While many articles have been written about Jordan and its various environmental issues ,especially the most recent about the state of the Lower Jordan and Yarmuk Rivers, the Jordan Royal Family, particularly Queen Rania Al Abdullah (who’s helping Jordanian farmers go organic), is very concerned about the state of the educational environment in the Kingdom, as well as that in neighboring Palestine.
This has led to the launching of programs aimed by Queen Rania for improving the educational systems in the region, especially in the West Bank; an area administered by Jordan prior to the June 1967 War. The Queen attended a special charity luncheon in Abu Dhabi recently to help raise funds for schools in East Jerusalem and other parts of Palestine; and was also helped launch the “Madrasati Palestine Initiative” together with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to improve the deteriorating state of schools in East Jerusalem and elsewhere within the “Palestinian lands”. Her Majesty, who recently published a children’s book that is now on the New York Times bestseller list, is becoming more involved in programs to improve the quality of the educational environment in Jordan’s 500 state run schools. Her concern improving the educational institutions in her own country has also led her to take her campaign further a field and to help promote a better understanding between cultures, which is the theme of her new book: The Sandwich Swap.
The present state of Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem is also of prime interest to Queen Rania, who was born in Kuwait, as her parents were Palestinian refugees who were originally from Tulkarm. Since becoming queen in 1999, when her husband, King Abdullah II ascended the throne, Queen Rania has devoted herself to improving the educational systems in the Kingdom; as well as leading programs dealing with community empowerment and environmental sustainability, that led to the establishment of the Arab Sustainability Leadership Group, ASLG (2008) which is designed to encourage business leaders to work within the framework of environmental protection and equal opportunity when pursuing profit motives.
So popular is this concept, that a branch of this organization was recently launched in Egypt; and where she addressed the opening of the ASLG in Cairo by saying:
“Sustainability is an opportunity not only to tap into new markets… but to cultivate brand loyalty in local communities and large parts of society. It’s a chance to develop the skills of your employees and the next generation of employees. It’s a chance for the private sector to show they are taking part in solving society’s problems.”
Queen Rania’s championship of educational reforms, environmental sustainability, and cross cultural dialogue, has resulted in her being named by Forbes Magazine as one of the world’s 100 most influential women.
She has appeared on such American TV programs as Good Morning America, and the Oprah Winfrey Show. Bearing all of her accomplishments in mind, and in light of such regional cooperative organizations as Friends of the Earth Middle East, it might behoove Her Majesty to try to make a bit more effort to extend some of this “cross cultural dialogue” to a neighboring country that shares many of her ideals in regards to improving the education infrastructure of the people as well as understanding between peoples.
Her father in law, King Hussein, tried to do this with Israel; and she should make a better effort to pursue these goals as well with friends across the Jordan River.
Perhaps a start are conferences such as the recent Regional Water Conference for saving the seriously depleted and polluted Lower Jordan River.
Join the million plus people: Follow Queen Rania on Twitter @QueenRania
More on Queen Rania and Jordan:
Queen Rania to Help Jordan Farmers go Organic
Steps and Science for Saving the Lower Jordan River
Gidon Bromberg on Water Security and Sustainability in the Middle East