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Meet Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan

2011 October 7

The Common Ground Awards are coming up (October 27) and if you’d like to come get your tickets now!

Leading up to the event we’ll be showcasing one of our exceptional 2011 awardees each week and today the spotlight is on Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan.

For over three decades, Her Majesty Queen Noor has been engaged in peacebuilding, human rights activism, women empowerment and cross-cultural understanding. She is actively involved in a number of international organizations dealing with global peace-building and conflict recovery and has served as an expert adviser to the United Nations on these issues.

She was born Lisa Najeeb Halaby in Washington, DC on August 23, 1951 to an Arab-American family distinguished for its public service. After receiving a B.A. in Architecture and Urban Planning from Princeton University in 1974 as a member of its first coeducational class, she worked on international urban planning and design projects in Australia, Iran, the United States and Jordan.

Queen Noor’s work in the Arab world has concentrated on national and regional human security issues.  Since 1979, the initiatives of the Noor Al Hussein Foundation and more recently, the King Hussein Foundation, have transformed development thinking in Jordan and the Middle East through pioneering programs in the areas of education, sustainable development women’s empowerment, microfinance, human rights, health, and cross-cultural understanding.

The Foundations which she founded and chairs provide training and assistance in implementing these best practice programs in the broader Arab and Asian regions.

The King Hussein Foundation International awards the annual King Hussein Leadership Prize and, in 2007, launched an annual Media and Humanity Program during New York City’s Tribeca Film Festival to promote media projects that bridge political and cultural divides with special emphasis on the Middle East and the Muslim world.

She has been an advisor to, and global advocate for, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines since 1998, travelling to Central and Southeast Asia, the Balkans, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America to visit landmine survivors struggling to recover and reclaim their lives. She is a founding leader of Global Zero, an international movement working for the worldwide elimination of nuclear weapons.  She was an advisor to the 2010 film Countdown to Zero- an internationally acclaimed documentary about the escalating global nuclear arms threat.

A long-time advocate for a just Arab-Israeli peace and for Palestinian refugees, the Queen is an outspoken voice for the protection of civilians in conflict and for displaced persons around the world.  She is a member of the International Commission on Missing Persons.

Her involvement in organizations, peacebuilding missions, initiatives and institutes are countless and she has tirelessly fostered understanding between the Western and the Arab world and served as one of the most famous diplomats for the Muslims in the West. She has also contributed to strengthening ties within the Arab world through the Arab Children’s congress.  In 1980, following  a particularly challenging Arab Summit Meeting in Amman, the Queen called for an annual meeting of Arab youth to promote understanding, solidarity and discussion of contemporary issues and challenges facing the Arab and international communities.  Since 2004 the congress has welcomed participants from all over the world.

Queen Noor has dedicated her life to a vision of a more humane and peaceful world. She has continually campaigned for peace, equality and understanding and has utilized her unique position as an American born Jordanian Queen to bridge differences and nurture understanding between the Muslim world and the West.

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