Queen attends sixth AOU board of trustees meeting

King, Queen commend Prince Talal’s efforts in microfinance

14 تشرين الثاني 2006

(Jordan Times - Amman) Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania on Tuesday received Saudi Prince Talal Ben Abdul Aziz, president of the Arab Gulf Programme for United Nations Development Organisation (AGFUND) and co-chair of the Arab Open University (AOU) board of trustees, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. The King and Queen voiced appreciation for the prince’s efforts in the fields of education and microfinance, especially his role in the establishment of the AOU and the efforts exerted by AGFUND, including the establishment of the National Microfinance Bank (NMB) in Amman in March. The Queen, a co-chair of the board, attended the sixth meeting of AOU’s board of trustees yesterday, which was presided over by Prince Talal. Board members discussed progress made in accomplishing the university’s strategy and goals set in its Future Vision Document, to be achieved by 2008. The AOU, which started enrolling students in 2002, functions under the umbrella of AGFUND as a private pan-Arab institution of higher education. It has branches in Kuwait (where it is headquartered), Lebanon, Jordan, Bahrain, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The NMB, the first microfinance bank in the Middle East, finances projects for low-income individuals. It joins a long list of microfinance organisations already operating in the country, which promote microfinance as a major instrument for combating poverty. Also Tuesday, the King and the Queen paid tribute to His Majesty the late King Hussein on the anniversary of his birth. They visited his tomb and recited verses from the Koran. Members of the Royal family, leading local community members and schoolchildren also visited the tomb to honour the memory of the late King. Meanwhile, King Abdullah received renowned Palestinian poet Samih Al Qassem, who arrived in the country last week to take part in activities marking the first anniversary of the Amman terrorist attacks. The King praised the poet’s contributions to Arabic literature and culture. He thanked him in particular for a poem Qassem wrote to commemorate the victims of the bombings, which highlights the role of intellectuals in fighting terrorism and extremism. The poet presented the King with three copies of his latest poem collection “Sadder than Water”. Jordan Times, Wednesday, November 15, 2006