Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development

Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development

Middlebury Programme Students and ARDD-Legal Aid Staff Meet to Discuss the Middle East

Hani Okasheh

On Tuesday October 28th, students from Middlebury programme visited us at our offices in Amman, and met with a number of ARDD-Legal Aid’s Arabic speaking international staff members.  The Middlebury programme is a four month programme in which students pledge to speak Arabic during their stay, and dedicate their time to studying Arabic and the Middle East. The students are also matched with host families in Jordan as to ensure they optimally experience first-hand all the cultural aspects of the Middle-East.

During their visit to ARDD – Legal Aid; the students engaged in conversation in the Arabic language with ARDD – Legal Aid staff about their relevant experience in the Middle-East and their work in the development sector. ARDD – Legal Aid staff touched on all the major aspects of their work, especially those closely relating to the ongoing series of crises that are affecting the Middle East such as refugees, migration, resettlement, and extremism.

Refugees crisis proved to be the most prominent in the Middle East, hence the conversation stretched to cover various aspects of the crisis, especially the Syrian refugee crisis and how absorbing the influx of refugees posed an enormous challenge for the countries who host them; alongside the strong implications of this crisis for the stability of the entire region. This lead the students to grow more aware of the prominent issues in the region, especially that the information they received came from people who work for an organization that operates on grassroots level.

Knowledge, experience, real life examples and intriguing questions and answers were all ingredients that enriched the discussion and provided a platform for both the students and ARDD – Legal Aid’s staff to exchange views and ideas about the complex scenery of the Middle East.

All of the previous lead ARDD – Legal Aid staff to emphasise the importance of volunteerism in the context of the efforts produced to respond to the myriad of crises that are sweeping through the region, thus urging the students to make best use of their time in Jordan by volunteering.

This meeting stressed the importance of working closely with academic circles; since ARDD – Legal Aid acknowledges the major role academics play in societal transformation, which has always been key. ARDD – Legal Aid strongly believes that thinking for change emanates from academia; professors, students, and the intellectuals in wider society. For this reason; ARDD-Legal Aid is always keen on sustaining its good relationships with prominent academic institutions in Jordan, and around the world.