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Monday, September 19, 2005

Queen Rania participates in Clinton Global Initiative panel

Queen Rania underscores need to promote cross-cultural dialogue, stress common values of humanity

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department - Amman) Human understanding, inter-faith dialogue and tolerance as a medium through which social progress can be achieved were the core of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah’s remarks at one of the sessions of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Inaugural Meeting, on Saturday.

Participating in a panel discussion deliberating what it takes for inter-faith partnerships to form and work co-operatively on social crises, Queen Rania and other panelists put forth a number of answers/solutions aimed at fostering and promoting cross-cultural dialogue in order to counter societal misconceptions by raising awareness and creating greater understanding between the world’s nations.

Queen Rania said that this can be achieved through educating children, having leaders speak out against intolerance as well as striving to understand our basic human commonalities rather than just focus on our differences.

“We need to educate ourselves on our common values. Once we understand the common values we will then see the differences as an enriching diversity and not as a dividing antipathy,” said Queen Rania

Addressing an audience which included representatives from difference interface corporations and organizations, including non-governmental institutions, Her Majesty was one of three panelists, namely William Vendley, General Secretary of Religions for Peace/WCRP and Eboo Patel, Head of Interfaith Youth Core, engaged in the session, which was moderated by George Stephanopoulos, Host of ABC News –This Week.

The Clinton Global Initiative was launched by Former President Bill Clinton and the William J. Clinton Foundation to focus attention on identifying immediate solutions to several of the world’s most pressing problems. The initiative will detail successful responses to them and seek the best new solutions, as well as obtain a specific commitment from each participant to take action in one of the four topics discussed: poverty; religion, conflict, and reconciliation; climate change; and governance enterprise and investment.

At the end of the three-day conference, which convened on Thursday, attendees, including current and former heads of state, business leaders, academicians, and key NGO representatives, were asked to make a specific pledge to address one of those areas and will report on their progress to President Clinton over the course of the year.

Deliberating the role of governments in promoting interfaith understanding Queen Rania said that they can create opportunities for interaction between those of different faiths to help establish human bonds.

“We cannot expect to sit and await for change and understanding to happen. We need a dialogue of deeds and not of words,” stressed Queen Rania

She added that one way through which this can be done is through programs of educational exchange, which are “extremely crucial in this day and age”.

During their current trip, starting at the Vatican where Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania met His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI before continuing on to the US, Their Majesties’ visit focused on the true message of Islam and the need for people of the world to work together for peace and coexistence.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, along with the President of the Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernandez Reyna and the President of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko attended the conference. British Prime Minister Tony Blair, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Israeli Vice-Prime Minister Shimon Peres and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were also present.

In addition to the above, the conference included influential personalities such as Paul Wolfowitz, Elie Wiesel, Rupert Murdoch, Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Ted Turner, George Soros, James Wolfensohn, and many more global leaders from varying fields.

Queen Rania, along with King Abdullah, also attended the Special Opening Plenary of the Clinton Global Initiative “Perspectives of the Global Challenges of Our Time”, last Thursday, joining other Royalty and distinguished guests.