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Old 02-07-2005, 12:33 AM
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Part 2:

Ed Chamberlin: Can you tell us about your efforts to preserve and
encourage Jordan's cultural heritage?

Queen Rania: Nurturing and preserving our cultural and artistic heritage is one of our most important national responsibilities. We have an obligation to protect our historical legacy and to leave our children their birthright of a strong and vibrant culture. Our arts and culture, our crafts and colour; this is what makes ours, and every culture, unique and precious. This is what we must preserve for generations as yet unborn. In the same way, we want to preserve our natural resources and are proud of our highly successful
ecotourism reserves, such as Wadi Dana and Wadi Mujib. And, of course, in the short term, we are anxious to encourage tourism for practical reasons as well. Responsible tourism, devoted to preserving and protecting our pristine natural areas, creates jobs and opportunities, while at the same time introducing welcome guests to the beauties of our land. This is the kind of win-win economic development that I support wholeheartedly. Your readers might be surprised to know about the potential for ecotourism in Jordan. We are working hard to save our natural environment. The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) is active in the development of nature reserves and sustainable development projects, which encourage an enlightened approach to conservation. In the Ajloun area, for example, visitors can visit Roman ruins and a spectacular forested area, where many plant and
animal species, once threatened with extinction, now flourish. And that is just the beginning of our commitment to nature, because we have established over 1,000 nature conservations clubs for young people in schools throughout Jordan. We are looking toward the future, fostering an awareness and love of nature in our young people.

Ed Chamberlin: How do you see Jordan's role in the world? What message do you think Jordan has for the world?

Queen Rania: I believe that Jordan has a unique role to play in this troubled world. We have always enjoyed good relationships with a variety of nations with diverse viewpoints. This is part of our historical heritage and also is an example of the legacy of statesmanship left to us by the late King Hussein.
My husband and I are doing our best to continue that tradition and ensure that Jordan remains a bridge and conduit for encouraging international and inter-religious dialogue. Jordan has a long and proud tradition of promoting tolerance and coexistence between different cultures, religions and nations. We are also working hard to eliminate the kinds of conditions and misunderstandings that sometimes can lead to the growth of hatred or extremism. There is no question; Jordan has its roots and its future in the Arab and Islamic World. These are our antecedents and this is our culture.
Our traditions give us stability in a confusing world and our faith gives us models for behaving with respect and integrity. But this is not a limiting vision. On the contrary, this stability gives us the strength to reach out, with respect, to all other nations. It is so important that we learn not to categorise or stereotype regions or nations. I believe that, more than ever, dialogue and mutual respect are the key elements in our shared global future. Deep down, we all share the same values. We all strive for a better life
for ourselves and, especially, for our children. We all hope to see an end to war. I hope, in my own way, I can help to express that message and from the Arab and Islamic peoples to the world.


Three hours drive south of Amman

Jordan's best-known tourist attraction, this UNESCO World Heritage
site, was home to the Nabataens, an Arab people who settled there
over 2,000 years ago. Its spectacular setting inside a narrow desert
gorge attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists each year. Video
cameras too – the final sequence of "Indiana Jones and the Last
Crusade" was filmed there.

Two hours drive south of Amman What?
This nature reserve has been inhabited since 4,000BC and today is
protected by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN).
It is composed of breathtaking valleys and mountains, the
archaeological ruins of Feinan and the quite, charming village of
Dana. It is also a great place to see some wildlife, with 600 species
of plants, 37 species of mammals and 190 species of birds found in
the area.

On the edge of the Red Sea in the Gulf of Aqaba.

Featuring beautiful, clean beaches and crystalline water, Aqaba is a
great place to relax, or swim, water-ski and paraglide for the more
active. Places of interest include the Mameluk Fort, a former
crusader's castle; the excavation site of Alya, where city walls,
towers, a mosque and baths have been uncovered; and the site of the
oldest church in the world, dating back to the third century AD.

On the east coast of the Red Sea

This nature reserve is located in the Wadi Mujib gorge, which varies
in elevation from 410m below sea-level to 900m above. This huge range
has resulted in magnificent biodiversity. The endangered, horned ibex
(above) and big-eared cat, the Caracal, are some of the more
beautiful animals that inhabit this area.

In the sprawling pine forests of the Ajloun-Dibbine area in northern
Jordan, 73km north of Amman.

Ajloun Castle was originally built in 1184 to ward off crusaders, who
had already occupied south Jordan. It is one of the best examples of
Arab military architecture. The area is now the subject of an
ecotourism project, designed to protect not only the castle, but also
the pine forest, which is the southernmost in the world.

from: British Airways magazine "Impressions, September 2004
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Old 02-07-2005, 07:42 PM
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Al-Ahram Weekly Interview

Focused on the issues

Queen Rania Al-Abdallah of Jordan has devoted much of her time and effort to championing humanitarian and social causes locally, regionally, and internationally. A mother of three and the youngest Queen in the world, she has paid special attention to advancing the status of women in Jordan and the Arab World. She spoke to Dahlia Hammouda about the upcoming Arab Women's Summit that Jordan is hosting on 3 and 4 November -- her expectation for the event, the challenges facing its work and her hopes for the future

What will the agenda for next week's Arab Women's Summit be?
The summit will bring together figures committed to the advancement of women across the Arab World, to openly discuss the challenges and aspirations of women in the region in order to further activate their role in the sustainable development of their communities. This includes first ladies from the Arab World, representatives of women's movements, non-governmental organisations as well as some key international figures.
The summit also aims to coordinate Arab efforts towards ensuring equality between men and women in the Arab community. A strategy and an implementable action plan for the next two years will also be developed to enhance women's political participation and contribution to the economic development of their countries.
A critical part of the discussion will focus on issues that have been raised by the 2002 UNDP Arab Human Development Report. The report acknowledges the progress achieved in human development in the Arab world, but also stresses that much still needs to be done to enable women to capitalise on their capabilities. It draws our attention to the fact that the basis of good governance lies in the promotion of human rights and the protection of human freedoms.

We understand the summit will be witnessing the launch of the Arab Women's Organisation, provided a certain number of countries ratify its creation. What is standing in the way of securing these signatures?
I wouldn't say there is anything standing in the way. However, establishing a new organisation of such impact and weight, with a membership of 22 Arab countries, requires time and effort. It has to be an open process whereby we discuss the various issues and ideas, and come to agreement on them.
I believe it is just a matter of time until we witness the actual creation of this organisation.

What does Your Majesty expect the organisation's most vital aims will be?
To empower our societies, we need to empower our women. We therefore have an important role to play in unifying Arab and international perceptions on women's issues in order to promote their status, develop their capacities and empower them to play an efficient role in nation building.
The organisation will help in placing women's issues at the forefront of the agenda of the international community and the Arab world in order to upgrade women's conditions at all levels and in all aspects of life. The organisation could work on further improving women's skills to encourage them to actively participate in the economic development process. The organisation can also provide information through professional research on key issues relevant to the needs of Arab women.

Will acquiring financial support for the work of the Arab Women's Organisation be a matter of concern?
As with any new organisation, securing financial support can be a challenge. However, due to the importance of such an organisation, the likelihood is high that it will succeed in generating the financial and technical assistance necessary to grow into an independent, active and sustainable organisation.

What are your thoughts on the progress of Arab women in the past few years, particularly women in Jordan?
Arab women have made tremendous progress in the past few years, and this has been most evident in the field of education. As the Arab Human Development Report states, women's literacy rates have expanded threefold since 1970, and female primary and secondary enrollment rates have more than doubled.
A lot of effort has also been exerted to improve the lives of women in Jordan, especially women living in less privileged areas. The progress being made in this field is an accomplishment. In many areas across the kingdom, women are not only feeling the need to take part in the economic development process, but they are making real change on the ground.
I have been fortunate enough to witness this first hand, where I have visited a lot of centres that have been set up to provide women with training on how to establish their own businesses and provide them with work opportunities. However, there is still much to be done to increase women's participation in different fields of life and in different areas of nation building. Women continue to be a minority in the workforce. There are still some laws that discriminate against them, and certain cultural and social perceptions still work against them. We have some real issues and challenges to deal with.
The summit will focus on some of these issues and discuss them in an open manner.

Al-Ahram Weekly 2002
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Old 02-09-2005, 05:51 PM
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Queen Rania volunteers at INJAZ class

AMMAN (JT) — Around 30 students from different parts of the Kingdom
were overwhelmed to find that their volunteer teacher for the day was
Her Majesty Queen Rania.

Teaching a class of ninth graders, the Queen highlighted the
qualities of a good leader, most importantly the significance of
utilizing these skills to effect positive change and development in

This was illustrated through a case study that was reviewed by the
students, followed by an interactive discussion with the
participation of INJAZ co-volunteer Linda Qarous from the private

Students from 15 government schools from Amman, Irbid, and Zarqa
attending Tuesday's INJAZ class at Queen Zein Al Sharaf School were
inspired and encouraged by Queen Rania's interest in issues and
active participation in the dialogue.

The class discussed how a successful leader should possess and uphold
the virtues of honesty, modesty and delegation of responsibility, and
capitalise on experts in the field in order to bring about positive

The case study showcased how a chemical plant affected a nearby
agricultural village and its inhabitants. The students split up into
groups to come up with solutions to the problem. During the
discussion, Queen Rania noted that all aspects of the problem need to
be studied and thoroughly addressed while making citizens aware of
the issue in order to lobby for change in a positive and effective

Underlining that the approach should be objective, the Queen
discussed the solutions to the problem presented by the students,
noting that individuals have a major role in making their voices
heard, based on concrete knowledge and raising awareness on the

"A good leader controls and contains the problem, and is able to turn
the negative aspects to achieve positive change for the better,"
Queen Rania told the class, adding "an obstacle or problem should be
our incentive to find solutions and improve any situation."

Queen Rania said the problem-solving approach adopted in Tuesday's
class could be applied to any situation, citing as an example the
issue of the group that was planning subversive acts in the Kingdom.
She stressed that citizens' awareness of preserving the country's
stability and security reflected their loyalty to the country.

The Queen noted that Jordanians demonstrated they were sharing the
responsibility together with officials and security forces to abort
any plans that could undermine the country's and citizens' best

The Economic Opportunities for Jordanian Youth Program (INJAZ), the
country's first initiative aimed at building the skills of Jordan's
future workforce to help the economy compete globally, was initiated
in 1999 and launched as a Jordanian nonprofit organisation by Queen
Rania in 2001. Supported by 60 private sector companies and the US
Agency for International Development (USAID), INJAZ operates in
Amman, Zarqa, Irbid, Maan, Tafileh and Aqaba, serving Ministry of
Education, UNRWA and military schools. The initiative provides
learning experiences for young people aged between 14 to 24 to
increase their economic opportunities and empowering Jordanian youth
to realise their dreams

Reaching 16,701 students a semester, private sector volunteers serve
as role models giving 15 hours of their time to work with a class of
25 students based on the participatory learning approach, which
fosters creative thinking, critical problem-solving and interpersonal
communication skills to help students develop life skills and gain an
understanding of business and economics.

The Queen joined students in previous sessions organised by INJAZ
bringing together students from different parts of the Kingdom with
officials, allowing youth to take an active role in issues of concern
to the country at large.

With over 60 per cent of the population under the age of 25, Queen
Rania is active in promoting a better understanding of the needs of
young people and the means to address them. She supports initiatives
to promote communication and dialogue among young people and with the
nation's decision makers, underlining "youth are the tools of change
and we must reap the benefits of their contributions."

April 2004
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Old 02-09-2005, 05:54 PM
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Inspiring Speech

Keynote Address Delivered by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah

La Roche College

2002 Commencement

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
May 4, 2002

Monsignor Kerr …
Members of the Faculty …
Parents, Friends …
and Graduates of the Class of 2002:

Good morning, and thank you for such a warm welcome. Monsignor Kerr, I thank you and the faculty for this honorary degree. To me, it is a very real honor. Because, I know that this degree is not a piece of paper about something I did. Instead, it is a "welcome letter" to an international community … a community of La Roche friends and alumni around the world … a community of men and women who are really living the message of Pacem in Terris…Peace on earth…through their professional lives and their public service. And I'm very proud to be counted as one among you.
But we are really here to celebrate these graduating students. Graduates, no one knows better than you, the hard work and many hours that led to this day. Gandhi called students "searchers." I congratulate you on searching and researching your way through all the obstacles, to cross the finish line today.
Monsignor, I know that you and the faculty must be very proud of today's graduates. Your own talent and hard work shines through their achievements.
And, everyone: please, join me in honoring the most important people in our gathering – the ones whose love and support helped make this day happen – the mothers and fathers and families of the graduating class.
… Let me tell you … as a mother of three children under the age of eight, I look at you parents as proof that survival is possible!
But I also look at you students, and remember just how it felt to be in your shoes.
Graduation is a time to think back with relief … and forward, with impatience. You've cracked the books. You've passed the exams. You studied, debated, listened, learned. More importantly, you have learned the essential modern day art of subsisting on pizza alone.
Your education has given you wings. Now, you are set to soar – searching out a new future of promise…
But, the flight you make is not for yours' alone. Like Noah's dove, each of you flies out into a waiting world, carrying with you great hopes … the hopes of families, of communities, of countries, of humankind.
In that ancient story of the flood … shared by so many faiths … Noah's dove carried an olive branch, a universal symbol of peace. It was his gift to those who waited for a sign of hope for a better world.
You, too, are carrying something on which many people depend … a branch of hope with three off-shoots: … knowledge, character and compassion.

The Gift of Knowledge

The first off-shoot of your La Roche education is knowledge. Possess it, and you possess the key to a world of ability and innovation – in business, in healthcare, in technology, in teaching. The analytical skills and information you have learned here will help you create a future for yourselves … and many others. Through your knowledge and talent, you will help nations bloom.
Today, countries across the globe are realizing that to succeed, we must invest in education and research. For, like the living leaf, our knowledge must keep growing – reaching more people; promising a better future. Yet today, over 120 million children around the world never even get the chance to go to school, and millions more receive poor educations that don't equip them to compete.
I was always taught that from those to whom much is given, much is expected. We who have had good educations have a special ability to give back. We can do something about the world's grievances … and we must.
But if we are to succeed, knowledge of things is not enough. In college, surrounded by people of different backgrounds and experiences, you have acquired the most noteworthy kind of knowledge … the knowledge of people. Here at La Roche, you have had the special opportunity to interact closely with students from around the world. You've experienced for yourselves how interconnected this world is. You have learned how much we have in common … the values we share … the positive results of teamwork and the team spirit.

The Gift of Character

This kind of knowledge, this deep knowledge about the nature of humanity, leads to the second off-shoot of your education, and that is character. The character to respect the dignity of every human being – starting with yourself. To honor your personal ideals: your family and national heritage, even as you reach out to a wider world.
In a world of "many," the real lesson of life is, "we are one." This lesson is especially important at a time when those who harp on differences would divide and separate us. I believe we must keep our doors – and schools – and minds – open, to share and build on our common humanity.
In fact, I suspect that after your experiences here, you probably could teach many global policy-makers a thing or two. You know the dangers of a "do it my way or no way" mentality. You know the importance of putting oneself in someone elses' place and seeing through his … or her … eyes.
Indeed, this understanding is part of the American way of life at its best … which respects the individuality that makes all people different, and at the same time, makes us fundamentally, humanly, the same.
Character grows out of everyday actions. No one is born a Mother Teresa. We learn as we go, reaching out to those we live and work with. And when we do, we grow a spirit of community that extends beyond our personal or national boundaries.
I know that just a few months ago, a Pittsburgh-area volunteer fire company named a La Roche student its "Firefighter of the Year." Azeh Atout, who was introduced, became the first woman to win this award – a measure of her neighbors' respect for her character and service. I'm proud to say that she is one of 25 Jordanians participating in the Pacem in Terris program.
I am quite sure that Azeh never dreamed she would someday be honored by America firefighters! And this in a year when America's firefighters showed such extraordinary character themselves on September 11.
We can't always know what life will ask of us, and what challenges lie ahead. However much we learn, however much we experience, we face the unexpected. It is character that carries us through.

The Gift of Compassion

Knowledge of the humanity we share with others, and having the character to act on that knowledge, lead naturally to a third off-shoot of your education at La Roche – compassion.
In this Ark that is the Earth, we do not sail alone. Today, as I look at you, I carry with me the haunting faces of the young people I have been with recently, the victims of the terrible crisis in the Middle East. Their despair calls out to all of us.
Our world needs peace, but it cannot be a peace built on hatred and fear. It must be built on justice and mutual understanding. In the words of Martin Luther King, Junior: "we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream."
But there is another, perhaps more compelling reason for our involvement, and that is our self-respect. As human beings, we are called on to take personal responsibility for the well-being of all life. The great faiths, everywhere, recognize this. In the historic encyclical that gave its name to the Pacem in Terris Institute, Pope John the 23rd prayed that the people of the earth might overcome the barriers that divide, cherish the bonds of mutual charity, and become as brothers. My faith, Islam, teaches peace, forgiveness and acceptance. The Koran tells us that to save even one innocent person is to save all humankind. "The Compassionate" is one of the names of God.
Today, everyone can make a difference, and everyone must try. We have no time to waste. We cannot afford to lose another generation to violence and despair. As we reach out for the benefits of 21st Century technology and innovation, we have to fortify our reservoirs of mutual understanding and build great rivers of justice.
It's time to act. My husband, His Majesty King Abdullah, always says: We should exert efforts, not only for the benefit of the generations to come, but for the benefit of our generation.
Tonight, another class of graduates will leave La Roche. The last bags will be packed, the dorms will close, and you will head out into the world.
Some of you will help your homelands find solutions to conflict. Others will find yourselves healing the wounds of ethnic violence. But I know many of you may return to peaceful homes and neighborhoods. You'll start new jobs and families. Maybe you'll feel that your life is just "ordinary."
But no life is ordinary. It takes all of us to build a better world. And each of you have something important to contribute. Through your knowledge, your character, and your compassion, you can make Pacem in Terris – Peace on Earth – real for millions. Take these gifts with you when you leave today, plant them in your native soils, cultivate them as part of your lives … and I guarantee you, you will transform the world.

Congratulations! And thank you very much.
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Old 02-09-2005, 06:31 PM
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Thank you very much for the articles ,balqis. This thread was a great idea.
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Old 02-17-2005, 01:14 AM
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Queen Rania: Heir Jordan; Harpers Bazaar, June 2000

Beautiful photo and interesting article about QR's life.
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Old 02-17-2005, 01:42 AM
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Article On Rania won't transfer so you can read so I hope you can bear with my typing.....


The world's youngest queen is a Palestinian in an ethnically divided country, a modern woman in an ancient role

It was a spectacle worthy of "A Thousand and One Nights." Jordanians from every corner of the country flooded Amman to line up along the flower-strewn, 12 mile route that snaked through the capital city. Troops on camel back appeared as mirages through the shimmering dust their mounts churned up. Tribal bedouins in full desert dress followed, eager to pay their respects. They had all come to celebrate the ascension of King Abdullah II to the throne, which he unexpectedly inherited after the death of his father, King Hussein, four months earlier. But as Abdullah, wearing a ceremonial uniform replete with gold braid and a chestful of medals, stood waving to his cheering subjects from the back of a convertible, it was the radiant woman at his side, Rania, who, at 28 was about to become the world's youngest queen who was the very picture of a monarch: beautiful, elegant, regal, her model's figure shown off to perfection in a traditional silk thaub gown the color of desert sand. Her $2 million diamond-encrusted tiara flashed in the June sun.

Only those closest to Rania knew the tiara was borrowed goods, lent by her sister-in-law, Princess Haya. "Why would I spend a vast amount of money on something I will not wear very often?" explained Rania at the time. And when Throne Day finally wound to a close, Their Majesties Abdullah and Rania retreated not to one of the eight palaces scattered around the capital but to their four-story home on the outskirts of Amman.

An ordinary house instead of a palace, a borrowed tiara? What kind of queen is this? Rania has been Queen for one year and already she is drawing comparisons to Princess Diana. Yet while Rania clearly has the photogenic looks, the glamour, and a talent to reaching out to ordinary people, she is no protocol-jarring rebel, nor is she hampered by the neuroses that tormented Diana. More significantly, Rania and her husband are not figureheads in waiting; they are the actual rulers who must now attempt to lead one of the most troubled Middle Eastern nations into the modern economy.

Although Rania is a hands-on wife and mother, with two small children and another due in September, she is fast becoming a central power broker in Jordanian political affairs. Queen Rania, in fact, has big ideas for the future of the country. She has become a champion for women's rights and child abuse causes--both taboo topics in the traditional muslim state until now. She has advocated every child be taught English so that Jordan can compete in the global market. She has lobbied to introduce computers to the classroom--in a country where many schools lack basic furniture. And with her Palestinian heritage, she has become a symbol for healing of intense ethnic divisions--Palestinians, despite the fact that they make up an estimated 65 percent of the population, are still denied many opportunities.

"The king chose as a bride someone he considers his equal," says Prince Zeid bin Raad, whose father was King Hussein's cousin and who was virtually raised with Abdullah.. "He listens to her ideas. They feed each other's intellectual curiousity. They're a perfect match, two people very comfortable together, who think along the same wavelength, who have the same kind of tempermant. He always has a twinkle in his eye and a sense of mischief. And while she has poise and dignity, she can match him in this. The have a wonderfully warm and mutually supportive relationship."
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Old 02-17-2005, 02:15 AM
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Rania: Pt. 2

Despite her regal bearings, Rania comes from relatively modest beginnings. She is the daughter of a Palestinian physician who emigrated to Kuwait in 1967 from the West Bank in search of better economic opportunity. Rania grew up with her brother and sister in a second-story apartment on Baghdad Street in Kuwait City. Her father enrolled them all in the very formal New English School, where Rania managed A's in the sciences, math, languages (she's fluent in English and speaks a passable French) but only Bs in English literature, art and music. "She was very quiet and well-behaved," recalls Linda Saba, Rania's best friend. "Our biggest crime was sneaking a transistor radio into school, which was forbidden, so we could listen to the latest pop music on the FM station during break time."

During summer vacation, Rania traveled back to the West Bank to stay in Tulkarm with her aunt and uncle, Fadwa and Khaled Yassin, a retired schoolteacher turned bookstore owner. "She played basketball and chess with my children," her uncle recalls. It was there Rania learned what it meant to be a disenfranchised Palestinian when Israeli troops frequently forced Arabs from their homes, before promptly demolishing them with bulldozers to make way for Jewish settlements.

Years later, while Rania was an undergraduate at the American University in Cairo, studying business administration, her family was forced to leave Kuwait when that country, outraged at King Hussein's decision to align himself with Sadaam Hussein during the Gulf War, expelled all Palestinians. "We were all very upset," says Dima Toukan, 30, whose dorm room was two doors down from Rania's. "We were all so scared it would become a war that would engulf the entire Middle East. We spent all the time huddled around Rania's TV set. Rania and the rest of us were alternately sobbing and consoling one another. Everybody kept trying to reach their families by phone."

Nevertheless, Rania continued her studies there, where she was a rather bookish student. "She had a couple of boyfriends, one Palestinian, one Egyptian but they were just fellow students--nothing serious, just lunch, dinner or a movie," says Toukan. "Mostly, she just went out with a group of friends." Toukan was surprised when Rania approached her during their senior year suggesting they become models. "She told me some French guy from a modeling agency had asked her," recalls Toukan, who thinks they were selected because they are both 5'7"--tall for Arabic women. "But at the last minute, Rania had to back out. Her parents wouldn't let her do it."

After graduating in 1991, Rania moved to Amman, where her parents had relocated. She worked briefly in marketing for Apple Computers and then at Citibank. Then, one evening, in January of 1993, a friend from Apple invited her to a party thrown by King Abdullah's sister, Aisha. There she was introduced to the prince. Although Abdullah had a reputation as a womanizer--"How much of one?" chuckles Prince Zeid with an embarrassed smile. "Let's just say Abdullah was loved by many, er, people." The future king, however, fell hard for Rania.

KH, thrilled by his son's new romance, wanted to hasten an engagement and two months later he drove Abdullah to the apartment building where Rania lived with her parents. In front of the king, Abdullah asked Rania's parents permission to marry their daughter. In June, the couple was married. In the middle of the wedding party, one of Abdullah's army buddies parachuted into the palace garden to cut the cake with a sword and laife was never the same for either of them again.

Until last year, neither Abdullah nor Rania ever knew they would be thrust into the roles of king and queen of Jordan. Although Abdullah is the eldest son of KH, he had been removed from the royal line of succession at the age of three, when KH named Abdullah's uncle, Hassan, Crown Prince (This move was reportedly intended to ensure that Jordan would not be ruled by a small boy in the event KH was assassinated). It was only two weeks before KH's death that he switched the succession back to Abdullah. Virtually without warning, Abdullah--and to a signficant extent, Rania--were handed responsibility for all of Jordan.

It's not a small jobb, even by the standards of heads of state. Jordan is hobbled by a $7 billion international debt. Studies commissioned by KA last year found that while the economy is one of the smallest and poorest in the Middle East, it is supported by only 15% of the workforce because so many work for the huge and bloated government bureacracy. Thirty percent of Jordanians live in abject poverty, which is not surprising as 1 in 3 is unemployed. Living conditions are made worse by perenially acute water shortages that have been exacerbated by a two year drought. In Amman, homes receive water only 2-3 times per week. Outside the capital, food production-always low as only 4 percent of the land is arid--has been devastated.
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Old 02-17-2005, 02:42 AM
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Rania Article--Pt. 3

Since being crowned, the royal couple has logged more frequent flier miles than any US Secretary of State to meet with world leaders in a quest for debt relief and investment aid. Heads of state can be moved by peoples' suffering, says Hassan Abu-Nimah, Jordan's ambassador to the UN in New York, particularly when the emissaries are as charming, personable and charismatic as the king and queen. "Their majesties receive a lot of support and sympathy and promises of aid," he says. "But we have received very little in the way of tangible results. This is politics." With tangible aid still negligible, the kind and queen are left to solve their country's problems with their own limited means.

Rania is as driven and goal-directed as her husband (who often works 14-16 hour days). While she frequently surprises interlocutors with the depth of her knowledge on topics ranging from osteoporosis, organ donation and blood diseases to global economics and evolving business practices, a significant amount of the queen's work involves meeting with her subjects and listening to their many problems.. At least once per month, she visits schools, health care centers and individual homes throughout the country. When she can, she tries to direct needed medical equipment to a desperate hospital or scare up supplies for a deprived classroom.

The king and queen's limestone house, covered in vivid pink and purple bougainvillea, in the Hummar district of Amman, is not far from the burial shrine of Queen Alia. Perched on a hill overlooking the capital, the house was a wedding gift from KH. On a clear day, you can see the glittering gold cupola of the Dome of the Rock Mosque and the white limestone roofs of Old Jerusalem. The residence is not large, and is is considerably less ostentatious than many homes in the city. Even security is subtle, with military guards seemingly confined to the guardhouse at the foot of the long drive. Only the royal standard, flying out front, sets it apart.

When their regal duties are over for the day, Rania and Abdullah opt for a quiet dinner at home, their sanctuary. The airy house is furnished with the Queen's preferred neutrals: white, beige and pastel blue, shades that offer the eye a respite from the searing desert sun. Sharing space with formal English chairs and tables, inlaid with mother of pearl, are cozy, plump cushioned Western sofas. That it is first and foremost a family home with children is evidenced by the toys strewn around the small, lush garden and beside the pool. There is a swing set, popular with the towheaded Princess Iman, and a trampoline, a birthday gift to Prince Hussein from his grandfather--who is still keenly missed. And everywhere are silver-framed family photos--of the kids being tossed in the air or nuzzled by their parents; of the king and his son, both in football jerseys, excitedly cheering on their favorite team at the Pan Arab Games last summer.

Here, it might be easy to mistake the royal couple for your average well-to-do working parents. Like many an executive mom, Rania tries very hard to be there for her children at bedtime. "I make it a point, and find comfort in tucking them into bed at night, reading their favorite stories and reciting verses to them from the Koran as they sleep," she says.

Abdullah, on the other hand, likes to unwind, dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, by cooking. "You name it, he can cook it. Steak, fish, Chinese, Japanese....He's a very good cook," says Prince Zeid. "He had to learn when living alone during various miltary training courses abroad. And he loves to whip up something for his friends."

On Fridays, the one-day Jordanian weekend, the family escapes to the royal seaside residence on the Red Sea in tiny Aqaba, an ancient city once preferred by Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Here, they water-ski, ride motorbikes into the desert, or the queen jogs on the beach. "It's part of my job,: says Rania " to make sure his Majesty gets some peace and tiem off."

And what about Rania's peace and time off? A queen's work apparently is never done.

Written for Harper's Bazaar by Jan Goodwin
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Old 02-17-2005, 03:23 AM
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Photo from Harpers Bazaar article

Rania meets the people of Jordan.
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Old 02-17-2005, 03:32 AM
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Jewel in the Crown, "O" Magazine excerpts, Aug, 2001

Queen Rania, August 2001 for "O" magazine profile
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Old 02-17-2005, 04:23 AM
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"O" Profile Excerpts

Excerpts from this great article (sorry, hands are getting tired....highly recommend though)

"Jewel in the Crown" by Amy Wilentz

Queen Rania's coronation was never meant to be. When she married Prince Abdullah at age 22, Rania Al-Yasin was simply one prince among many....and KH's dull and courtly brother, Hassan, was Crown Prince.

In the six years between their marriage and KH's death, Rania and Abdullah were just attractive young royals about Amman. They were peripheral to Amman's gossip, not particularly notable except that Abdullah, an army man who loved fast cars and flying had stopped his famous womanizing and Rania was very, very pretty. And now, they were very married. Almost a year to the day after their wedding, their first child whom they named for his grandfather was born. King Husssein loved baby Hussein, eldest son of his eldest son.

But on his deathbed, KH changed succession and now KA and QR are the rulers of Jordan.

"It was a big shock to me," says QR, opening her wide eyes wider. "First of all, to lose the King who we all loved very much and then, the other thing." The elegant new queen was correctly restrained yet charming during the coronation. She looked like a royal Arab fantasy in her traditional embroidered dress. (Although Queen Noor retains her title, it is more of an affectionate honorific than official designation. Noor's son, Prince Hamzah, is next in line for the throne, though that could change as Prince Hussein matures).

Two years later, QR has traveled the planet: "It sounds like a fairytale but in fact it is not a fairytale," she says, as she recrosses her long legs and adjusts the collar of her blouse as she sits in her plush Washington hotel suite.

"Being a queen is overrated. It is more like running a big and very serious business." Sme smiles a wide smile. QR likes business and she is very, very serious.

It is odd how like Diana she is--tall, young, thin, fashionable and beautiful. And, like Diana, QR is a woman in transition. But luckily for her, QR seems to have stepped into the royal slippers without experiencing the painful struggle for self esteem Diana endured. Rania is determindly untragic.

Today, the woman who borrowed a tiara for her coronation, wears only a simple gold wedding band, no diamond. "She was well brought up," says a friend. "She has a good head on her shoulders; she doesn't kid around."

Rania explains her life thus: "I never think of my life as being normal--and then becoming queen. Your life, your character shouldn't change.Being a queen is a responsibility. It's not about putting on a costume." She sits on the edge of a couch wearing a pastel striped silk shirt with tiny sequins in the narrowest of the stripes, a pale moss colored pantsuit, and very high heeled slingback shoes. Jimmy Choo? Gucci? Prada? in a shade that matches her suit and handbag (I'm not obsessed with clothes," the queen says, "but I do understand 'retail therapy'). Her clothing may be chic but it is also modest as she is Queen of a muslim country.

"The royal fantasy is for people on the outside," she says, "When I married my husband, I knew there would be a public aspect to my life.The point is to define boundaries between public and private. You decide how much time you want to devote to your family and, at the end of the day, I believe all you have is family."

She has brought Princess Salma, whom she is still nursing, with her. "I plan my schedule around Salma every three hours. If you decide this is what you want to do, you can do it." It could be her personal mantra.

This is an informal royal couple who live in a simple house, not a palace. "this is where we are most comfortable and I like my husband to be relaxed when he gets home from his long days, and this is an environment where he can relax and reflect on new ideas. It's home."

"I'm like any professional working woman, the biggest challenge is to do both things at the same time." Nonetheless, she is Queen and with the disturbing concerns a Queen must have. For instance, personal security.. "Of course, we take precautions but you can't really think about the dangers because it will ruin your life. I get in the car, drive to school, visit friends and we go to restaurants--security is inconspicuous. The children go to a normal school and I pick them up. If I want, I go and have lunch with friends. I do it. Security many not like it, but once you've done it, you can do it again. It is important for my husband and I to remember we have a say in how our life works."

Then there are royal duties. Last March, she traveled to Kosovo to launch a FINCA microfinance project. "it was pouring rain," says one member of her entourage. "She and her people were coming in on German helicopters out of Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. She was three months pregnant and I thought she would surely call it off. But she said it was too important. The pilots came in at a very steep angle and we all looked a little sick--but she didn't. I asked how she was feeling and she said "Oh, fine." She said when they were dating, the king took her on so many wild helicopter rides this one didn't bother her at all."

In her turquoise pantsuit and high heels, the Queen tramped through the torrential downpour and talked with women who had lost their husbands and fathers in the war with the Serbs and needed financial help. At the end of the tour, the Queen went to visit a cemetery with two women who had lost nine family members. "I watched her slog through mud slides at the graves in her fancy shoes to pray with them," says her entourage member.

Just being Rania is a lot of work. During our morning in Washington, she fed Salma, met with reporters, traveled to the capital to meet with legislators and attended a reception with hundreds of their stafffers. Although she had just flown in from California on the red eye, she was energetic, self-assured and funny and every hair was in place. She shook hands with every person and did the very difficult job of actually listening to what each was saying. She gave a short speech on micro-finance then was driven to Andrews Air Force base to meet the King and her two other children.

"That's the part of the day I'm really looking forward to," she confides. Instead of waiting indoors, she was willing to be windblown on the tarmac, awaiting the plane's descent. (Two soldiers standing nearby wondered aloud if she was a model). KA got off the plane and husband and wife greeted one another with a formal kiss on the cheek.

The king continued down the diplomatic reception line while the Queen squinted up at the door until she saw the small, bespectacled Prince Hussein and the tiny, blondish Iman who was toting a Barbie bag. They skipped and tumbled down the stairs and Rania hugged and kissed them both. Then picked up Iman, she made her way back to the diplomatic greetings with her tiny laughing daughter on her hip.
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Old 02-17-2005, 12:31 PM
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Thanks maryshawn,
Very nice one, I enjoyed reading it.
But I am sure that lots of facts in that article have changed, she's not that simple anymore.
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Old 02-18-2005, 02:05 AM
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Rania Postings in "O" and "Harpers Bazaar"

You are likely right.....still, liked reading about QR back then.....but she certainly has evolved. Love Balquis' posts!


Mary Shawn
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Old 02-18-2005, 02:06 AM
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Any articles on QR's new home? Am dying to see it or read about it and her thoughts on the move.
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Old 02-19-2005, 11:03 PM
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Compliment to Balqis

Knowing her interest in QR, I was getting rid of some magazines and 2 had articles about QR early on. I asked if she'd like them via PM. Instead of saying "sure," she suggested, most kindly, I share these articles with all instead of just her--hence, my posts on these articles. That was truly a kind, "thinking about others" suggestion on her part....and shows she is the kind of member I wish to emulate. Thinking about all of us--instead of just herself--well, I thought that was great! Just wanted you all to know this--and others have likely done same--but such ideas make this forum as wonderful as we all wanted it to be when it was reinvented!
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Old 02-20-2005, 02:55 AM
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Firstly thanks very much Mary Shawn for adding the 2 articles to this section. Queen Rania strikes me as a very practical and down-to-earth person in them. She's a Virgo, so that makes a lot of sense. She twice mentions something to the extent that her life is not a fairytale:

"The royal fantasy is for people on the outside," she says.

What do you make of that? Do we see the fairytale more and would we be shocked by the reality?

Originally Posted by maryshawn
Any articles on QR's new home? Am dying to see it or read about it and her thoughts on the move.
I would love an article to show up at the Architectural Digest, but I am not sure it would be good PR. Some would totally flip out about the "lavish lifestyle". If it is their private home then I think they should keep it private. But with this couple I think it's hard to distinguish between private and public. Even their place in Aqaba has been used for summits. But after saying all that, deep down I would love to see pics. I think it would be one home that they've built from scratch and I would love to see their taste and style. They've apparently had tiles especially made for it. A lot of work and research went into that by the person who made them apparently.
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Old 02-20-2005, 03:03 AM
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Originally Posted by maryshawn
Knowing her interest in QR, I was getting rid of some magazines and 2 had articles about QR early on. I asked if she'd like them via PM. Instead of saying "sure," she suggested, most kindly, I share these articles with all instead of just her--hence, my posts on these articles. That was truly a kind, "thinking about others" suggestion on her part....and shows she is the kind of member I wish to emulate. Thinking about all of us--instead of just herself--well, I thought that was great! Just wanted you all to know this--and others have likely done same--but such ideas make this forum as wonderful as we all wanted it to be when it was reinvented!
WOW, thank you for the wonderful compliment. I am not sure I deserve it, though. There are other members who have done as much if not more than me for this particular section. But I am truly touched by your kind words. Thank you.
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Old 02-20-2005, 01:23 PM
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New Home

You are all likely right on re: posting new photos of home.....I guess what prompted question was in a few issues of "Hello" and I'll dig them up, there were a number of lovely photos of their old home's interior along with interesting articles. In one of them, for instance, I learned, for first time, the family had been targeted by al Quaeda and barely escaped death when a speedboat loaded with explosives.....was, thankfully, caught and disaster was prevented, while KA, a pregnant QR and their children were cruising on board a yacht! Till then, I had had no idea.....How disgusting to go after the family......IMO. But I don't wish to get off topic. The photos I just loved as it showed an airy, pleasant home.....nicely decorated but clearly--as articles have made mention--geared to being "child friendly!" I'll try and post today. Mary Shawn
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Old 02-20-2005, 01:33 PM
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Royal Fantasy comment is intriguing, isn't it?

I read it as QR was trying to say she and KA work very, very hard--12-14 hour days are the norm, not the exception. So, despite pretty photos of lovely occasions, it's kind of like the late Diana saying "80% is sheer slog; 20% is fantastic" and QN saying "you wouldn't wish this job on your worst enemy unless you felt they were the right person to handle it." That was, I felt, her kudos to KA/QR as she went onto say they were the right choice--the only choice in her opinion--to handle it. But that was her opinion. Hassan seemed equally well-equipped. I have a gorgeous photo of he and his family but is 2 pages and won't fit onto scanner properly.....still, will try to post. When I read about the precarious helicopter ride, I know I would've been sick to my stomach and likely called it off or postponed. And then taking red-eye flights while still not missing a beat in her hectic schedule.....well, that doesn't seem like a fantasy....I think she is quite aware of the image Queens and royals are shown wearing gorgeous clothing but the reality is a lot of time and energy goes to fulfilling commitments, preparing for appearances and substantive speeches like the ones Balqis posted....She seems to be trying to approach it all in a practical manner while subtly addressing it is all far more than elegant attire. This is sooooo poorly phrased; does it make any sense?
Originally Posted by Balqis
Firstly thanks very much Mary Shawn for adding the 2 articles to this section. Queen Rania strikes me as a very practical and down-to-earth person in them. She's a Virgo, so that makes a lot of sense. She twice mentions something to the extent that her life is not a fairytale:

"The royal fantasy is for people on the outside," she says.

What do you make of that? Do we see the fairytale more and would we be shocked by the reality?

I would love an article to show up at the Architectural Digest, but I am not sure it would be good PR. Some would totally flip out about the "lavish lifestyle". If it is their private home then I think they should keep it private. But with this couple I think it's hard to distinguish between private and public. Even their place in Aqaba has been used for summits. But after saying all that, deep down I would love to see pics. I think it would be one home that they've built from scratch and I would love to see their taste and style. They've apparently had tiles especially made for it. A lot of work and research went into that by the person who made them apparently.

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