At San Remo Music Festival in Italy, Queen Rania rallies support for 1GOAL education campaign

February 17, 2010

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department- Italy) Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan today attended the 60th Anniversary of the San Remo Music Festival in Italy to rally support for the 1GOAL global education campaign which seeks to get 72 million out-of-school children back into the classroom in the run-up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.

During an exclusive, live interview with San Remo’s host, Antonella Clerici, Queen Rania discussed the importance of getting countries like Italy to commit to a campaign which calls on global leaders to live up to the education promises made at the United Nations Millennium Development Summit in 2000.

The 1GOAL campaign is built around this year’s World Cup, asking football fans, celebrities and world-class footballers to sign up to a virtual petition for children in Africa and the world’s poorest countries who cannot even hold a pencil. Her Majesty reiterated her commitment in front of millions of Italian music and football fans watching from home:

“The Festival in San Remo is a great opportunity for me to visit one of the greatest footballing nations and pitch 1GOAL - the global campaign for education that I founded last year with FIFA and the Global Campaign for Education,” Queen Rania said.

Following a short video about 1GOAL, Queen Rania explained the importance of giving millions of children locked into poverty the opportunity to break the cycle and live the future they deserve by giving them an education.

“As I’ve travelled the world, I’ve heard from countless children the same plea: send me to school. They don’t want charity, they want an education. And they’re right to want one, because they know it’s the only way they can climb out of poverty. It’s in the interest of national governments to focus on education, too. A more educated nation means a stronger economy, increasing GDP growth in the long term. It also makes for healthier citizens. If every child was put in school today, we’d prevent 7 million cases of HIV around the world in the next ten years,” she said.

Along with expressing her deep connection to Italy and Italians, and her appreciation for having been invited to attend the Festival, the Queen’s message was clear: “I want ALL of Italy to sign up to 1GOAL at to help make universal education a universal reality.”

Aside from being a global education advocate and a staunch supporter of children’s welfare by working with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Her Majesty has also been fighting stereotypes related to Arab women and fostering cross-cultural dialogue to promote greater understanding, tolerance and solidarity around the world.

“As migration increases, technology advances, and our societies diversify - the challenge of maintaining social harmony is greater than ever. We’re living side by side, yet too many people are pulling back instead of reaching out. We see this in the cracks that are opening up between East and West. I think this is a direct result of lack of understanding and information about each other, so wherever I can, I do my best to undo negative stereotypes, especially of the Arab and Muslim world to present my part of the world in a realistic and fair light and to engage people in discussion about their fears and suspicions, in the hope that I can allay them,” she said.

Queen Rania, who is very active with social online media tackling common misconceptions about Arabs and Muslims on Her YouTube Channel, also affirmed that: “Progress isn’t going to happen overnight, but by reaching out through a variety of mediums - YouTube, interviews and speeches – I hope to change one mind at a time.”

Also at the Festival, Her Majesty said she enjoyed listening to music, “whether it’s in the car or on my i-Pod as I jog, it seems I’m always listening to something...and with two teenagers in the house, there’s always music blaring from their rooms, which is great because they keep me up to date with all the new artists and sounds,” she stated.

With regards to her appreciation for Italian music, Her Majesty firmly asserted: “Italian music is beautiful, and how could it not be when the Italian language itself is so musical?”

“For me, “Oh Sole Mio!” interpreted by Andrea Bocelli evokes fond memories of Italy and encapsulates the essence of your beautiful country: the beauty of the Italian land, the sun, the sea and the wonderful food,” she added.

The Queen also said she enjoyed listening to Laura Pausini, the “Queen of Italian pop!” “I saw her perform at last year's FIFA award ceremony. She’s magical when singing solo, but the duet she performs with Andrea Bocelli, "Dare to Live”, is very special too. I love her soulful voice; it’s haunting,” Her Majesty recalled.

Finally, when asked what she liked most about Italy, a country which Her Majesty has visited frequently, she responded without hesitation: “What is there not to love about Italy? It’s a country of warm and friendly people, with a strong sense of hospitality, dedicated to family values and committed to improving educational opportunities for children. Then there’s the magnificent countryside, seascape and coastline; the breathtaking architecture; the style of people just going about their daily business. Most of all, I love its contradictions: it’s simple yet sophisticated, natural yet nuanced, steeped in history yet infused by modernity,” she concluded.

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