Queen Rania tours cross cultural center in Spain, commits to promote contemporary Jordanian culture

October 19, 2008

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department – Madrid) While in Spain, on Saturday, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah toured a Spanish cultural center dedicated to breaking down stereotypes of the Arab world, and visited a famous Picasso anti-war exhibition to emphasize the need for peace.

 Queen Rania, who is accompanying His Majesty King Abdullah on a state visit to Spain and Latin America, was joined by Her Royal Highness Princess Noor Hamzah. Their first stop of the day was to Casa Árabe, a Spanish institution dedicated to the promotion of cultural Muslim affairs and fostering dialogue between Eastern and Western cultures. During their meeting with the center’s Director Mariah Kheymeh, and the director of Middle Eastern Affairs in the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as key staff members, Queen Rania commended the center’s role in promoting contemporary Arab culture and working to break down stereotypes about the Muslim world. The Queen stressed the importance of dialogue between nations and peoples and warned that those who do not feel integrated or accepted by the global community are at risk of alienation. Casa Árabe programs are implemented throughout the world, especially in the Middle East, Europe and South America. They promote cultural aspects by highlighting artists, speakers and Arab cinema. The center also provides Arabic courses and facilitates exchanges with the Arab world. As a follow up to Queen Rania’s visit, Kheymeh said that within the year they plan to form a joint committee to promote Jordanian contemporary culture and will explore the possibility of organizing exchanges with Jordanian institutions. While at the center, the Queen toured a special exhibit that highlights the progress of Iraq under the reign of King Faisal II, a member of the Royal Hashemite Family who was assassinated in the 1950s. “City of Mirages: Baghdad from Wright to Venturi” shows many models of architectural structures that were commissioned in Baghdad under his reign. Also on Saturday, Queen Rania and Princess Noor visited the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia to view Picasso’s famous El Guernica Exhibit, where she was greeted by hundreds of adoring fans. Taking time to greet many of the tourists, sign autographs, and converse briefly, the Queen then proceeded to the exhibition hall. Queen Rania, who was visibly moved by the painting’s sentiment, repeated her pro-peace stance saying that the painting is a symbol of the destruction and devastation caused by war. Her Majesty has utilized many platforms around the world to repeat this message, noting the heartbreaking toll that is mostly reaped by women and children in war torn countries like Palestine and Iraq among many others. Guernica epitomizes the tragedies of war and the suffering war inflicts upon individuals.