Most of the time, when we’re discussing a country’s 3D printing plan that’s completely endorsed and supported by the ruler of the country, we’re talking about the UAE city-state of Dubai and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. He introduced the multi-tiered Dubai 3D Printing Strategy in 2016, which was designed to make the UAE a global 3D printing leader. But Jordan, a Middle Eastern kingdom bordered by Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, and Israel, has equally technology-invested rulers. Just this past weekend, His Majesty King Abdullah II and Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan attended a session in the framework of the ongoing World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa, called “Jordan Entrepreneurship and Creativity.”
CNBC correspondent Hadley Gamble moderated the session, which served to shine an important light on creativity and entrepreneurship in the Jordanian kingdom by highlighting success stories about social entrepreneurship, 3D printing, software development, and design and architecture. Experts and stakeholders are saying that Jordan’s innovation-positive environment is inspiring breakthroughs that will make the country more competitive on a global scale.
100 startups, including 21 from Jordan, are attending the World Economic Forum, themed “Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” A brief film about creativity in Jordan, and the world as a whole, got the session about Jordan’s creativity rolling, as it showcased creative entrepreneurship in drone applications, renewable energy, digital games and programming, 3D printing, and regenerative medicine, among other topics. In addition to highlighting Jordan as a catalyst for creative solutions, it offered young entrepreneurs an encouraging look at the steps they should take in order to develop laws and infrastructure to ramp up the use of business accelerators and incubators.
Aman Bhutani, the president of Expedia Group, attended the session, and announced that the company is opening a software development office in Jordan’s capital city of Amman. Bhutani said that Jordan has a ‘competent and competitive workforce’ for the IT and communications sectors, and congratulated the Jordanian government for offering its support in employing people in these fields. But at the “Innovative Jordan” session, other entrepreneurs stated that while Jordan is on the right track, it can always improve. His Majesty King Abdullah and Her Majesty Queen Rania, with a group of world leaders, also attended this session. Muhannad Taslaq, the CEO of California startup Mixed Dimensions, said Jordanians are absolutely able to compete on the international stage, especially in engineering.
Taslaq said, “It is about problem solving [skills], which are universal.”
He also said that Mixed Dimensions, a 3D printing and cloud service provider, employs 50 Jordanian engineers and holds 16 patents obtained by Jordanians.Before this weekend’s World Economic Forum sessions on Jordan, The Jordan Times reported that Her Majesty Queen Rania visited Fab Lab Irbid in Amman, which is dedicated to giving entrepreneurs access to its co-working spaces, meeting rooms, and state-of-the-art equipment, including 3D printers. It’s designed to help startups experiment, and build up product prototypes. It’s a constituent of the EU-funded Shamal Start program, which helps develop the local economy and create job opportunities, in the form of startups, for the Irbid and Mafraq communities. Three private sector institutions in Jordan run the program: the Royal Scientific Society’s iPark, 3Dmena Social Innovation, and Luminus Education.
According to a statement from Her Majesty’s office, European Union Ambassador to Jordan Andrea Fontana, Director of Fab Lab Irbid Loay Malahmeh, and Luminus Group CEO Ibrahim Al Safadi all greeted the queen at the facility. Her Majesty met with entrepreneurs from several startups working at Fab Lab Irbid and took a tour, stopping by the clean area, the industrial area with metal, molding, and wood shops, and got a close look at the facility’s machines, including its 3D printers. Fab Lab Irbid also offers workshops and different membership plans.
After her visit to Fab Lab Irbid, Her Majesty also went to the Jordan University for Science and Technology (JUST) to see a performance of the recurring interactive discussion show, “Offline Show.”The queen joined about 170 students and staff members in the university’s auditorium to see the latest performance, and said she was very impressed, as the show takes on important social issues.
Her Majesty Queen Rania said, “Satirical art, the core of which are society’s woes and most pressing issues, greatly influences public opinion and helps change preconceived notions.
The ongoing show offers a safe space to discuss ethical problems and real-life ethical choices, and discusses controversial and complex issues. It was conceived by Jordanian social media influencers and activists Odai Hijazi, Mouath Omari, Ahmad Srour, and Omar Zorba. Her Majesty also told the audience members at the performance that “they are the future of Jordan.”
“We have great hopes for you,” Her Majesty said. “We hope that you will be the generation that fosters constructive dialogue, the one that overcomes any notions of negativity passed on from generation to generation, and the one to solve your issues without casting blame.”
She encouraged the students to keep taking part in important discussions, such as educational reform and development, which is a mission of His Majesty King Abdullah II. Discuss in the Jordan forum at 3DPB.com.[Sources: Petra, The Jordan Times]
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