Queen of Jordan promotes peace

Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan joined Yale President Richard C. Levin for a conversation in Sprague Memorial Hall at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 22, before an audience of Yale faculty, students and staff. Queen Rania’s speech was followed by a question-and-answer session.
Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan joined Yale President Richard C. Levin for a conversation in Sprague Memorial Hall at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 22, before an audience of Yale faculty, students and staff. Queen Rania’s speech was followed by a question-and-answer session. Photo by Sam Greenberg.

Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan urged Palestinians and Israelis to overcome their differences and engage in productive dialogue at a talk with University President Richard Levin on Tuesday.

In front of about 700 students and faculty members, Queen Rania praised President Barack Obama’s plan for Middle East peace and encouraged those involved in the conflict to maintain faith in the peace process. Students at the talk said they were surprised by Queen Rania’s bold statements on the hot-button issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but appreciated her candor.

Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan gave a talk yesterday, focusing on the Middle East peace process.
Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan gave a talk yesterday, focusing on the Middle East peace process.

Queen Rania, who has Palestinian parents, said Americans should pay more attention to one of the most important issues to people in the Arab world.

“Coming from Jordan, I feel I must speak for those voices Americans rarely hear,” she said. “In Jordan, we have to be concerned with the conflict, because we are living with its consequences.”

The most dangerous threat to the peace process is cynicism and hopelessness about resolving the conflict, she said.

While Queen Rania spent much of her 15-minute speech discussing the plight of the Palestinian people, she also mentioned the troubles Israel is facing.

“It isn’t just the Palestinians’ lives that are at stake here. Israelis too need a future of peace and security,” she said. “True peace depends on reconnecting the bonds of our common humanity.”

To that end, Queen Rania has been active in on-the-ground efforts to bring people together, especially concerning education initiatives for children worldwide. Before her talk, Levin announced the creation of the Queen Rania Fellowship for the Study of the Contemporary Middle East, which will provide scholarship funding to masters students studying the region.

Queen Rania’s visit coincides with Yale’s exhibition of “Breaking the Veils: Women Artists from the Islamic World,” which she initiated in Greece in 2002 to explore the roles of women in the Arab world. The exhibit, housed at the Institute of Sacred Music, is making its American premier at Yale.

In the question-and-answer session, Queen Rania addressed perceptions and realities of women living in the Arab world, a theme explored by the exhibit. She stressed the diversity of experiences for Arab women, some of whom have high-profile achievements to their names, while others of whom are still held back by laws and societal norms.

Samer Sabri ’13, a student from Lebanon, said he appreciated Queen Rania’s discussion of the roles of women in the Middle East, as well as the example she personally sets.

“As someone from the Middle East, I am very proud,” he said. “This is the Arab woman that we want and that we are aspiring to.”

Ten of the 12 students interviewed said they thought Queen Rania’s speech was somewhat biased towards the Palestinians, though many appreciated her attempt to address both sides of the issue.

“She stayed one-sided on it, but I do understand why, because she is representing the country of Jordan,” Nathan Yohannes ’13 said.

Queen Rania’s visit generated excitement throughout the student community, but the queen herself said she too had been looking forward to the visit.

“I wanted to come here for many years,” she said. “I’ve really been looking forward to seeing the Yale landmarks that I’ve heard about for so long.”

Born in Kuwait and educated at the American University in Cairo, Queen Rania has been involved in many organizations that help the disadvantaged both in Jordan and around the world since becoming queen in 1999.

Comments

  • Allen Greenberg

    Very interesting, balanced and well written.

  • Sandra

    Queen Rania is a fraud. There are poor people every where you go in Jordan yet this woman spends millions and millions on the latest fashion clothes etc. And it is rather pathetic how she is trying to sound politicly correct when she speaks, always trying to please her audience in a careful way so that no one will disagree with her. And isent it funny how she pretends to be religious among religious Muslims, and western among westerners? She is a hypocrite.

    She pretends to be modern while the country she is queen of has no democracy, the picture of the king is hung up everywhere on the streets, nobody is allowed to criticize the king, if you do you will be tortured in jail. Who is she trying to fool?

    This women simply loves to be seen and praised but she is a fraud, its a shame some people make a fuss about her, instead they should go see all the human rights abuses in jordan, does she dare to speak a word against them and demand justice or will she remain quiet for the sake of sounding politicly correct?

    Its not about saying the the right thing when it comes to “her majesty”, its all about sounding politicly correct.

  • y11

    lets bring some other inept, hypocritical and impotent political “leaders” to campus!

  • Natasha

    As a muslim woman I find your comments offensive and out of touch, Sandra.

    Millions of muslims are Westerners, we are no different to the Jew or Christian walking down the same street in London, Paris or NY. Just because she doesn’t fit into your preconceived notion of how a muslim woman should think or act does not make her a fraud.

    Moreover, I doubt she pays for her clothing. Designers must be falling over themselves to dress her-for free!

  • anon
  • Joe

    Did anyone ask her why Jordan recently stripped citizenship from Millions of its Palestinian citizens? It’s amazing how they are able to put a pretty face on such an ugly regime.

  • Joe Blotts

    It’s not at all different from the PR spin that every country provides to sugarcoat their actions. In the big scheme of things, the magnitude of Jordan’s activities pales in comparison to others (China, US, etc.). So, let’s keep our priorities straight. At least she rebuts stereotypes.