- Community Empowerment
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Mosaic Foundation Ninth Annual Benefit Dinner
Queen Rania urges the global community to follow the path of Sesame Street in spreading the values of knowledge, mutual understanding and respect
(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department - Washington, D.C. ) The values of understanding, knowledge, hope and respect are the cornerstone of a future of 'peace and shared progress', a future, which we must all aspire to build and enjoy. This was the focus of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah's remarks, on Tuesday, at the Mosaic Foundation Ninth Annual Benefit Dinner, in Washington, D.C., which was hosted by the wives of Arab ambassadors to the US.
The Mosaic Foundation is a charitable organization, founded by the spouses of 17 Arab ambassadors to the US, working to improve the livelihood of women and children and increase understanding of the Arab world in the United States, since its inception in 1998.
Attended by US First Lady Laura Bush, the Honorary Chair of the event, the Benefit Dinner, was held in support of Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street and other educational programs for children, which was founded thirty seven years ago.
Queen Rania began her address by praising the work of the Mosaic Foundation, as well as that of Mrs. Bush "for her lifetime of service on behalf of children, literacy and education".
She also stressed that the foundation has been instrumental not only "in lifting the lives of women and children around the world…" and "in showing how much Arab women can do, individually and collectively", but in supporting "a range of extraordinary organizations", most notably the Sesame Workshop, an institution that "is especially close" to her heart.
Drawing on her own childhood experiences, Queen Rania commended Sesame Street for its "joyful approach to learning and life", which "made an unforgettable impression" on her, one that is still with her today as she watches Hikayat Simsim, the Jordanian equivalent of the show, with her four children.
She credited the program's 35 years of success to the fact that it "has stayed in tune with times", reflecting the challenges of each country in which it is aired, while, at the same time, presenting the common values, which bind them together, irrespective of cultural differences and the language barrier.
Speaking of the Arab region as an example, Queen Rania affirmed that "Sesame programming in the Arab world also reflects our region’s culture and concerns: In the words of one Jordanian, 'it teaches children the alphabet of life by delivering messages of hope…respect and understanding'…These messages work, because the values behind them make sense in any language: That all children deserve a chance to dream and discover… to understand the world and their place in it… and to reach their highest potential."
Urging the world to follow Sesame Street's example in educating its citizens and spreading knowledge, because educated people are the driving force behind a'' global knowledge economy'', the Queen cited Jordan's efforts in the field.
"In Jordan, we have taken the education challenge to heart. We are proud to have 99 percent of our children in primary school – with as many girls in our classrooms as boys. Now, we are focused on reaching kids in the Sesame generation – by expanding and improving our kindergarten classes… training teachers … translating Early Childhood Development curricula into Arabic… and forging new partnerships in Jordan and elsewhere to help us keep our reforms on the cutting edge," she stated, drawing a round of applause from the audience.
Such partnerships and friendships, according to Queen Rania, help "strengthen our development at home – because knowledge is that rare kind of resource that grows when it is shared". And, in doing so, Queen Rania went to add, "we’ll enrich the “Three Rs” of reading, writing and arithmetic with a fourth and indispe