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Irbid revels in limelight as Arab Capital of Culture


The Jordan Times


AMMAN — Deputising for His Majesty King Abdullah, Prime Minister Bisher Khasawneh on Sunday attended the ceremony of Irbid: the Arab Capital of Culture for 2022.
During the event, held at Al Yarmouk University, Khasawneh conveyed His Majesty's greetings and thanks to those who put efforts towards making this national event — the launching of Irbid as the  Arab Capital of Culture for 2022 — successful, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. 
The premier, who is also head of the higher national committee for celebrating Irbid: The Arab Capital of Culture for 2022, highlighted the Kingdom's efforts to “embrace the culture and intellectual elite”, as well as “supporting innovators towards instilling a serious national culture”.
The selection of Irbid as the Arab Capital of Culture is a national event that is being celebrated by the whole Kingdom, he added.
He noted that nominating Irbid as the Arab Capital of Culture for 2022 and Madaba as the Arab Tourism Capital for 2022 coincides with the bicentennial to celebrate the Kingdom, as well as is accompanied by Jordan’s efforts towards a new start titled as “moving towards future” through three paths: Political modernisation, economic modernisation vision and upgrading the public sector.
The selection of Irbid is in line with the Kingdom’s modernisation and reform trends, which consider the cultural scene among its key pillars, he said, noting that the selection of Irbid is a source of pride for Jordanians and is aligned with the northern city’s nature as well as its historical and cultural status.
He also expressed hope that the event would contribute to uncovering the innovative capabilities in Irbid and across the Kingdom, as well as offer an opportunity to feature the qualitative value of the local and Arab cultural and intellectual scene. 
The event was attended by a number of ministers, Arab culture ministers, guest delegations, and senators and deputies, among other officials.  
Culture Minister Haifa Najjar said that proclaiming Irbid as the Arab Capital of Culture for 2022 by the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation (ALECSO) illustrates confidence in Jordan and the country’s intellectuals, noting that the selection requires scaling up efforts to bring further innovation through joint action.
Mohamed Ould Amar, director general of ALECSO, said that Jordan’s comprehensive cultural renaissance under the leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah has contributed to Irbid’s well-deserved status, noting that the organisation is following up the activities of Irbid: The capital of Arab Culture for 2022, Petra added.
He also commended the participation of figures from Jerusalem, describing the holy city as the eternal capital of Arab culture at the 2022 Irbid event, highlighting that their participation is of special character, as Jordan has shown historical stances in defending Jerusalem and its cultural components.
At the end of the ceremony, Palestinian Culture Minister Atef Abu Saif handed over the banner of the Arab Capital of Culture to Najjar, marking the selection of Irbid as the Capital of Arab Culture for 2022 following  Bethlehem, the Capital of Arab Culture for 2021.

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