Arab-Iberian-American Divan for Thought and Cultural Exchange

Under the patronage of HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal, The Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies (RIIFS) and The Arab Thought Forum (ATF) organized a roundtable entitled 'The Path of Ideas'. The roundtable was held on 23 April 2017 in Amman, Jordan, with the participation of experts, academics and diplomats from different countries. During the event, the "Arab-Iberian-American Divan for Thought and Cultural Exchange" was launched. The Divan is a platform dedicated to promoting dialogue between the Arab and the Ibero-American world and enhancing collaboration at the academic, social and cultural level. This platform will facilitate exchange of ideas as well as promoting cultural and scientific exchange, to establish a human, cultural and religious dialogue between both worlds.

The Divan is inspired by past initiatives and ideas from the Arab culture in Baghdad and Cordoba, where cultural, intellectual production and innovation prospered due to contributions by Arab and non-Arab personalities, from different religions and ethnicities.  Unity was achieved within the Arab culture based on diversity and pluralism with a common goal: the search for the truth of the human being.

The 'Divan' aspires to benefit from the experiences of other institutions that promote cultural and human dialogue as a unique tool to foster relations between people. An example of these institutions is the “Three Cultures Foundation of Seville”, and “the Academy of Latinity”, which were created with the aim of strengthening cooperation and solidarity between the Latin and Arab Worlds as well as enhancing cultural and scientific exchange between the different peoples.

This initiative aims at advocating a new world humanitarian order based on shared values and our belief that human capital is the most important capital. We should invest in our human capital and cooperate at promoting human and cultural dialogue between people to enhance cultural exchange that enriches diversity and facilitates a better understanding of how we perceive one another.

Objectives:

  1. Promoting cultural and academic work in the Mediterranean and Ibero-American regions as well as the teaching of Arabic, Spanish and Portuguese languages.
  2. Promoting cooperation and the development of research, student and academic exchange programs.
  3. Encouraging the ‘twin-cities’ concept within these regions to enhance cultural, technical and commercial cooperation and links between communities.
  4. Enhancing the concept of ‘common human heritage’ by recognizing diversity of cultures, religions and civilizations.
  5. Celebrating commonalities to counter negative stereotyping of religions and cultures, and promoting freedom of worship and human rights.
  6. Supporting initiatives that promote dialogue between civilizations, cultures, religions and peoples in general.
  7. Encouraging countries which are not part of ASPA (Countries of South America and the Arab World) to engage in dialogue and exchange of experiences in the framework of the “Diván” by adhering to its activities on an “ad hoc” basis.
  8. Engaging journalists in this project, to promote a comprehensive and true image of the values of the respective cultures.

Activities:

  1. Organize research projects, seminars, conferences and workshops.
  2. Organize cultural weeks that include book exhibitions, cultural and intellectual seminars, exhibitions of fine arts, children’s books, traditional costumes exhibitions and theatrical and musical shows.
    1. Organize the annual lecture “Emilio García Gómez”.
  3. Collaborate in organizing a joint event the first week of February of every year to celebrate the World Interfaith Harmony Week between all religions, faiths and beliefs.

Recommendations by participants at the Roundtable:

  1. To adopt a new initiative entitled 'Codex Levanticus' which transcends all boundaries and include participation of all, based on commonalities and shared values and exchange of expertise.  
  2. To invite the Kingdom of Spain to endorse and promote this initiative, together with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The two Kingdoms together with the Ibero-American countries, will support and promote projects and initiatives that complies with objectives of this project.
  3. To encourage the academics who participated in the round table to conduct a joint academic project, focused on shared human values, and the needs of the peoples of both worlds.
  4. To include Ibero-American literature and poetry in the teachings of Jordanian universities and schools.
  5. To study the current situation of Ibero-American countries and its people, with a focus on the Arab communities in these countries and publish their news in Arabic.

The Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies will publish the proceedings of the Roundtable in Arabic and Spanish; this will be the first of the "Divan" publications.

The following participated in the “Path of Ideas” Roundtable

1-             HE Mr. Francisco Carlos Soares Luz, Amasador of Brasil in Jordan.

2-             HE Mr. Eduardo Escobar, Amasador of Chile in Jordan.

3-             HE Mr. Ibraheem Awawdeh, Director of the Department of Latin and Central American Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Jordan.

4-             HE Mr. Atef Halaseh.

5-             HE Mr. Samir Nauri.

6-             Dra. Renad Momani, University of Jordan.

7-             Dra. Hind Abou Shaer, ALalbayt University /Jordan.

8-             Dra. Sahar Majali, Al-Balqa’ Applied University /Jordan.

9-             Dr. Jamal Shalabi, The Hachemite University /Jordan.

10-        Dr. Salah Jarrar, University of Jordan.

11-        Dra. Rasha Khatib, University of Jordan.

12-        HE Mr. Santiago Cabanas Ansorena, Amasador of Spain in Jordan.

13-        Mr. Tomás López Vilariño, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Spain in Jordan.

14-        Dr. Miquel Forcada, Universidad de Barcelona.

15-        HE Mr. Enrique Rojo Stein, Amasador of Mexico in Jordan.

16-        Dr. Gilberto Conde Zambada, Colegio de México.

17-        HE Mr. Fausto Fernández, Amasador of Venezuela in Jordan.

18-        Mr. Hussam Isami, Consul of the Embassy of Venezuela in Jordan.

19-        Mrs. Omeira Zabib Zebib, First Councilor of the Embassy of Venezuela in Lebanon.

Thinkers, academics and researchers from Arab and Ibero-American countries will be invited to participate in future activities of the 'Divan'.