On “Tourism of conferences”

On “Tourism of conferences”

By Fr. Rif’at Bader

Hardly a week goes by without receiving an invitation to attend conferences in our beloved country, and sometimes in nearby countries. But what concerns the internal affairs are these daily conferences, their positive impact on our unity in the first place, as well as the impression expressed abroad in the second place.

I have the following five points in this regard:

First: The wonderful image that we demonstrate in our conferences is that our country is safe and stable. As we thank the Almighty God for this, we hope that this situation is sustainable. The participants in the conference take photographs and transmit live video films. It is a civilized image of Jordan, which we transmit to the whole world, indicating that cultural development, cannot be attained without sustainable security, which we hope will prevail in the neighboring countries.

Second: Tourist arrivals have relatively plummeted while witnessing some improvements this year. Yet, the activities we undertake are suitable to address the “tourism of conferences”and the delegations arriving on daily basis. We have to provide information and brochures about Jordan and the treasures of our beloved country. It is also important that the conferences include field visits to touristic areas, particularly when they host journalists from friendly countries. It is also important to ensure cooperation among the parties organizing the conferences including the Ministry of Tourism and the Jordan Tourism Board. This entails providing every conference with special publications on Jordan, as well as organizing visits by delegations to touristic sites.

Third: There is something known as culture of dialogue, of expression of opinions and of listening to others’ opinions. Prior to the expression of views, it is to be admitted that dialogue is culture. There are several interlocutions that merely embark on talking and sometimes they get confused with the lecture itself and present lengthy elaborations. When I participated in an event at the United Nations in Geneva months ago, speeches were set at seven minutes and interlocutions were set at three minutes. With the elapse of the permitted time, the microphones stop functioning. On television satellites, three minutes are the average time allowed to present a report or an interview at a time when our interlocutors want to talks for as long as they can. We have to master the art of dialogue, listening to others and have short interlocutions.

Fourth: There are large partnerships among local institutions that organize conferences and workshops. It is great to note that the role of foreign partners does not go beyond presenting welcoming speeches. The national and local institutions have the duty of organization, choice of speakers, and ensuring participation. Partnerships deserve our encouragement provided, of course, that the partners should be recognized locally and be well-known for their integrity and transparency.

Fifth: To what extent does the public know about conferences and their importance? To what extend do the recommendations of conferences contribute to developing societies and bringing about positive thoughts. It is impossible to implement all the recommendations of conference despite the fact that we take this into consideration. The conferences have served as a supporter in the educational and cultural fields as is the case with schools and universities. We need to develop the methods adopted in organizing seminars, workshops and conferences so as to familiarize our citizens with them, and to ensure their contribution to the development of society. As for the impressions made by Jordanian functionaries abroad, it is subject to discussion in the future.

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