Her Majesty Queen Noor Celebrates Birthday
August 23 2021
Upon her marriage to His Majesty King Hussein in 1978, Her Majesty Queen Noor Al Hussein, born to an Arab-American family distinguished for its public service, embraced her role as a Jordanian public servant. A graduate of Architecture and Urban Planning from Princeton University, Queen Noor actively participated in learning about the needs, challenges and gaps in various development aspects in Jordan and the region. This led to the establishment of the non-profit Noor Al Hussein Foundation (NHF) in 1985. Its innovative and holistic approaches have advanced development thinking in Jordan and the Middle East through pioneering best practice programs in the fields of poverty eradication, women and youth empowerment, microfinance, health, and arts as a medium for social development and cross-cultural exchange.
In 1999, Queen Noor established the King Hussein Foundation (KHF) to give enduring life to King Hussein’s humanitarian legacy and vision which they shared – equity and wellbeing for all humanity. KHF’s 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. The Foundations’ staff of over 1000 dedicated women and men, continue to provide training and capacity-building expertise across Jordan, as well as the broader Arab and Asian regions. In 2020, KHF served directly over half a million beneficiaries (out of which 70% women, 70% youth and 22% refugees), and touched the lives of 2.3 million individuals in Jordan. Queen Noor is also the founder of Jordan’s SOS Children’s Villages Association and the Jerash Festival for Culture and Arts.
A conservation and environment activist/supporter, Queen Noor became a patron of Jordan’s Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, the Middle East’s first environmental NGO, and chaired Jordan’s National Commission in 1990 which developed Jordan’s National Environment Strategy, along with Jordan’s Environment Law - the region’s first such initiatives. Since 1989, she has also served as Honorary Chair and Patron of the Petra National Trust, a pioneering initiative safeguarding cultural and natural heritage. Internationally, she has focused 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’sFriends of Ocean Action and Patron of the Scotia Group.
Queen Noor also chairs the King Hussein Foundation International, a US non-profit 501(c)(3) which supports the work of the King Hussein Foundation and 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. To promote media projects that bridge political and cultural divides, Queen Noor launched a Media and Humanity Program with New York City’s Tribeca Film Festival.
Her Majesty Queen Noor is a steadfast advocate for cross-cultural understanding and conflict prevention and recovery issues such as refugees, human rights, missing persons, climate change, and disarmament. Her peace-building work has focused on the Middle East, the Balkans, Central and Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Africa.
A long-time advocate for a just Arab-Israeli peace and for 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 displaced Afghans, Pakistanis, Iraqis, and for the millions of Syrians displaced since 2011. She has also been an expert advisor to the United Nations focusing on implementation of the MDGs in Central Asia and on behalf of Colombia’s displaced.
Queen Noor has 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, as a Commissioner of the International Commission on Missing Persons, Queen Noor worked closely with families on issues related to DNA-assisted identifications, healing, justice and reconciliation best practices 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 the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and a global advocate for the United Nations ratification of the Ottawa Mine Ban treaty to promote victim survivors’ assistance.
Queen Noor is also involved with a number of other international organizations advancing global peacebuilding and conflict recovery. She is President of the United World Colleges (UWC), a Trustee of the Aspen Institute, Advisor to Search for Common Ground and Trust Women, collaborating with the Thomson Reuters Foundation to put the rule of law behind women’s rights. She has also worked with the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Council of Women World Leaders, and Women Waging Peace and as a member of the Pew Global Attitudes Survey International Advisory Board.
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.
Together, HM 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.
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.