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Jordan: Meet the Foreigners, Arab Music, and Business Ideas

The number of young expatriates coming to Jordan for different purposes, commonly to learn Arabic, has become significant. Walking around Jabal Amman, you can notice them sitting in cafes and restaurants around the area. Jordandays.tv, a web television channel from Jordan came up with a programme for their website called “Meet the Foreigners”, hosted by American Emily Crawford, one of these young expats, in which she meets with her “countrymen” and asks them about the purpose of their visit to Jordan and how they perceive the country and culture.


This video is posted courtesy of Jordan Days

Carton cardboard for business, Saleem Ayoub Quna talks on 7iber about what he refers to as an ad-hoc successful small business project. He writes:

This is a picture of a cheap push-cart standing in the middle of the square in front of Al-Husseini Grand Mosque. The time is noon of the last Friday of Ramadan, the month of Fasting and piety which has left us few days ago.

It is the business of “selling or lending” a substitute for a prayer carpet that is offered to the worshippers who could not bring along their own colorful cloth prayer carpets from home. Each worshipper buys one piece of a cartoon, big enough to stand on while making the Friday prayers in the large square downtown Amman. Each piece is sold or rented, depending on the customer’s wish, for 100 Fils. I tried to count the number of those cartoons on the spot. They were in the hundreds.

So if there were at least 200 cartoons that would be good money for a time which does not exceed ten minutes. This is what I call the entrepreneurial spirit of the young generation in that bustling part of Amman.

Lina Ejeilat talks about Arabic music and a lecture she attended at the Manhattan School of Music:

I was in the midst of some google search, with at least 40 tabs open in my browser window – as usual – when I landed on the page of the Manhattan School of Music and found an announcement for a lecture on Arabic music with Simon Shaheen. I had found out recently that Shaheen lives in New York City and I was trying to find a way to get in touch with him for a project I’m working on.

Shaheen began talking about what distinguishes Arabic music – he explained the maqamat, and how they’re different from Western scales. He was demonstrating on his violin how the maqams allow for an abundance of modulations and melodic sounds, which makes Arabic music very melodically rich and different in that it does not rely on harmonic structures. Then he explained the rhythms and forms, and played his Oud and sang, all the while explaining the cultural and social context for these different forms.

Simon Shaheen has been doing an incredible job as an ambassador of Arabic music here. He organizes an annual Arabic music retreat in Massachusetts where students get an intensive session of Arabic music with ear-training, instrument and vocal lessons, and Arabic music theory. He recently composed a concerto for Oud that will premiere with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra soon and will be performed in Carnegie Hall next spring.

And Kinzi talks about a conference for Arab businesswomen she attended:

“Serve Your Way to the Top: The Secret of Great Women Leaders”. A conference designed to encourage and strengthen today’s leading business women, presented by LEAD International and sponsored by Eskadenia Software, the Business and Professional Women-Amman, and FrontRow Publishing magazines Living Well and Inti.

The main speaker is Trudy Cathy White, daughter of Jeanette and and Truett Cathy, the founder and CEO of Chik-fil-A, Inc. She is now telling us her father’s story of his first job as a newspaper boy at nine years old: too scared to speak to his customers, he left a card, but made sure he left the papers in a place most important for each of his customer’s needs. Later, not a brilliant student, not an athlete, without a college education, Truett Cathy began a restaurant chain that is now a family-run, 2.64 billion dollar business.

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