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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Queen Rania talks about her new book on Good Morning America

it’s important for us to teach our children not to fear diversity

Robin Roberts (RR): Now a visit from Queen Rania of Jordan. She’s one of the world’s most powerful women but she’s also a wife, a devoted mother of four, tireless advocate for education all around the world, and she is here this morning to engage in some peanut butter diplomacy by telling us about her new children’s book. It is wonderful. It is called The Sandwich Swap. And it’s wonderful Your Majesty to have you here back with us..

HMQ: Thank you so much. It’s great to be here.

RR: But it is... and the illustrations are just so adorable, but the message simple but powerful, and it’s something that happened to you.

HMQ: Absolutely, yeah. This book was inspired by my first brush with something different. As a young kid I was five years old, I’d go to school and you know lunchtime would come and I’d proudly unpack my houmous sandwich, and the girl sitting next to me she would have this gooey, purple stuff, and I would think oh my god it looks revolting and feel sorry for her. And you know one time she asked me to taste it and I realised how delicious it was. And I just feel that that’s a very simple message, one that we can all learn from. I mean I always felt that there have been misunderstandings in our world, a lack of knowledge, but it became really acute especially after 9/11 how not just that we didn’t know enough about each other but that we were quite illiterate about each other. So I feel that particularly for the younger generation, they are born in to a world, our world now is so much more integrated now than it ever was before, and it isn’t enough just to be a national citizen anymore, you have to be a global citizen. When you look at all the problems that our world faces, from climate change, to trade, to hunger, poverty, all these solutions more and more are globally driven. So it’s important for us to teach our children not to fear diversity. Not to fear the unknown. To realise that wonderful things can be found in the most unexpected of places.

RR: Even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

HMQ: Even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, That was a really simple lesson that on a subconscious level I think changed my whole outlook towards life. It made me more accepting of differences and it just added so much richness to my life. And I just hope that our younger generation can have those values in them.

RR: At the end of the day we all have more in common than not. We sometimes tend to focus on those things, the differences, but when we really boil it down. I mean you are a devoted mother, you have, yes, your oldest son, the Crown Prince Hussein is heir to the throne...

HMQ: Right.

RR: ...but when you boil it down, you’re a mother that wants the best for your child as any mother does. What do you take from your experiences with your children to help you?

HMQ: I mean you know you’re absolutely right we’re so much the same, regardless of what we look like, where we come from, how we pray. When it comes to what makes us laugh or cry, when it comes to what we want for our children and how we want to be treated, we’re all more alike than we are different And it’s a simple lesson that we tend to forget. It should be common sense not to judge someone until you know them, but it isn’t common sense for some reason. And what I take from my kids is that you know when you look at children interacting amongst each other they never judge each other.

RR: That’s true.

HMQ: It’s so simple, they know at a subliminal level they understand the common humanity that we all share. But somehow as we get older we start to become more judgmental, and we start to have different opinions, and sometimes those things deprive us of the richness in life. The more you embrace diversity the more enriching your life is. The more people you meet the more you can contain. And I hope that that’s a message that will resonate with Mums.

RR: I think it will. I think it does. And I know that you’re going to be spreading your message at The World Cup. We had David Beckham here yesterday.

HMQ: Oh.

RR: Yes, I know, And he was talking about how you know his disappointment at not being there in South Africa for the World Cup and knowing the importance of the world’s attention is going to be there. And you’re going to have your One Goal campaign reaching out. What are you going to be doing there?

HMQ: Well you know I think one of the worst injustices of our time is the lack of education, that some children are deprived from going to school. Today we have seventy two million children who don’t attend school all over the world. Ten years ago world leaders came together at the UN and promised that they would put every child in to school by 2015. We’re five years away and we still haven’t reached that goal. So we’re talking about seventy two million broken promises, broken dreams, broken futures. We teach our kids to keep their promises, but we haven’t kept our promise to them. So One Goal is the education community coming together with the soccer community to focus the world’s attention towards this issue. People don’t realise that the lack of education is actually an emergency. Maybe it doesn’t look like an immediate emergency like an earthquake or a tsunami, but it’s a humanitarian emergency that’s unfolding in slow motion. And we want people from all over the world, fans, to sign their names. We’re not asking for money. We just want people to sign their name and make the commitment towards fair play for the future generation. And to put pressure on the politicians to fulfill the promises to the children of the world.

RR: What a wonderful way to do that because again the world is going to be focussed on the World Cup in South Africa beginning next month.

HMQ: Exactly.

RR: You’re athletic, you’re a runner, correct?

HMQ: I am, I am.

RR: I always hear that you’re looking for a new tune to run with.

HMQ: For me running, sure it’s about being healthy and everything, but mostly it’s about clearing my mind. It’s about de-stressing, gaining perspective. Some of my best ideas come while I’m running. I’m sure many runners will tell you the same thing. And part of the enjoyment is listening to music, it’s not any particular kind of music. It’s just to have that right beat, because it can really keep you going. So I listen to a whole variety of different genres of music while I’m running, and it’s just so liberating, I recommend it to everyone.

RR: You have a wonderful sense of humour, you’re text savvy. Thank you for tweeting that you were going to be here today, and at The View later today.

HMQ: I’ve gotten used to keeping everybody informed with what I’m doing in my life. They come to expect it now.

RR: Well they appreciate it, They have a real connection with you.

HMQ: It’s fun. It’s fun to have that direct and personal connection with people. It really does create a space where you can be open, you can be yourself, and people don’t care whether you’re Queen or not. They just tell you what they think. I really enjoy that kind of direct interaction.

RR: Well it’s always a joy when you come by here. Your Majesty, thank you so much

HMQ: Thank you. It’s always wonderful to see you.

RR: Best wishes and blessings going forward. And you can read an excerpt of The Sandwich Swap, you can read it on our website, abcnews.com.

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