Queen calls for building future of ‘peace and shared progress’
AMMAN (JT) — Her Majesty Queen Rania urged the global community to follow the path of Sesame Street in spreading the values of knowledge, mutual understanding and respect.
Speaking at the Mosaic Foundation Ninth Annual Benefit Dinner, in Washington, DC on Tuesday, the Queen said these values are the cornerstone of a future of ‘peace and shared progress,’ a future, which we must all aspire to build and enjoy.
Attended by US First Lady Laura Bush, the honorary chair of the event, the benefit was held in support of Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organisation behind Sesame Street and other educational programmes for children.
The Mosaic Foundation, a charitable organisation, founded in 1998 by the spouses of 17 Arab ambassadors to the US, works to improve the livelihood of women and children and increase understanding of the Arab world in the United States.
Drawing on her own childhood experiences, Queen Rania commended Sesame Street for its “joyful approach to learning and life,” which “made an unforgettable impression” on her, one that is still with her today as she watches Hikayat Simsim, the Jordanian equivalent of the show, with her four children.
She credited the programme’s 35 years of success to the fact that it “has stayed in tune with times,” reflecting the challenges of each country in which it is aired, while at the same time presenting the common values that bind them together, irrespective of cultural differences and language barriers.
“Indeed, with Sesame programmes reaching more than 120 countries, its envoys — whether human, muppet or monster — can be ambassadors of global goodwill... helping young children and their parents learn more about the world we share,” Queen Rania said.
Urging the world to follow Sesame Street’s example in educating its citizens and spreading knowledge, the Queen cited Jordan’s efforts in the field.
“In Jordan, we have taken the education challenge to heart. We are proud to have 99 per cent of our children in primary school — with as many girls in our classrooms as boys. Now, we are focused on reaching kids in the Sesame generation — by expanding and improving our kindergarten classes... training teachers ... translating Early Childhood Development curricula into Arabic... and forging new partnerships in Jordan and elsewhere to help us keep our reforms on the cutting edge,” she said.
Such partnerships and friendships, according to the Queen, help “strengthen our development at home — because knowledge is that rare kind of resource that grows when it is shared.” And, in doing so, “we’ll enrich the “Three Rs” of reading, writing and arithmetic with a fourth and indispensable “R”: Respect for different cultures,” which is the basis to a progressive future, she went to add.
The Queen concluded her remarks by inviting the audience to join her in renewing their “support for the values that pave the longest street in the world,” urging them to “each add a stone,” and telling them that, “while, separately, the little pieces may not be strong, together they will reinforce each other, in a great mosaic of hope and opportunity.
Thursday, May 11, 2006