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Monday, December 6, 2010

Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah Attends Signing Ceremony of the Institute for Sustainable development Practice at the Columbia University Middle East Research Center

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department- Amman) – Under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, the Columbia University Middle East Research Center (CUMERC) in conjunction with the Earth Institute at Columbia University and the Jordanian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MoPIC), held a signing ceremony for the Institute for Sustainable Development Practice on Monday December 6, 2010. As the first of its kind in the region, the Institute aims to tackle the challenges of sustainable development in Jordan, from extreme poverty, to climate change, to unemployment through capacity building, strategic research and policy support. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Columbia University Middle East Research Center, the Earth Institute, and the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation.

Her Majesty Queen Rania attended the launch held at CUMERC and has played a pivotal role in the conception and creation of the Institute. Her Majesty commented on the signing, saying: “In order for Jordan to grow and prosper, it is crucial to identify the roots of our development challenges, whether poverty, unemployment, health or education. The Institute for Sustainable Development Practice will dig deeper into the causes and provide informed solutions, based on research conducted locally, and recommend the fastest and most effective ways of addressing them.”

During the launch, CUMERC Director, Professor Safwan Masri, emphasized the importance of Her Majesty’s vision and support, and explained that the Institute will complement development efforts in the region, such as education, poverty alleviation, and public health. Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute, declared, “The new Institute is of the utmost importance for Columbia University. We are thrilled to partner with local organizations, government agencies, NGOs, universities, the private sector and all other stakeholders to contribute to a real and tangible improvement in the lives of individuals across Jordan and the region.”

The establishment of the Institute was initially born out of the initiative of the Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, His Excellency Dr. Jafar Hassan who sought the support of the Columbia University Middle East Research Center and the Earth Institute at Columbia University to assess the government’s poverty alleviation policies and programs, with a particular focus on the Kingdom’s 32 poverty pockets and urban poverty, in addition to developing capacity building programs targeting development professionals in Jordan.

Supported by the technical and policy expertise of Professor Jeffrey Sachs and his team at the Earth Institute, the Institute for Sustainable Development Practice is envisioned by all partners to serve as an innovative mechanism for mobilizing international expertise and experience, while building national capacity to achieve sustainable development in Jordan and elsewhere in the region.

As part of the Center’s ongoing public lecture series, Professor Sachs delivered a presentation to a full auditorium at CUMERC on Sunday December 5, 2010, entitled “Sustainable Development in the Middle East, Mediterranean, and Horn of Africa,” in which he discussed the key challenges and prospects of sustainable development in the region.

 

About the Columbia University Middle East Research Center

The Columbia University Middle East Research Center was launched under the Patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah in March 2009, as one of the first in a network of global centers that Columbia University is launching around the world. The Center, headquartered in Amman, Jordan, provides a regional base for scholarly activities throughout the Middle East and strengthens the University’s academic partnerships and programs in the region. The Center offers opportunities for faculty to engage in onsite research, for students to experience the Middle East firsthand,