Monthly Archives: March 2013

Rawabdeh named 4th most influential Arab woman in gov’t sector

 JT | Mar 17, 2013 | 20:09 Updated: Mar 17, 2013 | 22:02

Nadia Rawabdeh

AMMAN  – Nadia Rawabdeh, director general of the Social Security Corporation (SSC), ranked fourth in a recently launched list of the most influential Arab women in the government sector.

Compiled by Forbes Middle East, the list covered 30 Arab women in the government field, according to an SSC statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times on Sunday.

The website of Forbes Middle East, which also launched a list of the most influential Arab women in family business, said the criteria to determine the rankings included collating and analysing information sourced from official government and company websites, along with Forbes’ own resources and relevant data pertaining to women in high-profile business and government roles.

Rawabdeh came fourth after the UAE’s Amina Al Rustamani, group CEO of TECOM Investments.

UAE Minister of Foreign Trade Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi topped the list, while her compatriot Salma Hareb, CEO of JAFZA and Economic Zones World, was second.

Rawabdeh was appointed SSC director in August 2012 and prior to the appointment she held several posts in the corporation over 25 years of service.

These include head of the insurance rights department, president of the investment portfolio department, director of the retirement and compensations department and director of the quality and risk analysis department.

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Young Jordanians weigh in on post-2012 development goals in Amman forum

by Khetam Malkawi | Mar 14, 2013 | 21:50

AMMAN — Arab youths have led calls for reform and they were in the forefront of those who demanded modernisation and development in their countries, HRH Princess Basma said on Thursday.

Thus, the princess added, young people should have the largest and most important role in the formation of their future and the future of this world.

Addressing a group of young Jordanians, the princess, who is also a goodwill ambassador for the UNFPA, said: “You are participating now” in drafting goals that are in line with your priorities in this era, which is witnessing big changes that have been sweeping the world over the past few years.

The princess, who made the remarks at the opening of the “Jordan Youth National Consultation Meeting on Post-2012”, added that young people have a lot to say to form their future, but their chances to be heard are few.

“This meeting is a precious opportunity” for them to have their voices heard by decision makers, she noted.

The two-day meeting, which is organised by UNFPA in partnership with the Higher Youth Council, and attended by 100 young people, is a result of a series of consultations that the UNFPA has facilitated to give the younger generation a voice in shaping the global development agenda after the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

It is one of a number of UN-led consultations in the country on the shape of the post-2015 global development agenda.

Muna Mohammed Idris, UNFPA assistant representative in Jordan, said the forum is being held to give young people an opportunity to share their perspectives on their future within the global context and to build a coalition with those attending the meeting to work as an advisory panel for UNFPA Jordan country office youth-related programmes.

In a speech delivered by World Food Programme Country Director Maha Ahmed on behalf of UN Resident Coordinator Costanza Farina, the UN official said Jordan has made considerable progress in achieving the majority of the MDGs, as well as the level of preparations and readiness for the development agenda beyond 2015.

She added that young Jordanians have a role to play, especially with all the challenges and changes they are facing, as they are the only ones able to respond to these challenges in innovative ways.

“Today, with good investment and correct guidance, the youth can reach their full potential as individuals, leaders and as agents of progress,” she noted.

In addition to the participants in the consultation, youths all over Jordan are able to contribute to the meeting virtually through Twitter, Facebook and other social media networks.

This event is part of a series of activities that are taking place in different countries to come up with the necessary data to finalise a framework for the MDGs post-2015 and to identify development priorities for the post-2015 agenda as well as the ICPD Beyond 2014 process.

The MDGs are drawn from the actions and targets contained in the Millennium Declaration that was adopted during the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000.

The eight MDGs are reducing child mortality, eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality, improving maternal health, combating diseases such as HIV/AIDS, ensuring environmental sustainability and creating global partnerships for development.

A total of 191 states, including Jordan, have committed themselves to achieving these goals by the year 2015.

The International Conference on Population and Development

• In 1994, 179 countries met in Cairo for the ICPD, where all aspects of human life were addressed comprehensively

• A 20-year programme of action was developed recognising that population is not about numbers but about people’s quality of life

• All 179 countries agreed that education and health rights, including reproductive health rights are a prerequisite for sustainable development

• They also agreed on a road map for progress with the following main goals:

– Universal access to reproductive health services by 2015

– Universal primary education/closing the gender gap in education by 2015

– Reducing maternal mortality by 75% by 2015

– Reducing infant mortality

– Increasing life expectancy

– Reducing HIV infection rates

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International Women’s Day: A Jordanian Entrepreneur’s Impact on Education, the Workforce, and Society

Posted: 03/07/2013 3:17 pm

Today, I would like to reflect on the progress women are making in the global economy by highlighting the work of one woman who has been a source of inspiration for many: Randa Ayoubi. Randa is a woman entrepreneur from Jordan who had a dream of enhancing the lives of children by raising educational standards through multimedia learning.

Nearly 20 years ago, after her studies in computer science at Texas Tech, Randa returned to Jordan to work at a bank. However, Randa wanted a different path and aspired to be her own boss and contribute to society. She started a software business called Rubicon where she became one of Jordan’s pioneers in multimedia software for education at a time when rural poverty and the lack of teachers in villages was a big issue.

randaayoubi_23Randa exemplifies how the lives of women around the world have improved dramatically over the past century. According to the World Bank’s World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and Development, gender gaps in primary education have closed in almost all countries. And over the last 30 years, more than half a billion women have joined the world’s labor force. Progress has been made in other areas as well, such as formal rights and constitutional guarantees for women.

Randa started her company with only $60,000 and two employees. Her creative nature, passion for animation, and desire to improve the quality of education across the Arab world led her to create the “Ben & Izzy” cartoon series. The cartoon focused on the difficult relationship between two boys, one American and the other Jordanian, conveying how co-operation is more productive than conflict as well as creating awareness and appreciation for differences.

Today, Rubicon employs more than 300 employees in four locations: Jordan (Amman), the United States (Los Angeles), the Philippines (Manila) and the United Arab Emirates (Dubai). It has partnered with some of the biggest names in Hollywood to co-create feature length films and cartoon series such as Postman Pat and Pink Panther. She has also expanded into other areas of digital content, including e‐learning, electronic game development, and virtual reality technical training.

Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers has been a mentor to Randa. Since the start of their relationship in 2004, John has thought of Randa as his “adopted CEO” and has given her insight into Cisco’s best business practices, good governance, and corporate culture.

Randa has inspired her employees to become entrepreneurs themselves and to open their own businesses while providing them with mentorship, similar to what she received from John.

Randa states, “John, that is what I have learned from you all, that it isn’t just about the leaders or the owners doing well, but it’s about the whole company sharing in it too. And I wouldn’t have done that if hadn’t been for Cisco.”

I love to tell Randa’s story because she is a true entrepreneur who had the vision and perseverance to develop a strong business plan focused on niche verticals within the digital content industry. She has recruited and retained a high-quality workforce and empowered her employees with the latest technology so their creativity could flourish. She is an inspiration to women around the world, is highly supportive of women’s issues, and is truly a special human being.

Randa’s story is particularly relevant today, International Women’s Day. For more than 100 years, International Women’s Day has been observed in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognized for their economic, political, and social achievements, as well as an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments.

More importantly, it is an opportunity to look ahead to the untapped potential and prospects that await future generations of women.

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Queen takes part in regional workshop – women’s empowerment is included in a workshop


Her Majesty Queen Rania delivers an address at the opening session of a regional workshop on the Post-2015 Development Priorities for the Arab world (Photo by Nasser Ayoub)

AMMAN — Her Majesty Queen Rania on Sunday attended a regional workshop on the Post-2015 Development Priorities for the Arab world.

A group of leaders from civil society, research institutes and academia from Arab countries are participating in the two-day workshop in Amman to discuss the main development challenges and priorities of the Arab world that will help shape the Post-2015 Development Agenda, according to a statement released by the Queen’s office.

Her Majesty is one of two members representing the Arab world on the UN High Level Panel (HLP), which was appointed last summer by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to help advise on the shape of the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

The March 3-4 event is hosted by the UN Foundation (UNF) in partnership with the King Abdullah Fund for Development (KAFD) and in cooperation with University of Jordan’s Centre for Strategic Studies and the Columbia University Middle East Research Centre (CUMERC). Participants will submit a summary report of highlights and outcomes to the HLP.

“In the last few years, a lot of countries in the Arab world have changed. We need to build new strategies and set out new goals based on the priorities of individuals; we need development strategies that empower Arabs and keep up with their ambitions,” Queen Rania said in an address at the opening session.

“Today, we have new opportunities and new challenges. Challenges such as the quality of our education, the global economic crises, high costs of living, increased rates of unemployment, conflicts and lack of security. All these challenges not only impede the process of development, but also cause it to deteriorate,” she added.

“We are gathered here to learn from the lessons and experiences we gained from the previous phase. Today, we are more aware of our countries’ needs, therefore, our recommendations must aim at improving the life of each person in the Arab world, to help unleash their potential and achieve their ambitions. This can be achieved through your hard work, wise planning and sharp vision.”

Later, Her Majesty also attended part of a session on education and skills, which discussed the quality of education, teachers and their skills, as well as school curricula.

KAFD Chairman Omar Razzaz talked about future development challenges and how to overcome them in the context of the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Razzaz also gave examples of the inquiries and issues the workshops will be addressing.

UNF Vice President for UN Relations Suzan Myers spoke about the importance of such gatherings that aim at collecting information and learning about different ideas and perspectives that are essential to shaping the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Amina Mohammad, special adviser to the UN secretary-general on Post-2015 Development Planning, talked about their action plan and praised Her Majesty for her support and efforts at the regional and international levels.

Sima Bahous, assistant secretary general of the UN and regional director of the UNDP bureau for Arab states, gave a presentation about the progress of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in the Arab region.

“While there are six country consultations and multiple smaller meetings on post-2015 to be held in Arab states, the March 3-4 convening of about 60 experts in Amman is a means for its participants to engage in the post-2015 dialogue and the key issues specific to the Arab region, especially in the themes of education, growth and employment, women’s empowerment, inequalities, governance and freedom,” the statement said.

The event, which was held at CUMERC, brought together participants from Jordan, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Yemen, Sudan, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya and Palestine.

The workshop also included other sessions, such as the sustainable growth and employment session where Ibrahim Saif, resident scholar at Carnegie Middle East Centre, talked about the distribution of economic returns, as well as job creation and entrepreneurship.

Participants also attended the women’s empowerment session, which was presented by Maya Morsy, country coordinator of UN Women Egypt, and coordinated by Dalia Mogahed, executive director at the Gallup Centre for Muslim Studies.

Another session on inequalities was presented by Ibrahim Awad, professor at the American University of Cairo.