Ben and IzzyA Jordanian media firm hopes its new TV cartoon series can achieve what politicians have failed to do so far: bridge the cultural divide between East and West. It sounds like a tall order, but the Rubicon firm — named after the river Caesar crossed to establish the Roman Empire — is armed with an equally mighty motto: "to embark on a mission from which one cannot turn back."

Even more important is that the cartoon, called Ben and Izzy and aimed at 8 to 11 year olds, has royal backing from Jordan’s media savvy rulers, King Abdullah II and Queen Rania, who have made it their goal to promote tolerance. Rania will showcase Jordan’s first TV cartoon export in New York on May 8 at a black-tie dinner she’s hosting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. American media ‘royalty,’ like Barbara Walters and Katie Couric, are expected to be on hand.

"Ben and Izzy has all the right ingredients," Rania told The Associated Press. "It uses the fun medium of a children’s cartoon, promotes important intercultural understanding and educates our children as well … It’s all about partnership. This isn’t about East telling West, or West telling East, but rather East and West putting their heads together and figuring out what’s best for us both." Source: [Yahoo News]

I have to say I’m really proud to see this great initiative coming from my homeland. It really is needed in this day and time. It put a huge smile on my face to see the US media talking about this initiative and mentioning the fact that is "Jordanian-made." Kudos to all those behind this very amazing initiative. I would also like to salute Randa Ayyoubi, the CEO of Rubicon, which is the company behind Ben and Izzy, for putting forward such a wonderful image of Jordanian women to the outside world! More Ayyoubi’s are needed in the Arab World. Here is the cartoon’s website and here’s a link to The New York Times feature from last week about Monday’s presentation. The Times even has a bit of the cartoon online. Jordanian blogger Black Iris has also weighed in with a few thoughts on this fantastic initiative.