Queen Rania Receives Gold Medal of the President of the Italian Republic for Promoting Cross-cultural Dialogue

October 21, 2002

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department - Rimini) In recognition of her role in encouraging social, cultural and humanitarian dialogue, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, patron of the 28th Pio Manz International Conference, was presented with the gold medal of the President of the Italian Republic.

The conference, which was held in Rimini at the Pio Manz International Research Center under the theme "Heimdall's Horn- Citizenship of the Earth, a New Alliance between Peoples, Ideas and Cultures", presents the work conducted by the Center's own research staff with contributions from scholars and researchers from numerous academic institutions.

Antonio Gasparri, Italian Minister of Communications, presented the award to Queen Rania and praised the "... leading role Queen Rania plays in promoting dialogue based on the social, cultural, ecological and above all, humanitarian orientations that most closely correspond to the primary needs of the human family and which inspire her own cultural and philanthropic activity."

For her part, Queen Rania stressed "...the Arab World's commitment to peace, tolerance and equality, and respect for diversity."

"To defend our weakest and raise our poorest is a moral obligation, and more: it is a recognition of our common economic and political fate. In Jordan, we are acting on that responsibility to create a better life for our people, as His Majesty King Abdullah always says, not just for tomorrow's generations, but for today's as well," Queen Rania said.

In his address to the conference, Mr. Gasparri also spoke of Queen Rania's "... steadfast commitment to cross-cultural dialogue as a basis for bridging the divides that separate people around the world."

Last month, Queen Rania received the Ambrogino d'Oro Award, the most prestigious prize awarded by the city of Milan, in appreciation of her role in promoting dialogue between people and portraying an accurate image of Islam in the West.

The Pio Manz? International Research Center is a non-governmental organization of the United Nations and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) that has been operating since 1969 as an institute for the in-depth study of the main economic and scientific aspects of the relationship between man and the environment.

As one of the founding patrons of the "Global 200 Ecoregions", Queen Rania also attended a fundraising event in Rome for the World Wildlife Fund for the Conservation of Nature (WWF).

The campaign aims to raise funds for sustaining and preserving more than 200 threatened habitats all over the world. Queen Rania spoke of the efforts being made in Jordan to protect local and regional eco-systems, and of the Dana reserve that has "... been called the world's most successful example of sustainable eco-development, linking environment protection with local socio-economic programs".

Members of the Global 200 Patrons will play an active role in raising awareness on the importance of conservation of nature, and in influencing decision makers to make the issue a priority.

Addressing a large audience of WWF supporters, Queen Rania spoke of the importance of conserving biodiversity to protect the specific ecosystems that make up our living planet. "... Long ago, our country was renowned for its forests, plant and animal life.

But by the middle of the 20th Century, much of this natural wealth was gone, the result of deforestation, loss of habitat, and over-hunting.

Our experience is a warning, and it also offers a beacon of hope. For just as local eco-systems make up a healthy environment, so does local action. Jordanians on the ground, protecting local and regional eco-systems, have taken an active role in restoring the environment," Queen Rania said.

Founded in 1961 by a group of scientists, naturalists, and business and political leaders, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) - known worldwide by its panda logo - is dedicated to protecting the world's wildlife and wild lands through securing needed funds for conservation programs around the world.

WWF works closely with major international conservation organizations such the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and The Conservation Foundation.