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Students voice interest in archaeology after local workshop

By Saeb Rawashdeh - Sep 08,2018 - Last updated at Sep 08,2018

High school students analyse pottery at the workshop organised at the GPIA last week (Photo courtesy of the GPIA)

AMMAN — Fourteen students interested in Jordanian cultural heritage, last week attended a workshop organised by the German Protestant Institute of Archaeology (GPIA) and the Goethe Institute (GI), with the aim of introducing the local youth with the cultural history of Amman and train them in the German language

Lasting from September 2 until 9, the workshop gathered students from different schools in Amman, including Jubilee, Ahlia and Bishops schools.

 “The workshop was initiated three weeks ago and is under the umbrella of the PASCH initiative. However, the collaboration between the GI and the GPIA started last year in October, when the Gerda Henkel Foundation shot a film about the DOJAM project of the GPIA,” said German researcher Jutta Häser, noting that the objective of the PASCH is to enable students and teachers with “the lasting qualifications and to form a long-term international learning community".

A global network of some 1,800 schools, the PASCH initiative was launched 10 years ago, by the Federal Foreign Office in cooperation with the Central Agency for Schools Abroad, the GI and the German Academic Exchange Service and the Educational Exchange.

The presentation on the first day was primarily conducted by Hashem Khries, assistant of the DOJAM project, while on the second day Catreena Hamarneh from the GPIA taught students mosaic conservation. Benjamin Günther of the GI gave the didactic input and follow up with the creation of a quiz and a small exhibition.

"The cooperation with the Goethe Institute started already at the beginning of this year, when we organised the book launch of the children´s book ‘Secret of the Tell’ in Arabic language written by Dieter Vieweger," said Director of GPIA Katharina Schmidt, noting that in this event the GI prepared the content of the book and talked about archaeology under the lead of Agathe Simonis,. 

The main idea for this workshop came from the pupils of Jubilee school themselves as they wanted to "learn more about archaeology in the scientific way".

"An intensive six-day- workshop with schoolchildren is the first of its kind event carried out in my time while running this institute," Schmidt underlined, voicing hope to see more similar events take place in the future.

Hamza Al Hayek, a student from Jubilee school, said that he and his classmates became dragged into history and archaeology by reading about rich Jordanian and Middle Eastern sites and realising the significance of ancient civilisations that thrived in the region.

“Foreign scholars know more about Jordanian cultural heritage than many locals”, agreed student Malak Hussein who said that she felt that there is a need for local schoolchildren to attend this workshop "to boost their knowledge about the hidden Jordanian treasures".

"The major idea is to raise awareness among young people in Jordan of the rich cultural heritage of their country, and to make them acquainted with the importance of protecting their sites and monuments," Schmidt stressed, adding that schoolchildren are "the future of the country and the new generation of decision makers".

"Some of the students are seriously interested in becoming archaeologists or historians,”the director underscored.

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