Queen Rania asserts that 21st century global leaders must place ‘people, humanity and peace at the heart of the world's agenda’

March 11, 2006

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department - New Delhi) Addressing an audience of leaders, opinion shapers and policy makers from all around India, on Friday, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah spoke of Jordan and India’s shared spirit of optimism and openness, charging one of the world’s emerging economic powers with the responsibility towards a moral and just leadership in the 21st century.

Her Majesty's remarks came at the India Today Conclave, an annual forum in New Delhi, India, which encourages free and frank exchange of ideas among political leaders, Nobel laureates, policy makers, writers, and leaders in business. The fifth since its launch in 2002, this year's conclave is titled India Tomorrow 2006: Bridging the Divide.

Queen Rania began her address by offering, on behalf of Jordan, her condolences to the people of India over the tragic loss of those killed during the bombings which struck the holy city of Varinasi, on March 7th.

Drawing synergies between Jordan and India, Queen Rania said: “I believe our nations share a similar spirit – one that is driven by optimism and openness toward the world.”

She added: “Both India and Jordan have storied pasts, yet we do not fear the future; we believe we can harness the best of both, without compromising either … Our countries have shown we can reach out to the world, and embrace what modernity offers, without losing our grip on the culture and customs that make us who we are.”

The Queen underscored the potential within the young populations of both countries, stressing that the youth of India and Jordan “represent a tremendous wellspring of talent and drive”, adding that “helping them reach their fullest potential is our greatest opportunity and obligation”.

Her Majesty went on to welcome India’s emergence as a great world power for the twenty-first century:

“…now, with your growing global prestige… and your dazzling economic growth… you have captured not simply the world’s imagination but its rapt attention as well. India is everywhere, as anyone who attended the World Economic Forum in Davos can attest. Today, you have an historic opportunity and ability to influence other nations,” she said.

Queen Rania stressed that with this ability comes responsibility and that India is uniquely positioned to “lead in bridging the gaps that have held too much of the world back for too long.”

“…you know what it means to be a developing country in a globalizing world – trying simultaneously to manage policy reform and to meet your people’s rising aspirations. India understands, because you have lived it yourselves,” she asserted

Queen Rania went on to add that, today, India has “the credibility and humility to exert the kind of leadership that puts people… humanity… and peace… at the heart of the world’s agenda”.

Speaking of the “Hope Gap”, which divides people into those who have a future and those who do not, due to lack of access to health, quality education, and resources, Queen Rania maintained that the global community cannot accept this chasm of opportunity in today’s world.

“… We have to do better. Our hearts and our heads demand it,” she argued.

And this is where India can play an effective role, not only as an emerging economic power, but, just as important, as a “moral power”. In addition to leading by example, Queen Rania asserted that India can help shape the global agenda to address the world’s development challenges working towards 'narrowing the hope gap'.

“But it is not just through your example at home that we need your moral leadership -- because India’s voice is heard in the world in a way that smaller nations’ are not. The world needs India to use its influence to alter the global dialogue – and put humanity’s concerns at the front and center of the global agenda.”

Queen Rania highlighted India’s awareness of the fact that conflict is often rooted in injustice and the fact that the global community must provide protection, "not only from terrorists’ bullets and bombs, but from the hunger, homelessness, and deadly diseases that menace their daily survival".

She also underscored India's first-hand knowledge that global trade must work for developing countries to prosper, as well as its achievements in the areas of health and social entrepreneurship.

Concluding her address, Queen Rania spoke of Jordan and India’s shared aspirations, saying that “like you, we seek a world of opportunity, equality and peace… a world where people are free and empowered to make the most of their own lives".

In such a world, she affirmed, "every child will be nourished and cherished… because every child will belong to us all. And the hope gap will become a hope bridge that the whole human family can cross”.