By Kareem Sheta
Ever since we were little, Disney has played a major role in our lives. They offer us a chance to be transported to a fantasy world, where a prince falls in love with a maid, a “street rat” marries a princess, or a mermaid transforms into human form to be with her one true love. Today’s article features a woman who also endured a magical love story with her prince only to become one of the most famous queens “in all the land”. Similar to Disney princesses, she is passionate about the help of her people. However, her achievements surpass those of any fairy tale ever made due to her resilient advocacy of various human rights making her a progressive female voice in the Arab world.
So first, how did Rania Al-Yassin become Her Majesty Rania Al-Abdullah, Queen Consort of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan? She was born on the 31st of August, 1970 in Kuwait to Palestinian parents who were eventually forced to flee the country to Amman, Jordan to escape the 1991 Gulf War. It was there that our heroine met her prince, HRH Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein, two years later at a dinner party. In a mere 10 months, the couple was betrothed and in March 1999, she was crowned queen after her father-in-law’s unfortunate death.
Since her ascension to the throne, Rania has become known for her activism work related to education, health, women’s rights, community empowerment, youth, cross-cultural dialogue and micro-finance. The following timeline depicts a few of the outstanding and ingenious achievements that she has accomplished over the years.
- In 1995, Queen Rania initiated her first venture when she established the Jordan River Foundation (JRF). Three years later, the JRF’s Child Safety Program was launched, addressing the needs of children at risk from abuse.
- In 2000, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) invited Queen Rania to join its Global Leadership Initiative, where she worked alongside other world leaders, including President Nelson Mandela, in a global movement to improve the welfare of children.
- In 2003, Queen Rania accepted an invitation to join the Board of Directors of the Foundation for International Community Assistance. Furthermore, she initiated the ‘Al-Aman Fund for the Future of Orphans’.
- In 2005, the King and Queen launched an annual teachers’ award, the “Queen Rania Award for Excellence in Education” in partnership with the Ministry of Education.
- In 2008, she started “Madrasati”, a public-private initiative aimed at refurbishing 500 of Jordan’s public schools over a five-year period. More importantly, she created her own YouTube channel aimed “to engage Western viewers in a discussion about their perceptions of the Arab world.”
- In 2009, she became Honorary Global Chair of the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) and co-founded the “1GOAL: Education for All” campaign.
In addition to all these astounding milestones, she spread the effect of Injaz Al-Arab in the Arab world, the partnership with the Foundation for International Community Assistance, founding of the Queen Rania Scholarship Program andThe Arab Sustainability Leadership Group (also known as The ASLG) in 2008,
By this point, you may be wondering, “Okay we get it she’s awesome a few lines will suffice.” However, these are figuratively just a few grains in an endless beach full of sand.
There is no better to way to conclude this article than with a final message from the queen herself. She writes on her site, “I just wake up and feel like a regular person. At the end of the day, you are living your life for the people that you represent. It’s an honor and a privilege to have that chance to make a difference—a qualitative difference in people’s lives—and it’s my responsibility to make the most out of that opportunity.”