The last time I shared a personal note in the Inspired Citizen I had moved to Amman, Jordan, where I'd married a man I met while working in Nepal. This is how my marriage did not work out, the Summit in Jordan did, I kept the Cat, and life continues in unexpected and beautiful ways...
From October 2017 to February 2019, Jordan - at the cross-roads of every major Middle Eastern conflict known - was home.
For the first six months of this time I lived with the Palestinian parents of my former husband, him, and his two year old son, Laith who I fell harder in love than anyone and got a taste of motherhood from.
My mother and father in law, Fatima and Mohammad, like so many Jordanians, became so in fleeing the Israeli occupation almost two generations ago. Fatima being the eldest of 12 girls was supported by her Father to study abroad in Iraq where she was one of the first women to earn a pharmacy degree. She soon married Mohammed, a structural engineer, and with the help of their extended families in Amman they built a business and raised five children. By marrying Fatima's 3rd, not only did I have the good fortune of meeting her, I got to pierce stagnant western misconceptions of her world and see that mine was not so distant.
Perhaps making me feel at home there, my late father was from Iran. Meanwhile he was a Persian Jew (and staunch supporter of Israel). In living with both I discovered that regardless of being Jewish or Muslim, from Iran or Palestine, Middle Eastern culture runs deep. Trumping religious differences, it shares generous hospitality, tight family ties, and overwhelming value of community interdependence. Like many traditional societies social capital is on par with, and translates to health and even financial wealth.
One thing the tired Palestine/Israeli conflict shows us is what happens when man's need for security is not met. The deep historical trauma of Jewish Israelis faces off with attacks on Palestinians' land and daily self preservation leaves two peoples In a perfect storm of heightened survival instinct. From traumas, people act like ligaments wound up for self protection after a major injury, cutting off the very oxygen needed to recover.
But why is the relatively 'safe' world so testy i.e. the Border wall and Brexit? Could we be waking up to realize the Anthropocene is upon us and not know what to do but retreat to tribalism? While we need to save the planet we also need to address this downward spiral as fear creates polarization, and polarization creates more fear.
While Palestinians don't even have the semblance of a State, Jordan - while far from a democracy - has quite a stable one - with its economy kept afloat by US military aid to help maintain its interests (while US aid to 5m Palestinian Refugees is terminated).
The good news: In this harsh yet delicate balance of power a new generation of Arab youth are rising up, hopeful to lead change in Jordan. Well beyond the Arab Spring rhetoric they seem pragmatically aligned with national agendas while full of creative genius and potential.
On a most personal note, in a pivotal fight with my former husband he accused me of coming to Jordan only to bring the Summit there. Laughable at the time, Goddess may have had a plan.
Soon he left the country while I stayed, and with the support of a volunteer team realized The Global Summit VI, themed, "Beyond Borders, there is a solution”.
After what was the hardest four months of my life, on September 16 the 8th and final day of the Summit extravaganza, 16 prototypes of policy, technology and on-the-ground solutions were pitched in front of the UNDP Country Director.
So impressed, the UNDP invited all of the Summit Champions to these solutions' leaders join a cross sector think-tank on a their ground breaking, world-wide accelerator-lab initiative, intended to redesign the way the UNDP works in an effort to engender local social innovation for global policy making.
With a new network forged, what happens next in Jordan is in local hands. Yet calling in the medicine of collaboration - for reasons named above, we also aim to connect those hands to our global community.
Looking towards our most scaleable tool sharing vision yet in play for The Global Summit VII - Tokyo 2020 (3rd summit to align with the Summer Olympics) we've started the alpha launch of the 1PIE year round collaboration portal. If you want to accelerate your vision, and contribute to our impact, we'd love to have you road testing with us as we prepare 1PIE to bust a movement in 2020. For Alpha User Access, email m@1PIE.org one line of what you're creating!
Want to get involved in the Summit 2020? firstname.lastname@example.org
Till next time, stay in touch and stay inspired! - M
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