At Georgetown University

At Georgetown University

USWashington, DC
13 October 1999

Father O'Donovan, Dean Gallucci, Mr. Kirdar, Professor Hudson, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It's so good to be back here again. I feel quite at home here where I spent some wonderful days, which I shall always remember and cherish.

I am honored and very grateful for your kind invitation to come to the dedication of the new offices housing the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies. Let me also thank Mr. Nemir Kirdar for his generous contribution that made the new offices a reality. It is indeed an illustrious center of excellence, which over the past twenty-five years has greatly contributed through its books, scholarly papers, and seminars, to the shining reputation of this great institution. Many Jordanians, including some who are members of my accompanying delegation today, graduated from this university and are today contributing to the development of a modern civil society in Jordan that interacts with its neighbors and the international community around it.

In fact, this is the major challenge that faces us today as we approach the dawn of a new century: a modern state with functioning institutions, and an economy that is based on sustainable growth and on private sector enterprise, guaranteed by an independent judiciary. This is our aim and this is what I have set out to guarantee and protect. It is the basis of strength for a country that has weathered the storms of war and is preparing to face the challenges of peace. As we get ready for final status negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel, and as the Syrian and Lebanese tracks resume their activities, we in Jordan have to be ready for the requirements of a peaceful era that will have the economy as its major theme.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We long for the day when economics will assume the status of high politics, and when political considerations become relegated to issues of low priority on our regional agenda. The information technology era will not await the Middle East countries any longer. We have to shed our conflicts and rid ourselves of our shortsighted interests in order to ensure that our future will not be compromised or sacrificed. This is our mission statement and this is what the younger generation will hold us accountable for.

Thank you very much.