World Scouting conclude visit to Jordan, Israel and Palestine
The Steering Committee of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) visited Jordan, Israel and Palestine during 10-19 May 2019 to promote WOSM’s Vision 2023 and provide impetus for advancing growth plans for Scouting in the region.
Through a series of meetings with high-level government officials, National Scout Organizations (NSO) representatives and Scout groups in each country, the visit aimed at supporting the development plans of the three NSOs.
The Steering Committee held its annual in-person meeting in Amman, Jordan, followed by meetings with HRH Princess Basma bint Talal, President of the Jordanian Association for Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, as well as meetings with Dr. Walid Maani, Minister of Education and Dr. Mohammed Abu Rumman, Minister of Youth and Culture. Each of these meetings provided an opportunity to discuss the modernization of Scouting and establishing national partnerships to advance Scouting in Jordan. The visit to Jordan also included visits to local Scout groups in Fuheis and Amman, where the Steering Committee had a chance to witness Scouting in action, including a two-month-old Scout group that showed clear potential for growth, as well as the strong support of local communities for Scouting in Jordan.
Commenting on the overall visit, WOSM Secretary General, Ahmad Alhendawi said, “By coming to the region, we aim to bring World Scouting closer to the communities that make Scouting a unique movement in creating a better world. The work of our local Scout groups in these countries is a strong reminder that Scouting is developing both individuals and communities alike.”
After a productive visit in Jordan, part of the delegation, consisting of WSC Chairperson, Craig Turpie; WSC Vice-Chairpersons, Jemima Nartey and Andy Chapman and Hana Pašić from the Senior Management of the World Scout Bureau, commenced a four-day visit to Israel and Palestine.
Spending two dynamic days in each country, the delegation reached out to various Scout groups and their national leadership, exploring ways to support both National Scout Organizations.
Starting in Israel, WOSM leadership had a chance to visit a Scout tribe in Tel Aviv to learn about the community service they deliver through providing after-school activities to children living in difficult circumstances. The first day’s visit to Israel concluded with an event held by the Hebrew Scout Association in Tel Aviv that highlighted Scouts’ musical and dancing talents, as they prepared for a series of shows happening in the United States of America.
Visiting Shfaraam the following day, WOSM leadership met with representatives of the six different National Scout Organizations (NSAs) and discussed possibilities for further growth and relevant support for it for each of the NSAs. The representatives shared examples of collaboration across NSAs, showcasing the support they provide to each other, as well as the diversity and inclusion of each of the NSAs. The visit to Israel concluded with a meeting with the Jaffa Sea Scout Tribe, part of the Hebrew Scout Association, where the delegation had a chance to take part in the water activities and take a boat ride with some of the Scouts. They elaborated on their different backgrounds yet noted that when the group are out on the water all differences are set aside and they operate as one.
Transitioning to the final part of their tour, the delegation was welcomed by the Palestinian Scout Association, a very active member of WOSM in the Arab Region. The delegation first visited the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, where they had a chance to interact with Scouts who have been providing support to visitors of the mosque during the holy month of Ramadan. Over 1,000 Palestinian Scouts guide visitors around the mosque in collaboration with other civil society organizations during Friday prayers each week where the number of visitors can spike beyond 200,000. Following the activities at the mosque, the delegation met with a Greek Orthodox Scout group, and attended an Iftar with the Al Helal Club and Scout Group in Jerusalem.
During the final day of the visit, the committee headed to Bethlehem, where they met a Scout group there, visited the Church of Nativity as well as a centre for children and youth with special needs that Scouts are highly active at.
To witness more of Scouts’ community initiatives, the delegation proceeded to the east of Ramallah to visit Am’ari refugee camp, home to 6,100 refugees, where Scouts have been providing food to its residents during Ramadan on a daily basis. The delegation engaged with Scouts in packaging and distributing food in the camp.
“The visit to the three NSOs in the region provided an excellent insight into the great work Scouting does in each of the three countries,” said Craig Turpie, WSC Chairperson.
The visit concluded with a meeting with Mr. Issam Qaddumi, Secretary-General of the Council of Youth and Sports, where the delegation discussed the importance of Scouting’s contribution to the life of local communities in Palestine.
“With strong programmes and educational offers, these three NSOs are thriving and growing, providing better Scouting to more young people on a daily basis,” said Craig.