The Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation (AHSF) was established in 1978 ( cultural foundation ) as a charitable initiative launched by the Arab Bank. Based on its belief in the importance of developing a common ground for Arab progress, the Arab Bank allocated a percentage of its yearly profits to fund the Foundation's establishment. Its aim was to ultimately support the national economy while also pushing forward scientific research, studies in Humanities, cultural enlightenment and innovation. The Foundation has since sought to achieve its objectives through three pillars:
- Thought Leadership
- Literature and Arts
The Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation was named after the late Abdul Hameed Shoman (1888-1974), Founder of the Arab Bank, who believed in the importance of supporting and funding science and scientists, and sponsoring creativity and innovation in the Arab world. The Foundation was established in 1978.
The AHSF encourages pioneering ideas by supporting various fields of scientific research. It launched the Abdul Hameed Shoman Award for Young Arab Researchers in 1982 and the Abdul Hameed Shoman Fund for Scientific Research in 1999. It also provides opportunities that bring together the public on one hand and thinkers, researchers and scientists on the other through the activities and events of the Abdul Hameed Shoman Cultural Forum established in 1986. The Foundation further seeks to reinforce the culture of scientific research and pioneering among children and the youth, and to enrich education in Jordan through its Education and Science Program. The Program was launched in 2014 and includes the Abdul Hameed Shoman Exhibition for Young Scientists, the Young Innovators Laboratory, the Abdul Hameed Shoman Award for Science Teachers, and support for Jordanian students participating in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
The AHSF gives great importance to investing in literature and the arts. Therefore, it launched the Abdul Hameed Shoman Award for Children's Literature in 2006 and established the first computerised and fully equipped public library in Jordan in 1986. The Foundation has also supported many libraries as part of its many projects in Jordan and Palestine. It established the Path to Knowledge children's library in 2013 to provide a welcoming environment where children and young people (aged 3-16) from different backgrounds could enjoy reading, interacting with each other, and participating in creative activities as part of their journey of self-discovery. A children's cinema program was launched the same year.
The Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation also worked on strengthening the culture of cinema and music, through the Cinema Program, which was established in 1989 to promote the culture of cinema and filmmaking industry at the societal and cultural levels. In this respect, the Cinema Program offers carefully-selected, weekly shows of classic, modern and experimental movies. As for music, the Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation launched the Musical Evenings program in 2014, which constitutes a platform for promising Jordanian and international music talents. Furthermore, the Foundation launched Poetry Nights in 2015, in partnership with the “Watar” cultural foundation, in order to celebrate poetry, as a form of literature rooted in the Arab heritage.
In an effort to empower Arab cultural and social innovation and to respond to creativity and entrepreneurship issues, the Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation launched the Grants and Support Programs in 2014, which falls under its Social Innovation pillar. In this respect, the Grants and Support Programs was launched to enable cultural and social innovation. It seeks to disseminate scientific endeavors, which would address pressing social issues and provides sources of sciences, learning and educational spaces for all. This is all carried out through the Leadership Thought Corner, which provides the required support to implement various cultural and scientific initiatives in Jordan and the Arab world, such as the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair Award, and the Fun Time channel on YouTube.
As part of the Literature and Arts pillar, and through its Grants and Support Programs, the Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation provides financial and in-kind support, with the aim of providing arts for all and promoting cultural diversity in the society.
The Grants and Support Programs seeks, through the provision of Social Innovation Grants, to ensure the dissemination of creativity and innovation, while focusing on youth and women in local communities, as well as to support projects, contributing to building youth’s skills, accelerating the achievement of social gains, and addressing pressing variables through entrepreneurship and innovation.
Not only did the Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation organize cultural and societal activities and events on its premises, but also sought to expand its activities, by organizing the Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation Cultural Days, which were launched in 2015. Through its Cultural Days, the Foundation seeks to strengthen its ongoing efforts to connect with communities outside the Jordanian capital, and to provide an integrated cultural and artistic program, targeting all society segments. The first year witnessed the evolvement of the Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation Cultural Days, which included the launch of the second Jabal Amman Cultural Week in Amman, Jordan, as well as that of the Cultural Days locally in the city of Aqaba, and regionally in Dubai, UAE.
As a cultural foundation AHSF occupies a recognized, prominent position on the Arab cultural and scientific map, allowing it to conclude close partnerships and cooperation relationships with intellectual, scientific and literary institutions and centers in the Arab world. The Foundation also seeks to enhance its objectives and mission to create a cultural and creative society, through its ongoing and continuous efforts exerted in this respect.
Former Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation General Managers:
1- The late Abdul Rahman Bushnaq: 1980 - 1981
2- Dr. Asaad Abdul Rahman: 1981 (Part-time:1983) - 1996
3- Ibrahim Ezzedine: 1997 - 2002
4- Dr. Mohamed Ahmed Hamdan: 2002
5- Thabet Al-Taher: 2003 - 2012