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The Prince of Wales visits Salt.

Star AMMAN (Star)--His Royal Highness Prince Charles of Wales, accompanied by His Royal Highness Prince Ghazi Bin Mohammad, visited on Wednesday Oct. 27 the Salt Training and Resource Institute for Disability (STRIDE) where he met with volunteers and teachers working on the disabled education program and viewed the reconstruction work of the old quarter.STRIDE aims to train rehabilitation workers and teachers of disabled children in Jordan and the Middle East as well as develop educational resources in Arabic for use by disabled people. Since 1995, over 2,000 trainees have attended STRIDE training and resource programs.Restoration work on the old English Hospital complex started in 1997. The restored site will provide STRIDE with much needed facilities and will also house a Resource Center and Respite Care program for families with disabled children.Prince Charles was greeted at this visit by the Governor of Balqa Sameh Al Majali; the Mayor of Salt Maher Abu Samen; the Director of Public Security in the Balqa Governorate Colonel Ayed Sihan; The Arab Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem Bishop Riah Abu El Asal; and the Director of the School for the Deaf Brother Andrew.The Prince of Wales, accompanied by Prince Ghazi, then visited the College for Traditional Islamic Arts at Balqa University. His Highness toured the various workshops at the college and viewed progress on the Institute's most exciting project--the reconstruction of the Minbar, pulpit, of Salah al Din Ayyubi for Al Aqsa Mosque in Occupied Jerusalem.The founding of the College of Traditional Islamic Arts in 1998 was initiated by Prince Ghazi, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Al Balqa University in Salt. It followed discussions between Prince Ghazi and the Prince of Wales' School of Traditional Arts (PSTA) in the UK to investigate the possibility of setting up an institute in Jordan aimed at reviving and widening the understanding of Islamic arts. The institute was to be based upon the experience of (V.I.T.A.) the Visual and Islamic Traditional Arts program, which is a unique practical model for the education of traditional arts. The College is the first institute in the Arab world devoted wholly to teaching and preserving the traditional arts and architecture of Islam. Its academic programs lead both to the mastery of practical sills and to the understanding of the principles of Islamic art, its sacred origins, its philosophy, its objectives, and its role in Islamic history.The College awards a Bachelor of Arts degree in Traditional Islamic Arts. Programs leading to an MA and PhD degrees in this field are currently being designed. The original Minbar of Salah al Din Ayyubi at Al Aqsa mosque was burned down during an arson attack in 1969. And in 1999 the College of Traditional Arts was commissioned by the late King Hussein and the Jordanian Ministry of Religious Affairs to reconstruct the Minbar. Craftsmen and experts were gathered from all over the world to work on this masterpiece.Reconstruction work at the workshop started in 2002 and is expected to be completed in the summer of 2005. At the end of the tour of the College, Prince Charles attended part of a seminar on Urban Regeneration and the Role of Traditional Architecture. The seminar was organized by the College of Traditional Islamic Arts and the British Council in Amman. It brought together over thirty architects, planners, designers, and scholars from Jordan, the Arab world and the UK to look at the issue of traditional urbanism and local identity, and to explore the role of traditional buildings, the maintenance of local character and the creation of better places to live.

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Publication:The Star (Amman, Jordan)
Date:Oct 31, 2004
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