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Thursday, June 5, 2003

The London Business School

Queen Rania calls on international businesses to play an active role in shaping a positive future for the Middle East

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department - Amman) As the Middle East and the world stand at a crossroads, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah stressed the importance of rebuilding trust in a region that is faced with a real opportunity for reform and development.

“The impetus for peace, democracy, and human development has never been greater. But at the same time, the stakes of failure have probably never been higher. Expectations are running high, but trust is in short supply,”

Queen Rania said in a videotaped speech addressing an audience of more than 120 students, alumni, and faculty of the London Business School (LBS).

The Queen, speaking for the first time after the war on Iraq, called on the international community to prove its equal commitment – not only to Iraq, but to the region as a whole.

Queen Rania’s speech coincided with the Aqaba summit that brought together for the first time U.S. president George W. Bush and Palestinian and Israeli Prime Ministers Mahmoud Abbas and Ariel Sharon for talks on the roadmap to Middle East peace.

Speaking on the occasion of Middle East Day, Queen Rania emphasized that citizens must have a voice in the decisions affecting their daily lives, saying that “young people deserve the dignity, liberty and prosperity to which they aspire.”

Queen Rania added that in order to achieve peace and democracy in the region, nations need to invest in their people. “I believe these kinds of investments will generate a real return – not just in financial capital, but in human capital as well. And that is the kind of return that will help us build our bottom lines together – a bottom line we can measure not only in Euros, dollars, or dinars … but in the priceless currency of democracy, hope and peace,” said Queen Rania.

The Queen pointed to Jordan’s efforts geared towards investing heavily in people and building a business culture that values excellence, innovation and entrepreneurship while striving to build global partnerships, and integrate the economy into the global market.

Queen Rania called on international businesses to play an active role in shaping a positive future for the Middle East through the development of networks of commerce, communication, respect and trust. “…What is good for society is good for business…and that wealth depends not just on profitability but on social responsibility….Middle Eastern countries need global businesses’ energy and expertise – not just the infusion of your talent or money…but your help in developing our own local talents and building our own capacity” Queen Rania said.

The Middle East Day is organized annually by the London Business School Middle East Regional Advisory Board chaired by Mr. Saeb Eigner, Governor of LBS. The Board includes, among other prominent Arab members, His Royal Highness Prince Faisal Bin Al-Hussein and Mr. Amer Dabbagh, Chairman of STARS Foundation. Previous guest speakers at the Middle East Day include His Majesty the late King Hussein and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.