Rania Al-Abdullah

Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah (formerly Rania Al-Yasin) was born in Kuwait on August 31, 1970 to a notable Jordanian family of Palestinian origin.

She completed her primary and secondary education in Kuwait and in 1991 obtained a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the American University in Cairo.

Upon her graduation from university, Queen Rania returned to Jordan and pursued a career in banking, followed by a brief career in the field of information technology.

His Majesty King Abdullah bin Al-Hussein (then Prince) married Queen Rania on June 10, 1993. They have four children: HRH Prince Hussein, born June 28, 1994; HRH Princess Iman, born September 27, 1996; HRH Princess Salma, born September 26, 2000; and HRH Prince Hashem, born January 30, 2005.

Since her marriage to then Prince Abdullah, Queen Rania has channeled her energies behind initiatives that aim to improve the livelihood various sectors of society in Jordan and beyond.

In Jordan, Queen Rania's activities encompass issues such as education, health, youth, and the environment, among others. Her Majesty has been particularly vocal about the importance of cross cultural and interfaith dialogue towards greater understanding, tolerance and acceptance across the world. She also has a special interest in several core issues: the promotion of excellence, creativity, and innovation in education; the improvement of the quality of life of the family unit including the protection of children from violence and the promotion of early childhood development; and the development of income-generating projects and the advancement of best practices in the field of microfinance.

Promoting excellence and creativity in education
Queen Rania believes strongly that enhancing education is vital for bridging gaps, giving people hope, improving lives, and ensuring stability throughout the world. To this effect, over the past few years, Her Majesty has launched, championed, and given patronage to a number of initiatives in education and learning.

Improving Access to Early Childhood Programs and IT
Her Majesty championed the development and implementation of the Ministry of Education's (MOE) program of introducing a national early childhood development program and curriculum in Jordan. Queen Rania has also been a strong supporter of a nationwide program to introduce computers and information technology into schools across Jordan.

Raising the Bar
In October 2005, Her Majesty initiated, in partnership with the MOE, an annual teacher award, known as the Queen Rania Al-Abdullah Award for Excellence in Education, aimed at setting national standards of excellence in teaching, and celebrating, encouraging and honoring those who achieve them.

Preparing Youth for the Workplace
Queen Rania believes that an essential aspect of education is to equip youth with the necessary skills that enable them to perform well in the workplace. She is a strong supporter of INJAZwhich was established by Save the Children in 1999 and launched as a Jordanian non-profit organization by Her Majesty Queen Rania in 2001. INJAZ aims to build the skills of Jordan's future work force and enhance competitive adaptability in the global marketplace. Designed for youth between 14 and 24 years of age, INJAZ training courses develop leadership capacity and familiarize students with financial issues and the needs of the local market. The program works in cooperation with private sector volunteers who teach the INJAZ training courses.

In May 2004, Her Majesty hosted the first joint annual meeting for the advisory council and board of directors of World Links Arab Region (WLAR) - a program which aims to improve educational outcomes, economic opportunities, and mutual global understanding for youth in developing countries through the use of technology and the Internet.

Providing a Well-Rounded Education
Queen Rania is establishing the first hands-on children's museum in the Kingdom with the mission to create interactive learning experiences that have the power to encourage and nurture lifelong learning for children and their families.

Improving the quality of life of the family unit
In 1998, Queen Rania oversaw the launching of Jordan River Foundation's Child Safety Program, which aims to comprehensively address the immediate needs for protecting children at risk of abuse and to adopt a long-term campaign to increase public awareness about violence against children. "Dar Al-Aman," the child safety center, which is the first of its kind in the Arab region, became operational in August 2000, offering protection and rehabilitation to abused and neglected children and counsel to their families. In 2005, JRF opened the Queen Rania Family and Child Center which promotes positive, hands-on training for parents and provide facilities to encourage constructive and educational activities for children.

Queen Rania heads the National Council for Family Affairs, which was established by a royal decree in September 2001 to contribute to improving the quality of life of all Jordanian families. The council aims to ensure the right policy environment to support the development of family protection and unity and to identify and implement mechanisms for increased coordination between Jordanian public institutions and civil society organizations working in the field of family affairs. It also collects data and information, contributes to policy developments, and monitors and shares information on the well-being of children and families.

The council's establishment as an umbrella organization came as a fruition of concrete national efforts to promote the well-being of Jordanian families. The National Team for Family Safety, which is chaired by Her Majesty, had been set up in 2000 to safeguard women and children in particular from domestic violence and abuse, and to establish a unified policy on preventing, managing, and treating cases of abuse. The Queen also headed the National Team for Early Childhood Development, founded in 2000 to draw up a national strategy to comprehensively tackle the issue of Early Childhood Development in Jordan.

In March 2000, Queen Rania was appointed by the Jordanian Government to chair the Royal Commission on Human Rights.

Encouraging income-generation and microfinance
In 1995, Queen Rania established the Jordan River Foundation (JRF), a non-governmental organization working at the grassroots level to motivate low-income Jordanian families to participate in microfinance and income-generating initiatives. The foundation's projects include Jordan River Designs, Wadi Al-Rayan, and Bani Hamida. These initiatives not only assist women in creating additional sources of income to support their families, but are also designed to empower women to become decision-makers within their family unit and to be skilled contributors to the Jordanian economy. Additionally, these projects have contributed to the revival of a heritage of craft production and tribal rug-weaving in Jordan.

In 1998, under the direction of Queen Rania, the Jordan River Foundation embarked on a project to deliver non-financial business support and training to microentrepreneurs in order to assist them in launching, expanding, and improving their businesses. Focusing on long-term sustainability and the adoption of best practices, this initiative is an extension of the Queen's recognized involvement in microfinance in the international arena.

Encouraging the use of IT, tourism, and the preservation of Jordan's heritage
Queen Rania also actively supports the development of Jordan's tourism sector, backing initiatives such as the International Center of Excellence Project that aims to develop and maintain Jordan's hospitality services. Through her involvement, the Queen is helping to highlight Jordan as a safe, comfortable, and first-class tourism destination that offers modernity and top-notch services on the one hand, with authenticity and heritage on the other.

On the cultural front, Queen Rania supports numerous events that promote Jordan's heritage, arts, and cultural diversity. The Queen headed the Higher National Committee of the Declaration of Amman the Arab Cultural Capital 2002.

She heads the Higher National Committee of the Jordan Song Festival, and also lends annual patronage to the Jordanian Festival for the Arab Child Song.

In tribute to His Majesty the Late King Hussein, and on the first anniversary of his death, Queen Rania produced "The King's Gift", a children's book about the Late King. Proceeds of the book go to the benefit of underprivileged children across Jordan.

Working internationally
In September 2002, Queen Rania accepted an invitation by the World Economic Forum (WEF) Foundation Board to join as a member. She is also the Chairperson for the nominations committee of the Young Global Leaders at WEF. In January 2003, the Queen attended her first meeting as the only serving member from the Arab World. The Queen was invited to become a member of the Board in recognition of her concern for the state of the world and her commitment to engaging in collaborative efforts to meet the challenges of this century.

In November 2000, in recognition of her commitment to the cause of children and youth, the United Nations Children's Fund invited Queen Rania to join its Global Leadership Initiative. The Queen is working alongside other world leaders, including former South African President Nelson Mandela, in a global movement seeking to improve the welfare of children.

In 2001, Queen Rania became a member of the Board of Directors of the GAVI Fund, a non-profit organization harnessing resources that seek to provide children in the poorest countries of the world with access to life-saving vaccines. She joins world-famous personalities to call attention to the need to vaccinate every child, everywhere.

In early 2002, Queen Rania joined the Board of Directors of the International Youth Foundation, based in Baltimore, Maryland, in the United States. She joins a distinguished group of business, government, and civil society leaders from across the globe to support the work of one of the world's largest public foundations helping young people learn basic life skills and get the education, training, and opportunities they need to succeed.

In September 2003, Queen Rania accepted an invitation to join the Board of Directors of the Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA), thus formalizing a relationship of support and advocacy which began in 2000. By accepting this invitation, Queen Rania reaffirmed her belief in FINCA's vision that microfinance organizations provide a tangible means of giving large numbers of the world's poorest a real stake in their societies.

In 2005 Queen Rania was appointed as the MENA regional ambassador for Junior Achievement International.

She is Honorary President of the Arab Academy for Banking and Financial Sciences (AABFS), a pioneering institute in the region offering technical and academic training in banking and financial services. Queen Rania is also one of three Global Leaders for UNICEF.

She is Honorary President of the Arab Women Labor Affairs Committee of the Arab Labor Organization and is Honorary Chairperson of the Jordanian Chapter of Operation Smile.

Queen Rania is Patron of the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), and in October 2001 she was awarded the prestigious Italian Government-sponsored Life Achievement Award in recognition of her efforts for the international cause of osteoporosis. Queen Rania is also patron of the Arab International Women's Forum and, Ambassador for the Hans Christian Anderson Foundation promoting literacy, and in September 2005, she was awarded the Honorary Citizenship of Milan.

Her Majesty is President of the Jordan Society for Organ Donation and the Jordan Cancer Society.

On July 12, 2001, Queen Rania was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) degree from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom.

She is fluent in Arabic and English, and has a working knowledge of French.

Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2006