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Queen Rania marks her birthday as her fight for peace, empowerment continues

By JT - Aug 30,2016 - Last updated at Aug 30,2016

Photo courtesy of Royal Court

AMMAN – Her Majesty Queen Rania marks her birthday on Wednesday, culminating another year of tireless dedication alongside His Majesty King Abdullah to advance Jordan’s domestic and international standing, Her Majesty’s office said in a statement.  

Fighting extremism, supporting destitute refugees and ensuring that local communities find opportunities to usher in positive change across the Kingdom have all been part and parcel of the Queen’s year. 

Through more than 160 local engagements and field visits, Queen Rania has ensured that different voices across Jordan are heard. 

From orphanages and schools, to women’s groups and elderly homes, Her Majesty has reached out to Jordan’s most accomplished as well as its most vulnerable. Through her engagements, she has decisively supported those working to empower and build their communities.

The Queen, who is also strongly committed to education development and innovation, has actively backed initiatives such as the Massive Open Online Course Edraak, and organisations like the Queen Rania Teacher Academy (QRTA).

QRTA has equipped over 35,000 teachers with the skills and tools necessary to improve educational standards since its launch in 2009, said the statement. 

Queen Rania has called for instituting pre-service training as an integral part of education reform in Jordan. Next month, QRTA will begin offering a professional diploma to prepare pre-service teachers in Jordan for their careers as educators. 

Between a packed agenda of local programmes connecting her to Jordanian people and local organisations, and a number of vital global initiatives, the Queen’s voice this year as an advocate for tolerance, community empowerment and global citizenship has been heard both within and across Jordanian borders. 

Her passion for building cross-cultural bridges and embracing messages of peace made this a year of countless awards. 

In Berlin, Queen Rania accepted the Walther Rathenau Prize presented to her by Chancellor Angela Merkel in recognition of her work as an advocate for peace and understanding between East and West. 

She dedicated the award to the people of Jordan, and in her acceptance speech, emphasised the importance of imagining a sustainable future where people around the world, especially in the West, step out of their comfort zones to welcome those they have deemed different. 

In this speech, she warned against using labels to describe people explaining that “over time, labels obscure a person’s humanity and allow suspicion to creep in and intolerance to build, fear to take root and walls to go up. Each sideways glance, each derogatory comment, each label… eroding our most precious commodity: basic human decency”.

The Queen also received the World Childhood Award from Queen Sylvia of Sweden in recognition of her continued advocacy for children, especially those trapped in conflict zones.  She has been globally applauded for her ongoing commitment to providing education to the world’s most vulnerable children. 

At the World Childhood Foundation’s award ceremony, Her Majesty noted that “there is no second chance at childhood, so we must all do what we can to keep the youngest members of our global family safe”. 

Following Charlie Hebdo’s lewd depiction of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian refugee whose body washed up on Turkish shores last September, while trying to reach Greece by boat with his family, Her Majesty responded by publishing a cartoon of her own on her social media platforms. 

The cartoon depicted the drowned child as a doctor had he lived, reminding the world of the human face of the refugee crisis and the precariousness of desperate sea journeys. 

While advocating for global empathy and the need for a stronger sense of pluralism to prevail across the world, the Queen has also spoken out on the ideological battle against extremism, and the need to unify against Daesh, and defend the true image of Islam.

In a speech at Sapienza University, where she received an Honorary Doctorate, she warned that: “There is nothing Islamic about these terrorists. But the more they attribute their actions to Islam, the more they provoke intolerance against all peace-loving Muslims. So that as well as fearing terrorists, we begin to fear each other.”

Also among Queen Rania’s recognitions this year was the Medal of Honour for Women from Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid. 

Within the year’s fold, the Queen wrote several op-eds in media outlets ranging from The Washington Post to TIME Magazine, demanding the world’s attention to the plight of refugees.  

Additionally, Her Majesty gave speeches at some of the world’s most influential platforms, including the World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington, DC, the Women in the World Summit in London, and the Global Citizen Festival in New York, where she called on the global community to fight extremism, racism and poverty.

Commending the Queen on her humanitarian work with refugees, the International Refugee Committee (IRC), one of the world’s longest-standing and largest humanitarian organisations, invited Her Majesty to join their board of directors. Earlier this year, Her Majesty had visited the IRC-operated camp at Cara Tepe on the Greek island of Lesbos, as well as their operations in the Jordanian town of Ramtha. 

Queen Rania’s activities this year have upheld her convictions and the causes in which she believes as she continued to support global humanitarian campaigns while also channeling much of her effort and time towards local needs and Jordan’s cultural progress. 

 

Most recently, Queen Rania launched her own brand of local innovation in the upcoming Amman Design Week, aimed at supporting local talent and encouraging the growth of creativity and collaboration in the region, with Amman as a hub. The nine-day event, which starts on September 1, will act as a platform for the exchange of local and global designs, and provide an opportunity for networking among design communities in the region. 

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