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Jordan - Still an Anchor of Stability and a Partner to Shape the New Middle East?

Policy Roundtable

The Jordan Office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) in cooperation with the German Institute for Area Studies (GIGA) is organizing a policy roundtable at the KAS Headquarters in Berlin. Within the framework of this roundtable, KAS and GIGA will engage with the Jordanian and German foreign policy community in order to discuss the domestic and foreign policy of Jordan and German-Jordanian relations

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King Abdullah II and former Chancellor Angela Merkel in Al-Husseiniya Palace (Roya News) Roya News
King Abdullah II and former Chancellor Angela Merkel in Al-Husseiniya Palace (Roya News)

Jordan has since long been considered an “anchor of stability” in the Middle East. A staunch ally of the West, but also, at times, a champion of Arab nationalism. The Hashemite Kingdom withstood the waves of war and civil unrest in the region. Indeed, the resource-scare country became a haven for refugees from its conflict-ridden neighbours. But the new geopolitical dynamics, such as the Abraham Accords and the re-orientation of US and European foreign policy (to Asia and, since the Russia-Ukraine War, to Eastern Europe), risk to side-line Jordan that is dependent on international aid. An escalation of the lingering Israeli-Palestinian conflict, that has become more probable with the new Israeli government, could also have negative spill-over effects across the Jordan river.

Internally, the cracks in Jordan’s social contract and the failings in governance have recently become more and more visible. A wave of strikes and protests against rising fuel prices rattled parts of the country at the end of 2022. Youth unemployment is as much increasing as are complaints about corruption and insufficient governmental services. While a royal initiative has promised political reforms to broaden political participation and new legislation strengthens the role of political parties, the security apparatus tightens its grip on civil society and media.

The way forward for the country which has, in the last decade, become a top recipient of German development aid and an important partner of Germany’s Middle Eastern diplomacy, remains thus uncertain. Against that background, KAS and GIGA want to take the pulse of the Hashemite Kingdom, both concerning its foreign and domestic policy. We will also discuss options of how to best adapt German and European policies towards Jordan.

The policy roundtable will take place on the 27th March 2023 from 9.00 am till 13.30 pm at the Akademie der Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. 

Address: Tiergartenstraße 35, 10785 Berlin, Germany

To register, please contact Simon Engelkes at


09h00 - Welcome Coffee and Registration

09h30 - Welcome Remarks and Introduction

  • Dr Canan Atilgan
    Head of Middle East and North Africa Department, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Berlin
  • Dr Eckart Woertz
    Director of the GIGA Institute for the Middle East, Hamburg

10h00 - Panel I: Jordan’s foreign policy in a changing Middle East

Chair: Dr Edmund Ratka, Resident Representative of KAS to Jordan

  • Laith Ajlouni
    Jordanian Analyst and Political Economist
    Jordan’s foreign policy: drivers, interests and instruments – how best to adapt?
  • Farah Bdour
    Programs Director, Amman Center for Peace and Development
    Jordan and the Middle East Conflict: how to navigate among Israeli-Palestinian tensions?
  • Dr André Bank
    Senior Research Fellow, GIGA Institute for the Middle East
    Jordan, Iraq, Syria and beyond: towards renewed Arab cooperation?
  • Dr Ulrich Ernst
    Director, Near East Department, German Foreign Ministry
    Jordan and Germany: a partnership to shape the new Middle East?

11h30 - Coffee Break

12h00 - “Political Modernization” – Jordan’s quest for a new governance model

Chair: Dr Maria Josua, Research Fellow, GIGA Institute for the Middle East

  • Wael Al-Khatib
    Jordanian Anthropologist and PhD Student at the University of Ghent
    The Royal Initiative to Modernize the Political System: A step towards more democracy?
  • Mohammed Abu Dalhoum
    Senior Research Analyst, NAMA Intelligence Solutions, Amman
    The Public and Politics: How to engage the people within the political system?
  • Layan Ounis
    Program Manager & Research Assistant, KAS Jordan Office
    From political reform to social change: is a new role for women emerging?
  • Dr Benjamin Schütze
    Senior Research Fellow, Arnold-Bergstraesser-Institut, Freiburg
    The US and Europe in Jordan: supporters or spoilers for democratic development?

13h30 - Concluding Remarks

Simon Engelkes
Policy Advisor, Middle East and North Africa Department, KAS Berlin

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Dr. Edmund Ratka


Director Foundation Office Jordan +962 6 5929777

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