23 August 2014
Upon her marriage to His Majesty King Hussein in 1978, Her Majesty Queen Noor Al Hussein, daughter of an Arab-American family distinguished for its public service, embraced her role as a Jordanian public servant focusing on national and regional human security issues in the areas of education, conservation, sustainable development, human rights and cross-cultural understanding.
She is also an outspoken advocate for international exchange and understanding, conflict prevention and recovery issues such as refugees, missing persons, poverty alleviation, climate change and disarmament. Her peace-building work has focused on the Middle East, the Balkans, Central and Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa.
Since 1979, the initiatives of the Noor Al Hussein Foundation (NHF), have provided development models for Jordan and beyond through pioneering programs in the fields of poverty eradication and sustainable development, women’s empowerment, microfinance, health, and the arts as a medium for social development and cross-cultural exchange, many of which have become recognized models for the developing world. NHF provides training and assistance in implementing these best practice programs in the broader Arab and Asian regions through the Institute for Family Health, WAGE: Women and Girls Empowerment- Securing the Future, Tamweelcom—the Jordan Micro Credit Company, and the Community Development Program.
In 1999, Queen Noor founded the King Hussein Foundation (KHF) to complement national efforts to build on King Hussein’s humanitarian vision and legacy in Jordan and abroad. The KHF encompasses the Noor Al Hussein Foundation, the Jubilee Institute, the National Center for Culture and Arts, the National Music Conservatory and the Information and Research Center.
The Institute for Family Health (IFH) is responding to regional crises by expanding its pioneering work in trauma rehabilitation, child protection and gender based violence across Jordan and the Middle East, in partnership with U.N. agencies and other NGOs. The IFH, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, was also recognized as a regional trainer for the MENA region by UNFPA for its comprehensive approach. In the last six months around 30,440 beneficiaries received 33,508 services through its work in four Syrian refugee camps, two centers in the Amman, six static clinics, and a mobile clinic in five governorates across Jordan, including the recent opening of a clinic in Al-Qweismeh in partnership with Greater Amman Municipality.
Tamweelcom, the Jordan Micro Credit company, celebrated its 15th anniversary this past July, with over 423,777 loans disbursed throughout Jordan through 30 branches and one mobile branch. Tamweelcom is engaging youth through programs such as Fekrati: a competition for aspiring young entrepreneurs to improve their economic opportunities by receiving business literacy training, seed money, and mentorship to turn innovative entrepreneurial ideas into realities. Last year Tamweelcom received 'The King Abdullah II Award for Excellence for the Private Sectors' 1st place award in the category of "Large Service Organization" in the private sector.
The Community Development Program has become a major partner in the national Poverty Pockets Empowerment Program, supporting over 250 impoverished families to set up financially sustainable micro-enterprises, and assisting 80 community based organizations with community income generating projects and revolving loan funds. These poverty alleviation initiatives coupled with infrastructural development, such as upgrading bus stations facilities and equipping water filtration stations, contribute to improving the day-to-day lives of citizens in local communities.
In July, 2014 the International Centre for Educational Development’s 'International Award for Excellence in the Education of the Gifted' was presented to the Jubilee Institute, the first Arab institution to receive this award. Jubilee School students continue to excel at national and international competitions, earning 1st place in the Open Arab Robotics Championship, 1st 2nd and 3rd places in the Doganata Education Science Energy Engineering Fair and 1st place in the Arab Youth Creative Competition for Electronic Design. As part of the schools' drive to enhance the role of IT in education, the school is launching digital and online courses for students and teachers on topics that cover sciences, leadership, and entrepreneurship.
Queen Noor celebrating with students the 20th anniversary of the Jubilee School
In pursuing its founding mission to enhance public school teacher training, the Jubilee Center for Excellence in Education Acquired accreditation from the International Centre for Innovation in Education, to offer professional training programs in cooperation with international lecturers. The Jubilee Institute has positioned itself as a leader in promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education locally and beyond Jordan, enabling the center to host the Expo-Science Asia 2014, with 220 aspiring international young scientist and techno wizards from 20 countries aged 9-25.
In January 2014, Queen Noor was awarded the 'Personal Award for Supporting Youth Issues' by the Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak International Award for Arab Youth which stemmed from the International Arab Youth Congress (IAYC), hosted annually by the National Center for Culture and Arts (NCCA). The IAYC, established by Queen Noor in 1980, brings young people together in Jordan from throughout the Arab world and the international community to promote understanding, tolerance, and solidarity. The UNFPA appointed the NCCA to act as the 'Global Center of Excellence on Theater Based Peer Education Training' for raising awareness on healthy lifestyles, reproductive health and civic engagement. Participants from Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq among others have received this training so far.
Queen Noor with Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak International Award for Arab Youth, Jan. 2014
Since 1986, the National Music Conservatory (NMC) has celebrated the graduation of 7100 amateur and professional musicians, 12 of whom are internationally recognized. In June 2014, the JOrchestra (formerly known as the Amman Symphony Orchestra) was re-launched in partnership with the private sector, as well as the initiation of the NMC Young Musicians Orchestra for aspiring musicians aged 6-14 in January of this year.
In spring 2014, the Information and Research Center, pioneered HAQQI- a human rights research database providing free information on human rights in Jordan including legislative reviews and analyses, policy papers, training manuals, and info-graphs with over 25% focus on women's issues. Another milestone is the launch of a project on Empowering Care Leavers in Jordan that will identify and eliminate the legal and social inequalities and discrimination faced by Jordanian orphans of 'unknown origin'.
Queen Noor is also chair of King Hussein Foundation International which, since 2001, has awarded the 'King Hussein Leadership Prize' to individuals, groups, or institutions that demonstrate inspiring leadership in their efforts to promote sustainable development, human rights, tolerance, social equity and peace. The Prize committee announced Malala Yousafzai as the winner of the 2012 award for her courageous and dedicated commitment to girls’ education.
A long-time advocate for a just Arab-Israeli peace and for Palestinian refugees, Queen Noor is a board member of Refugees International and an outspoken voice for the protection of civilians in conflict and displaced persons around the world. Her ongoing focus includes advocacy for Iraqis displaced in Iraq, Jordan, Syria and other countries after the 2003 Iraq conflict, and for the millions of Syrians displaced since the onset of the 2011 Syrian civil war.
Queen Noor has made environmental priorities an essential component of her work to promote human security and conflict resolution. Not long after her marriage, Queen Noor became patron of Jordan’s Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, the Middle East’s first environmental NGO. She chaired Jordan’s National Commission in 1990 which developed Jordan’s National Environment Strategy, the region’s first, and Jordan’s Environment Law which set standards for water use and quality, and specifications to measure and control air pollution. The Queen is Patron of IUCN, the oldest international conservation organization in the world, Founding President and Honorary President Emeritus of BirdLife International, trustee emeritus of Conservation International and a member of OceanElders.
She is a Commissioner of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), created at the 1996 G8 summit to promote reconciliation and conflict resolution after the Balkans war and now is the leading provider of DNA-assisted identifications to countries worldwide dealing with natural catastrophes, human rights abuses and conflict including in Iraq, Libya and Lebanon. She is also advisor to Trust Women -the Thomson Reuters Foundation annual conference aiming to put the rule of law behind women's rights.
Queen Noor has been an advisor to, and global advocate for, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines since 1998, advocating for Jordan’s accession to the treaty as well as with governments in Central and Southeast Asia, the Balkans, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, supporting NGOs, and land mine survivors struggling to recover and reclaim their lives. She is also a founding leader of Global Zero, an international movement working for the worldwide elimination of nuclear weapons.
She has published two books, Hussein of Jordan, and Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life, a New York Times best seller published in 17 languages.
Queen Noor has four children, Their Royal Highnesses Princes Hamzah and Hashim and Princesses Iman and Raiyah.