Her Majesty Queen Noor is an international public servant and advocate for cross-cultural understanding and conflict prevention and recovery issues such as refugees, missing persons, poverty, climate change, and disarmament. Queen Noor’s work in Jordan and the Arab world has focused on national and regional human security in the areas of education, conservation, sustainable development, human rights, and cross-cultural understanding.

Overall, her peace-building work has focused on the Middle East, the Balkans, Central and Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Africa. In recognition of her efforts to advance sustainable development, democracy, and peace, the Queen has been awarded numerous awards and honorary doctorates in international relations, law, and humane letters.

She has published two books, Hussein of Jordan (KHF Publishing, 2000) and Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life (Miramax Books, 2003), a New York Times #1 best seller published in 17 languages.

Early Life, Family, and Education

Born to an Arab American family distinguished for its public service, she received a degree in Architecture and Urban Planning from Princeton University before working on international urban planning and design projects in Australia, Iran, the United States, and the Arab world. She married His Majesty King Hussein bin Talal of Jordan in 1978 and was widowed when the King passed away in 1999 after a brief bout with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Together, His Majesty King Hussein and Queen Noor had two sons: HRH Prince Hamzah and HRH Prince Hashim, and two daughters: HRH Princess Iman and HRH Princess Raiyah, and 12 grandchildren.

King Hussein and Noor Al Hussein Foundations

Her Majesty Queen Noor founded the Noor Al Hussein Foundation (NHF) in 1985, and in 1999, the King Hussein Foundation (KHF). The non-profit non-governmental organizations which Queen Noor chairs, were influenced by her innovative, holistic approaches to regional development challenges. The foundations’ programs have advanced development thinking in Jordan and the Middle East through pioneering best practice models in the fields of poverty eradication, women and youth empowerment, microfinance, health, and arts as a medium for social development and cross-cultural exchange. They provide training and capacity-building expertise in these areas in the broader Arab and Asian regions.

The Noor Al Hussein Foundation’s early initiatives, the Quality-of-Life Project, Community Development Institute, the Institute for Family Health, the Jubilee School, the National Handcrafts Development Project, the National Music Conservatory, the National Center for Culture and Arts, and the Jordan Micro Credit Company- Tamweelcom have been recognized and supported by the United Nations and other international organizations as development models for the Middle East and the developing world.

Read more about Queen Noor’s work and a brief history of the foundations here.

The Queen established the King Hussein Foundation to give enduring life to King Hussein’s humanitarian legacy and vision which they shared. Its mission to foster equitable access to socio-economic, educational health, and cultural opportunities for women, youth, and the marginalized in Jordan and beyond is realized through the Noor Al Hussein Foundation’s Institute for Family Health, the Community Development Institute, Tamweelcom- the Jordan Micro Finance Company, in addition to the Jubilee Institute, Ethmar for Islamic Micro Finance, the National Center for Culture and Arts, the National Music Conservatory and the Information and Research Center.

All the foundations’ programs aid in the integration of refugees into their host communities, by providing access to education, finance, and entrepreneurship opportunities in addition to interactive theatre and clinical music programs to rehabilitate survivors, inform people of their social and human rights, and foster coexistence between refugees and host communities.

Additionally, Queen Noor founded the Jerash Festival for Culture and Arts, as well as Jordan’s SOS Children’s Villages Association which has established three SOS children's Villages, 2 kindergartens, and youth facilities in the country. She is an honorary member of the General Assembly of the SOS-Kinderdorf International.

King Hussein Foundation International

Queen Noor also founded and chairs the King Hussein Foundation International (KHFI), a US non-profit 501(c)(3), to support the development efforts of the King Hussein Foundation and award 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. In May 2007, the Foundation launched a Media and Humanity Program with New York City’s Tribeca Film Festival promoting media projects that bridge political and cultural divides with special emphasis on the Middle East and the Muslim world.


Environmental Conservation

Queen Noor has made conservation and environmental priorities an essential component of her work to promote human security and conflict resolution. Shortly after her marriage, she became a patron of Jordan’s Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN), the Middle East’s first environmental NGO. RSCN and NHF/KHF programs have become regional conservation and sustainable development models providing training and capacity building in the Middle East.

The Queen also chaired Jordan’s National Commission in 1990 which developed Jordan’s National Environment Strategy, the region’s first such initiative, along with Jordan’s Environment Law which set standards for water use and quality, specifications to measure and control air pollution, and conditions for the establishment and operation of wild and aquatic nature reserves.

Since 1989, she has also served as Honorary Chair and Patron of the Petra National Trust a pioneering initiative in Jordan and the region for its work preserving and safeguarding cultural and natural heritage. Internationally, she has focused on environmental conservation and human security with emphasis on water and Ocean health and protection issues. She is Patron of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Founding and Emeritus President of BirdLife International, Trustee Emeritus of Conservation International, a member of the Ocean Elders and WEF's Friends of Ocean Action, and Patron of the Scotia Group.

Human Security

A long-time advocate for a just Arab-Israeli peace and Palestinian refugees, Queen Noor is a Director of Refugees International and an outspoken voice for the protection of civilians in conflict and displaced persons around the world. Her focus has included advocacy for Afghans displaced after the 2001 war, displaced Pakistanis, 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 Syrian civil war in 2011. She has also been an expert advisor to the United Nations, focusing on implementing the Millennium Development Goals in Central Asia and on behalf of Colombia’s displaced.

Queen Noor has also focused extensively on the Balkans since her first humanitarian mission in 1996 to bring aid from Jordan to the survivors of the tragic fall of Srebrenica. Over the following years, Queen Noor worked closely with families of the missing from Srebrenica and the Western Balkans region as a Commissioner of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). ICMP, headquartered in The Hague, is the leading provider of DNA-assisted identifications, and related healing, justice, and reconciliation best practices to countries worldwide dealing with natural catastrophes, human rights abuses, and conflict working in over 40 countries including Iraq, Syria, Columbia, Mexico, Western Balkans, and Missing Migrants in the Mediterranean.


Queen Noor is a founding leader of Global Zero, an international movement working for the worldwide elimination of nuclear weapons, and has been an advisor to, and global advocate for, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. She successfully lobbied for Jordan’s ratification of the Ottawa treaty and announced the critical 40th ratification of the Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty at the United Nations on October 1, 1998, detailing new measures to universalize the treaty and to promote victim-survivors assistance.

Queen Noor is also involved with several other international organizations advancing global peacebuilding and conflict recovery.

She is President of the United World Colleges (UWC), a network of 17 equal-opportunity international IB colleges around the world that foster cross-cultural understanding and global peacebuilding; a Trustee of the Aspen Institute, Advisor to Search for Common Ground and Trust Women – the Thomson Reuters Foundation annual conference aiming to put the rule of law behind women’s rights.

Her Majesty has worked with the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Seeds of Peace, Council of Women World Leaders, and Women Waging Peace and as a member of the Pew Global Attitudes Survey International Advisory Board.