Now that I'm safely here and have a working internet connection, I've got a chance to post that I'm in Amman, Jordan, for a few days to take part in the Global Youth Dialogue Forum sponsored by the Project on Middle East Democracy. I'm delighted to be part of this initiative, which brings together 25 Jordanian and 25 American young folk with a handful of
old more experienced folks such as myself to talk about politics, society, and such. Mohammed Azraq, one of the organizers, writes about it here; I'm particularly excited that several of my favorite Jordanian bloggers and citizen journalists are on the program. I'll try to write about the conference itself later.
It's great to be back in Jordan, even if only for a few days. I lived and traveled here a lot in the 1990s through 2002, but haven't been back for several years - amazing what a changing research agenda and two kids will do to one's travel itinerary! From what I saw driving around with a friend last night, the reports of Amman's changed landscape are not exaggerated. I'm still mulling over last night's stimulating conversation with Mohammed Abu Roman, Jamil al-Nimri, and Hassan Barari (all columnists with al-Ghad newspaper who will be familiar names to those who follow my daily tags). I've got a full slate of interviews and meetings before the conference gets underway - I'll write up what I can, when I can.
By the way, if anybody knows how to make a Blackberry work in Jordan shoot me an email - yes, it's global, has an active sim card, and worked fine in Paris. Same for any friends currently in Jordan who I failed to connect with in advance.