Open Letter

Anders Pedersen
Anders Pedersen, UN Resident and Humanitarian coordinator to Jordan. (Photo: Handout)
My time here has come to an end after nearly five incredible years in this beautiful country, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan!

I will miss you. I will miss your landscapes, your generous and welcoming people, your warmth and friendliness, your delicious food, and your great weather. I will miss all my friends and colleagues. I will miss my UN family. But it is time for me to go back home and reunite with my family.اضافة اعلان

You have throughout history demonstrated your unparalleled generosity and hospitality by welcoming those who are fleeing persecution and conflict, most recently from Syria. As a member of the international community, I have advocated for continued and sustained support to your institutions, authorities, civil society and all people living in your Kingdom, in the spirit of collective responsibility. I have spoken up for equal access to basic services and opportunities, and for the full enjoyment of people’s rights. For Agenda 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals and the principle of Leaving No One Behind.

As I reflect on my time in Jordan, I will always remember the time I lived here during the pandemic. It was a difficult time for all of us, and somewhat it still is; the pandemic is not over! However, professionally, it has been one of the most rewarding periods of my life. I am content with the way I believe we as the UN were able to contribute to the success of the national response.

I rediscovered and further appreciated human connections, my local friendships, and again and again, the generosity of the people of Jordan. I felt cared for being able to get the vaccine early on together with all other Jordanians in my age group. You demonstrated your bigheartedness by providing protection to everyone by allowing all people living in your Kingdom as of day one to access the vaccine, regardless of their status or nationality, mindful that only when everyone is safe we are all safe. You confirmed in action what we all know: The virus has no border and knows no status, religion, nationality or race.

As I leave, I encourage you to address remaining development challenges with the same determination with which you responded to the pandemic, using the Agenda 2030 and the SDGs as your North Star, for you to build an even more inclusive, equal, sustainable, and green society. By ensuring the fundamental rights of all people, by promoting and supporting participation in the political, economic, and social lives, and by addressing the root causes of vulnerability, I am convinced you will keep thriving and continue to be a beacon of stability and respect for human rights in the region and beyond.

You are a parched nation scarce of water. You are not endowed with natural resources like your neighbors. Yet, your people are your strength and your treasure.

I wish you to find ways to fully value the resources and skills of young people and to create opportunities and incentives for them to thrive. You have a young and highly educated population with more than 60 percent under the age of 30, and 40 percent under the age of 18. Make use of it! Nothing is more precious than this. It is your hidden advantage. Do not let them leave in search of better opportunities, do give them incentives, create jobs for them, give them opportunities to become entrepreneurs. They are enthusiastic to contribute to your success, to make you even brighter. Give them space in your reform process so that they can participate in your political and economic lives.

I wish your women and girls can prosper and fully contribute to your development and stability. I am confident you will achieve gender equality and eradicate gender-based violence once and for all. I met so many exceptional Jordanian women here. Energetic, passionate, highly educated and eager to be part of your success in every imaginable field. They want to, and they can, contribute immensely to the country’s prosperity if given the opportunity to do so.

I wish persons living with disabilities can have access to the same opportunities as everybody else in the Kingdom and be given equal chance to contribute to your success.

I wish all refugees and migrants also be given the possibility to demonstrate their value, their skills, their knowledge and have a chance to contribute to your prosperity.

I wish you a future where all freedoms are guaranteed and protected. Hold on to your great performance in this troubled region. Human rights are under attack all over the world. Push back on the push backs. The world needs role models like Jordan, today more than ever.

My dear Jordan, my fellow Jordanian friends, keep it up! Stand firm to protect all of what you have achieved. And be courageous to pursue even higher goals. You have all what is needed to succeed.

I will miss you greatly, Jordan.

Ma’a salama. Goodbye! (For now)

Read more Opinion and Analysis