Jordan/ 4. Current issues in cultural policy development and debate  

4.1 Main cultural policy issues and priorities

After many debates over the role of the intellectual and his or her relationship with the Ministry of Culture, and the agendas of successive governments and many calls by intellectual for a national cultural conference that forms a perception of the cultural reality and of its future in Jordan, a number of intellectuals have met and put forward a vision for cultural development in Jordan which considers the reality, the challenges, and makes recommendations. Based on this preliminary meeting, King Abdullah II of Jordan decided to meet with the intellectuals to understand their needs and to set priorities on the agenda of culture.

This meeting put forward several items which were considered priorities in the culture portfolio. These priorities included establishing an independent fund to support the cultural movement, and the allocation of 10 Million dinars to contribute to the provision of material support for developing the cultural movement, publishing, creativity, raising the level of the cultural service, preserving and maintaining historic relics and monuments, establishing museums, and protecting and restoring ancient manuscripts. The fund also seeks to grant creativity awards and provide employment opportunities for intellectuals and creators.

King Abdullah II also ordered the commencement of construction of a cultural centre, "King Abdullah Art House", in response to the intellectuals' demands to establish a cultural centre following the model of major cultural centres around the world that include a main opera hall for over 1,500 people for musicals and concerts, in addition to art centres, a library, a museum, art galleries, training rooms and multipurpose halls.

His Majesty the King also ordered the government to expedite the completion of the draft law of the Arabic language which has been under discussion for ten years, and approved the inclusion of intellectuals in the health insurance.

The Ministry is currently developing clear and specific cultural policies that are based on its priorities as stipulated in the keystones of the development plan, namely:

  1. Dissemination of cultural development and its improvement to cover all governorates of the Kingdom as part of the Cities of Culture project which began in 2007.
  2. Supporting cultural production, providing facilities and removing obstacles that prevent the creation of a cultural movement, facilitating the attainment of cultural products by the people, and sustaining and interacting with cultural heritage. And since the production of culture is performed by the creator him or herself, the Ministry must ensure the proper climate for the creator, enabling him or her to work freely on their chosen creative project, with the support of cultural funding.
  3. Establishing the concept of democracy with all its representations of a commitment to human rights, and freedom of opinion and expression, as guaranteed by the Constitution.
  4. Enhancing cooperation, providing support and care for public and private cultural institutions and bodies.
  5. Collecting, preserving and indexing national manuscripts and documents.
  6. Founding cultural, artistic and popular centres, theatres and museums in different regions of the Kingdom.
  7. Providing public, school, and academic libraries with Ministry publications. 

Chapter published: 04-05-2016