umm Qais, Jordan

 Wednesday, 17th November


The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will go on a walking tour of Umm Qais 

HRH Princess Dana Firas, a global advocate for heritage protection and preservation, will accompany Their Royal Highnesses throughout the tour which will highlight the Hellenic, Roman, Byzantine and Early Muslim history of the site. During the visit, His Royal Highness will stop to plant a tree to symbolise the UK-Jordanian partnership and in celebration of the centenary anniversary for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The tour will then continue to visit the work done by Turquoise Mountain and Newton-Khalidi Fund. 

Umm Qais is the site of the ancient city of Gadara and dates back to the 3rd Century BC. One of the Decapolis towns, Gadara was a centre of Greek culture in the region. Umm Qais’ stunning view, religious and political history and biodiversity make it an interesting site to visit and indicative of the range of tourism opportunities in Jordan. 

Turquoise Mountain was founded by The Prince in 2006 to revive historic areas and traditional crafts, provide jobs, skills and a renewed sense of pride in cultural traditions. Turquoise Mountain are supporting conservation work to restore two large Ottoman-era courtyards and the 2nd Century western theatre. 


The Prince of Wales will visit the International Rescue Centre (IRC) at the Al Nuzha Community Centre 

The Prince of Wales will be greeted by: 

  • Her Excellency Farah Al Daghistani, Executive Director of the Jordan Hashemite Fund for Human Development 
  • Dominik Bartsch, Jordan Representative for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) 
  • Suuad Jarbawi, Regional Vice President of the IRC 
  • Sharifa Sarra Ghazi, Jordan Director of the IRC 
  • Pippa Bird, Deputy Development Director at the British Embassy in Amman 

His Royal Highness will visit the Al Nuzha Community Centre which is supported by UNHRC (UN High Commission for Refugees.) During the visit His Royal Highness will visit their computer lab, and speak to children using the facility, before going to an outside playground to meet local children and volunteers at the centre. The Prince will then meet refugee families receiving UK assistance through UNHCR. His Royal Highness will also watch a short video about IRC’s work in Jordan and meet refugees and Jordanians supported by IRC. 

Al Nuzha Community Centre opened in June 2018 and was one of the first community centres in Jordan to provide assistance and activities for Jordanians and refugees of different nationalities as part of UNHCR’s ‘One-Refugee Approach’. Managed by UNHCR and the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD), the centre aims to promote peaceful coexistence between refugees and Jordanians and create a better protection environment for all. The Community Centre provides a safe space for refugees to gather, exchange ideas, engage in community life and strengthen their sense of belonging. A variety of activities are provided at the centre, ranging from educational classes for children to livelihood skills training for adults. All activities are designed to empower refugees and help them move towards self-reliance. 

The IRC Economic Recovery and Development (ERD) programme was started in 2016 and so far, 10,625 young Syrian and Jordanians have received entrepreneurial skills, business training, and financial literacy training, and a further 752 have received training in employment skills. In addition, IRC provides counselling and mentorship to new businesses and has supported 494 young Syrians and Jordanians with counselling sessions. IRC also partners with private sector and local organizations for job placement and apprenticeship opportunities. 

In late 2012, the IRC increased its capacity to ensure that women and girls have access to life-saving case management, psychosocial services, social networks, and protection through the utilization of a complementary approach whereby women can access static Women and Girls’ Safe Spaces (WGSSs) as well as mobile service delivery. The WGSSs across the kingdom are the cornerstone of this strategy. In 2021, the IRC women and girls centres in Irbid, Ramtha, Mafraq, East Amman, and Azraq camp connect more than 33,200 women and adolescents to counselling, training, and most importantly, each other. 

During the visit, His Royal Highness will meet refugees who have turned their lives around with the support of the UK, IRC, UNHCR and JOHUD. 

Rania, 20 

Rania is one of the thousands of Syrians who was forced to flee Aleppo from besiegement and aerial bombardment in 2013. Rania and her family joined many other families who rented a small truck to leave Aleppo. They crossed Jordan’s border to Azraq refugee camp and stayed for 15 days before settling in Amman. Rania dropped out of school and got married, however adjusting to married life proved difficult for her. She heard about the IRC’s Women and girls centre in East Amman and enrolled in its activities alongside psychosocial support sessions (PSS). Rania received PSS and financial support from the IRC’s Women Centre. She started to read books, and that’s when she discovered her writing skills and wrote her first novel. It’s now available in bookstores. Rania went back to school, and she dreams of becoming a psychologist. Today, Rania is working on her second novel as her goal is to become a successful writer and finish her studies. 

Sumaya, 31 

Sumaya is a Sudanese refugee from Darfur. The situation left her no choice but to flee her hometown to Khartoum, where she got a diploma in aircraft maintenance engineering. Sumaya came to Jordan in 2018. During COVID, the team continued to serve those in need remotely; that’s when Sumaya started to get PSS sessions over the phone alongside cash assistance to help her meet her life’s basic needs. Sumaya aspires to obtain a bachelor’s degree in aircraft maintenance engineering and to work in this field. 

Mariam, 37 

Mariam is a Syrian mother of three children living in Amman. She had to flee Syria in 2014. Mariam loves nursing, volunteering, and recycling. Mariam benefited from the psychosocial support sessions and case management, which helped her overcome the traumas she has been through during the journey from Syria to Jordan. 

Hudaifa, 30 

Hudaifah is a Jordanian living in Amman. Alongside his day-to-day job distributing gas cylinders, he is a passionate beekeeper which he regularly does with his friend Yousef. He loves beekeeping and the process of harvesting honey from the apiary. Hudaifah wants nothing more than to transform his passion for bees into a full-time business, which is why he joined the IRC’s Rescuing Futures business training program and received a business grant to start his project. 

Osama, 33 

Osama is a Syrian refugee who came to Jordan in 2013. He works as a tailor in Amman. He first got into tailoring 15 years ago through learning from his father back in Syria. Osama was ambitious enough to dream of starting his own workshop and becoming even more self-sufficient. Through a business training program offered by the IRC, Osama received a grant for his sewing business. With this support, Osama has started his business, increased profit, and employed three other Syrian refugees. 

Faihaa, 38 

Faihaa used to live in Damascus with her husband and three children. They fled Syria in 2012 and headed to Amman in search of safety after a bomb exploded near the barbershop where her husband was getting a haircut. Faihaa started an art workshop in Jordan together with her husband, Hayyan. Their project started as a drawing and painting workshop, but they kept improving it. They began with portraits and later created woodwork covered with elaborate designs inspired by ‘Damascene Ajami Art.’ They created art pieces in the same style and then came up with their own patterns on wood and cloth. 


The Duchess of Cornwall will visit the Princess Taghreed Secondary Girls School 

At the school, Her Royal Highness will visit Jordanian and Syrian refugee boys and girls, who will be participating in an Arabic literacy class through the ‘RAMP’ programme. Her Royal Highness will also meet girls aged between 15 to 17 during a vocational education class and engage in a discussion with them on the challenges of Covid-19 on their education, their return to face-to-face learning and their future hopes and ambitions as young women in Jordan. 

Princess Taghreed Secondary School is a public, secondary school in a suburb of Amman that currently hosts around 1000 Jordanian and Syrian refugee children. 

Since 2016, the UK has led the international community to support the landmark ‘Jordan Compact’ commitment made at the ‘Syria and the Region Conference’ to ensure all children regardless of their nationality are able to receive quality education. This year through a commitment of £9m, the UK will support over 185,000 Syrian and other refugee children access public education in Jordan. The UK also currently supports 650,000 boys and girls with essential foundational skills of literacy and numeracy through the ‘early grade reading and maths’ programme ‘RAMP’ in partnership with USAID. 


The Duchess of Cornwall will attend a Women of the World (WoW) event at the Manara Arts and Culture Café 

The Duchess of Cornwall will be greeted by: 

  • Her Excellency Haifa Al Najjar, Minister of Culture 
  • Angela Spilsbury, Development Director at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in Jordan 
  • Judy Kelly CBE, Founder and Director of WoW Foundation 
  • Faisal Tutunji, Owner of the Manara Arts and Culture Café 

Her Royal Highness will proceed to the second floor where the Minister of Culture will say a few words, and The Duchess will then meet some of the guests. Her Royal Highness will take a seat at the front of the room; Lt. Col. Al Nasser (Director of Women’s Affairs with the Jordan Armed Forces) and Eng. Abeer Al-Bashiti (recipient of the Newton-Khalidi Fund Leaders in Innovation Programme) will talk about their experiences, and Judy Kelly will give an overview of the WoW Foundation. Her Royal Highness will then say a few words. 

Manara is the Arabic word for “lighthouse”. The venue is a cultural hub located in Jabal Al-Weibdeh, one of the oldest neighbourhoods of Amman. Manara Arts and Culture celebrates food, drink, art, music and learning. It provides a space for creative individuals to work and meet, and contains a library, coffee house, and a gym for functional fitness and calisthenics. 

The WOW Foundation was created by Jude Kelly CBE in 2018 to run the global movement that is WOW – Women of the World Festivals. The Festivals began in the UK in 2010, launched by Kelly at the Southbank Centre London, where she was Artistic Director, to celebrate women and girls, taking a frank look at what prevents them from achieving their potential, raising awareness globally of the issues they face, and discussing solutions together. To date, WOW has reached over 2 million people in 17 countries on 6 continents, in locations including Australia, Brazil, China, Egypt, Finland, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Somaliland, the UK and the USA. In June 2020, WOW held its first ever worldwide online festival focused on women and girls — WOW Global 24. 

Women’s economic participation in Jordan is one of the lowest globally, with only 14% of women aged 15 and above employed. Although 60% of women in the labour force have a university degree or higher, compared to 23% for men, high-skilled women face unemployment rates that are between two and three times higher than men with similar education levels. For women wishing to set up their own businesses, access to finance is a challenge, largely due to a lack of collateral. Only 27.2% of women have bank or transaction accounts, also making it difficult for banks to lend to them. Debt default leads to prosecution and imprisonment, which disproportionately affects women. Other barriers to female economic participation include the double burden of juggling childcare and working responsibilities, limited access to transport, harassment and low wages. 


The Prince of Wales will visit the Royal Scientific Society (RSS) 

The Prince will be greeted by Her Royal Highness Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan, President of the Royal Scientific Society, along with the three Vice Presidents of the RSS. Princess Sumaya will accompany His Royal Highness to the RSS Cafeteria, where they will meet His Royal Highness Prince Hassan to observe four exhibitions of the RSS’s work. The Prince of Wales, Princess Sumaya and Prince Hassan will then proceed to a private dining room for Business Leaders roundtable discussion, moderated by Professor Iain Stewart MBE. The Prince of Wales will make the opening and closing remarks. 

The Royal Scientific Society, a non-governmental organisation established in 1970, is the largest applied research institution, consultancy, and technical support service provider in Jordan and is a regional leader in the fields of science and technology. HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan is the President of RSS and she is a key advocate for science and technology initiatives in Jordan. 

The roundtable discussion will be moderated by Professor Iain Stewart MBE. Professor Stewart is El Hassan Research Chair in Sustainability (EHRCS) at the Royal Scientific Society. The Jordan–UK EHRCS is a joint initiative which aims to enhance the research and innovation capacity of Jordan for long-term sustainable development and is supported by the Newton-Khalidi Fund. 

HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan and the RSS play a prominent role in the UK-Jordan Science and Innovation partnership, including as part of the Newton-Khalidi Fund steering committee. The Newton-Khalidi Fund, a UK Aid initiative managed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, was launched in Jordan in 2017 at the World Science Forum which was itself organised by the RSS under the patronage of His Majesty the King of Jordan. 


The Prince of Wales will host a Prince’s Trust International (PTI) reception at the British Ambassador’s Residence, Amman 

His Royal Highness will join around 40 partners and beneficiaries of programmes run by the Prince’s Trust International in Jordan at the Ambassador’s Residence. Will Straw (CEO of Prince’s Trust International), Mr Summer Xia (Director of the British Council in Jordan), and Hugh Cleary, (1st Secretary) will also be present. 

Mr Straw will introduce His Royal Highness to some of those present, including young people who have participated in the Prince’s Trust International’s two projects in Jordan: Enterprise Business Challenge and Tariqi, the local name for the “Get Into” programme. 

The Ambassador will also say a few words, followed by Sara (23) from Amman, a beneficiary of PTI’s ‘Get Into’ job placement programme. 

After this, The Prince will present certificates to other young people present – winners of a climate change art competition run by the British Council in Jordan, having viewed some of the winning entries at the event. 

Since the Prince’s Trust International launched programmes in Jordan in 2015, they have empowered over 11,000 young people with education, skills training and work experience. In partnership with the King Abdullah II Fund for Development (KAFD), Business Development Center (BDC), Loyac and INJAZ, the programmes aim to identify gaps in local youth provision and assess how employability programmes can continue to support young people into work in Jordan. 

The PTI’s Enterprise Challenge programme encourages students to explore, demonstrate and develop their understanding of markets and business strategies. The programme is delivered over the course of about 3 months as an annual national competition that introduces young people aged 13-16 to business entrepreneurship concepts and the best practices in ethical-business strategy development. 

Tariqi is based on the Prince’s Trust’s flagship employability programme “Get Into”. Tariqi supports 18-27 year-old young people, who are not in education or employment move into a sustainable and desirable employment. The course aims to build up a young person’s skill set, improve their communication skills, and boost their confidence, ultimately leading them into paid employment. 

As part of the embassy’s programme of marking the centenary of the PTI’s relationship with Jordan, the British Council has run an art competition for young Jordanians, in three age groups, to contribute a photograph, drawing or painting on the theme of Climate Change. 


The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will attend a Centenary Celebration at the Jordan Museum 

Their Royal Highnesses will be greeted next to the Hejaz railway carriage by Bridget Brind, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Jordan. Their Royal Highnesses will walk to the entrance lined by the Jordanian Royal Guard and will be greeted in the main courtyard with a short musical performance from the Mahali Musical Production. The Prince will then give a keynote speech on the theme of the centenary. Their Royal Highnesses will circulate and meet the different attending groups before proceeding into the Museum’s main atrium where the Rejuvenation and Modernisation of Extinct Arts and Crafts (RMEAC) pop-up art exhibition is positioned. Their Royal Highnesses will then view the Dead Sea scrolls exhibit. 

The Jordan Museum was built in 2014 and is located in the old city at the heart of Amman, only a street away from major archaeological sites such as the Roman theatre, Nymphaeum and Amman Citadel. The venue has suitable historic and contemporary links with the UK from a display of the Hejaz railway to links with the University of Bradford through the Newton Khalidi development fund. The Museum serves as a comprehensive national centre for learning and knowledge reflecting Jordan’s rich history and culture. It includes an exhibit of a small number of the Dead Sea scrolls and the 7500 BC ‘Ain Ghazal statues which are regarded as some of the oldest human statues ever made by human civilization. 

Mahali is a music collaborative project which is supported by the British Council to empower the new generation of artists. The project focuses on providing an opportunity to musicians aged 18-35 residing in Jordan with a focus on including participants of other nationalities such as Palestinians, Syrians, Sudanese, Yemeni and others. 

RMEAC is a project the British Council is supporting through the Masarat Grants Scheme which has been launched to support artists and creatives following the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The project focuses on creating products in trades that are either extinct, underdeveloped and/or forgotten by conducting research into the history and inheritance of old professions and traditional crafts in Jordan. 

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall Arrive in Jordan – Day 1
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall Explore Umm Qais, Jordan – Day 2
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall Arrive in Egypt – Day 3
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall Visit Cairo – Day 4

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