Most countries in the world have been aware of the importance of geographical names in their past, present and future. So, it has been given the great care and most countries of the world have allocated committees, associations or associations to take care of these geographical names.
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan was one of the first Arab countries in this field. A committee for the consideration of geographical names was established in 1984 by virtue of a decision of the Council of Ministers. The committee continued its work until 1986 and was composed of: the Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, Minister of Public Works, Minister of Culture, Youth and Antiquities, Director General of the Department of Land and Survey, Director General of the Jordanian Geographical Center, representative of each of the Jordanian government universities (Jordan, Yarmouk, Muta).
Its functions were: the existing names in Jordan and Palestine, showing the civilized face of Jordan through the development of appropriate geographical names.
In a meeting of the Council of Ministers on 12/6/2000, the council decided to reconfigure the committee to include specialists and stakeholders, consisting of representatives from the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and the Environment, the Ministry of Land and Survey Department, the Arabic Language Complex, the Royal Jordanian Geographical Center, Greater Amman Municipality (added in 2003, members of the public and private sector.
Its permanent headquarters is located in the Royal Jordanian Geographical Center. It can use specialists in its field of work and assigns everything related to geographical names in Jordan.
The committee is headed by the Director General of the Royal Jordanian Geographical Center.
The Committee’s duties are as follows:
• Standardization of geographical names in Jordan.
• Maintain and publish the Jordanian Geographical Names Index.
• Placement to the Prime Minister of the proposed and alternative names of the geographical names that he agrees to change, or
Launching names for unnamed sites.
• Adoption of the system of writing geographical names in Roman letters (romanization) or non-Arabic names in Arabic characters according to the system adopted by the United Nations.
• Providing a database of alternative or new geographical names that includes historical events, martyrs, political and literary personalities, and who have a prominent role in social life.
• Follow up developments in the Arab countries and the world regarding geographical names.
The official manifesto issued by the Prime Minister No. 23 of 2001 was circulated to all ministries, departments and governmental institutions, which stated:
“For the purposes of unifying the reference of the geographical names, to all ministries and government departments and official institutions and relevant authorities when the launch of new names, or change existing names, or write names in Arabic letters and Roman letters, whether these names of countries or streets or sites refer to the National Committee To geographical names so that the resulting geographical name is adopted in accordance with the recommendations of experts of the United Nations in this area.
Rules of procedure (Provisional) of the National Committee for Geographical Names in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan:
Committee: National Committee for Geographical Names.
Geographical name: Country names, streets, locations, and geographical features.
Headquarters: The headquarters of the Committee is the Royal Jordanian Geographical Center.
President: Chairman of the National Committee for Geographical Names.
Vice-President: Vice-Chairman of the National Committee for Geographical Names.
Secret Keeper: secret keeper of the National Committee for Geographical Names.
Current Committee Members:
– Brig. Dr. Eng. Awni Mohammed Al-Khasawneh / Director General of the Royal Jordanian Geographical Center / Chairman of the Committee.
– Representative of the Ministry of Interior / Vice Chairman of the Committee.
– Representative of the Royal Jordanian Geographical Center / Secretary of the Committee.
– Representative of the Jordanian Arabic Language Complex.
– Representative of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities / Department of Antiquities.
– Representative of the Jordanian Royal Geographical Center.
– Delegate of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.
– Representative of the Ministry of Public Works and Housing.
– Delegate of the Department of Land and Survey.
– Representative of the Ministry of Awqaf.
– Representative of Greater Amman Municipality.
– Representative of Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority.
– Private sector representative.
Committee president :
Director General of the Royal Jordanian Geographical Center.
Functions of the committee president:
1- Supervising all the activities of the committee.
2- Presides the meetings of the Committee and send the invitation to the meetings.
Functions of Vice-President of the Committee:
1. To carry out the work entrusted to him by the President.
2. Represents the President in his absence.
Functions of the Secretary:
1. Proceedings of the Committee.
2. Supervise the keeping and organization of records.
3. Follow up on the implementation of the Committee’s decisions.
4. Preface to the meetings of the Committee.
Duties of the Committee:
1. Standardization of the writing of geographical names in Jordan.
2. To maintain and publish the Jordanian Geographical Names Index.
3 – Placement to the prime minister with proposed and alternative names, for the names of the geographical sites that he agrees to change, or when launching new names for sites that do not have names.
4 – Adoption of the system of writing names in Roman (Roman) or Arabic names, according to the system adopted by the United Nations.
5 – Provide a database of alternative or new names, including historical events and martyrs and political figures and literary and have a prominent role in social life.
6. Follow-up to developments in the Arab countries and the world regarding geographical names.
Powers of the Committee:
1. To seek the assistance of experts and specialists from the public and private sectors.
2. Request to cancel or suspend the use of any new names until they are approved by the Committee.
3- Publishing articles, researches, studies, books, organizing conferences, exhibitions and posters, and benefiting from the print, audio and visual media to raise awareness of the committee’s tasks and work in the field of geographical names.
4. Conduct field and research studies when needed.
5. Recommending the inclusion of new members (institutions or individuals) or replacement of working members of others, with the approval of the Prime Minister.
Mechanism of work of the Committee:
1. The Committee shall consider its periodic or emergency meetings in the applications and transactions referred to it for the change of geographical names or the launching of new names for sites without names.
2. The Committee shall select the proposed new names on the basis of the rules adopted by the Committee.
3. The Committee shall submit the proposed new names to the Prime Minister to take the necessary procedures in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations.
General Principles for New Names:
1. The name shall not be repeated.
2. It shall not affect national or religious feeling or public taste.
3. Not to raise political, racial, religious or tribal sensitivity.
4. Not associated with the name of a clan, family or person that does not comply with what is stated in the Committee’s duties.
5- It should be related to the history and culture of Jordan and the Arab and Islamic worlds.
6. When launching specific names for certain sites, the following shall be taken into account: Consult the residents of the Area and agree as much as possible on the new name, so as not to contradict the principles adopted by the Committee.
7- Identifying the description of the geographical location or the description of a nearby location.
8. Confirm the appropriate section of the name, if the name consists of more than one section.
9. The Geographical Names Information Bank shall consider the selection of the appropriate name.
10. Disclose the letters of the name.
11. The building of the name shall be disclosed.
Meetings of the Committee:
1. The Committee shall meet periodically on a day of each month and hold emergency meetings whenever necessary.
2. The meeting shall be legal if half of the members attend one plus.
3. The Committee shall take its decisions by a vote. If the votes are equal, it shall prevail over the group in which the Chairman or Vice-Chairman is present in his absence.
4. The Committee shall hold its meetings at its headquarters or at any place where the nature of that stage of work requires it.
Ibrahim Abdullah Al Jaber Obaid
The Royal Jordanian Geographical Center / Secretary of the Committee
Jordanian Web Directory
For the purpose of establishing a documented reference, the Jordanian index of sites was issued in digital form on a CD, according to the Access software for all Jordanian sites in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which are included in the maps of the 1/25000 scale and the scale of 1/50000. The version included the name of the site in Arabic and Roman letters , The location of its geographical coordinates, the Jordanian quadrature, the Palestine square, the name of the painting, and the scale of its drawing. The name can be accessed by the Arabic name, Roman letters, coordinates or the painting, and can be ordered in alphabetical order or the title or the painting. This index contains more than ten thousand names. The National Commission for Geographical Names has already issued a hard copy of it.