As a direct result of the Dubrovnik Declaration of Intent created by the BlueSCities partners in collaboration with The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission and NETWERC H2O, the Minister of Education of Jordan inaugurated the exhibition: Science and Art - Water seen through the eyes of Jordanian Children at the City hall in Amman on the 21st of February, 2016.
Organised by Jordan SMEs and attended by local dignatories, BlueSCities was represented by Bernd Gawlik of the JRC and Natalia Glowacka. The event which attracted an unprecedented amount of press coverage was designed to publically show the work of Jordanian school children who have been learning about the importance of water and who have producd beautiful drawings reflecting their perception of our most valuable natural resource. many of the drawings will be published in the forthcoming Pan-European Atlas of Water Management, another result of the BlueSCities Project.
Lina Aldasouqie, Head of Jordan SMEs in her welcoming speech said:
At a time when water is now recognised as possibly the single, most important environmental challenge of the 21st Century, it is particularly sad that many of the most threatened regions in the Middle East, Africa and Asia are also the scene of armed conflicts or areas directly affected by such atrocities. Jordan is an example of this crisis. It is a nation that has always opened its frontiers to those in search of asylum and yet at the same time it faces the crisis of being the second water –poorest country in the World. The arrival of over one and a half million Syrian refugees has only served to highlight this dilemma whereby humanitarian action has also resulted in a serious challenge of sustainability.
In September, 2015 NETWERC H2O, of which Amman is Vice President, the European Commission, represented here today by Mr Bernd Gawlik and the partners of the European Project: BlueSCities organized a workshop on water in Dubrovnik, at the end of which, the Dubrovnik Declaration of Intent was agreed upon. The document reflected the participants’ desire to investigate the importance of the role of local administrations in resolving the international environmental issue of water, to ensure improved exchange synergies between cities and to employ tools for integration and implementation, citizen awareness, engagement and networking.
To date a number of cities and regions have signed, or are in the process of signing, the Declaration which has aroused the interest of many supranational and national entities. One of the first cities to accept the challenge was Amman. It is, I believe, extremely appropriate that at a time of much international unrest and environmental pressure, our city, the capital of Jordan has taken the initiative and is the first to implement a number of actions which serve as an example to the many other signatories of the document that was created last year on the shores of the Adriatic.
Jordan SMEs and the Greater Amman Municipality have initiated the Science Café and School Prize approach in our city and the surrounding area with the aim of sending a message concerning the vital importance of water to a wide community of both university students and school children. Those children at different schools have been encouraged to consider the water problems facing our region and then translate into images their feelings. Those drawings by Jordanian children form the basis of this exhibition. They are accompanied by the work of the Polish artist, Natalia Glowacka, as indeed they will be when many of them are published later this year by the European Commission, in the Pan-European Atlas of Urban Water Management.
Water has always been an element of great importance both in the world of science and of art. It is the element that has dominated human civilization throughout history. To observe it through the eyes of our children means that we can perhaps come closer to the simple concepts which as adults we so often forget; that water is life, water is beauty, water is our most important natural resource.
The European Commission, The City of Amman, Netwerc H2O, Jordan SMEs and the experts of the BlueSCities consortia invite you to take a few moments and put aside your everyday concerns and preoccupations in order to contemplate their artwork and their honesty. By creating these thought-provoking, yet innocent images, our children are asking us to learn and work towards a more ecological, more sustainable and more peaceful future. The future of today’s artists.