12 October 2017
In August the London Middle East Institute, in collaboration with the Al-Sadi Changing Lives (CL) programme in Amman, sent 14 SOAS students to Jordan for a unique cultural exchange and mobility experience. The programme is designed for international students to gain direct experience of the Middle East, providing them with insights into the Arab world, its people and cultures and to appreciate the region beyond its widely prevalent stereotyped images. CL is the result of the vision and generous funding of Dr Majid AlSadi, Chairman and CEO of the Eastern Holding Investment Group, who is committed to providing opportunities to young people from around the world.
Based in Amman, CL facilitates student participation with local organisations in refugee camps throughout Jordan as well as fields such as vocational training for orphans, public school renovations and social care for disadvantaged families. This was the first year SOAS students joined the programme.
During their stay in Jordan the students benefited from many opportunities: volunteering at some of charitable organisations in the country including Basmatik Hatallim at the Gaza Refugee Camp in northern Jordan and the Al Amal Fund in Amman which provides a diverse support network for orphans, visiting UNICEF’s MENA regional office in Amman and experiencing both urban Amman and the countryside around with trips to the Citadel downtown, a resort on the Dead Sea and the environmental centre at Azraq Oasis in the eastern desert. They also visited the British Embassy in Amman, where they were received by the UK Deputy Ambassador – Laura Dauban, herself a former SOAS colleague – who introduced them to the rest of the diplomatic team in Amman, their work and the FCO interest in the country.
Photo credit: Victoria Carluccio: SOAS students with volunteers from Basmatik Hatallim