Queen Rania Accepts UNA-USA Global Humanitarian Action Award

October 25, 2007

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department – New York) Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah accepted the distinguished UNA-USA (United Nations Association) Global Humanitarian Action Award in New York,  where she promised “to keep doing all I can to be worthy of the honor you have bestowed on me tonight.”

Queen Rania was recognized for her many philanthropic efforts, including her notable role advocating for the rights, health and safety of children around the world as UNICEF’s first Eminent Advocate for Children. Also at the event were UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon; Her Royal Highness Princess Firyal; and Ted Turner, Founder of CNN, who presented the award to Her Majesty.

Her Majesty humbly detailed the lessons learnt during her first year championing children’s issues as UNICEF Eminent Advocate. From Morocco to China, Her Majesty has been supporting UNICEF’s role in improving the lives of children. 

“You and I have been lucky to raise our children in safe and supportive environments, where things like health care, nutrition, and education can be taken for granted. But for millions of children around the world, life hangs on the slenderest thread – a knit cap to keep warm, clean water to drink, the means to ward off a mosquito,” she said.

“And while children in America and Jordan may dream about what they want to be when they grow up, for millions of children around the world, just to make it to the age of five is an achievement. Children like them around counting on us to give them a fighting chance,” she pleaded, “because every child of every parent deserves protection and care.”

In Jordan, Her Majesty has visited UNICEF supported health centers to promote the Jordan’s advancement in providing quality health care access.  Queen Rania has launched several appeals for Iraqi and Palestinian children,

As an advocate of advancing health and educational opportunities in Jordan and across the globe, Queen Rania has pioneered a number of local initiatives focused on child health and safety. She established the Kingdom’s first hands on children’s museum, in Amman, to encourage and nurture lifelong learning for children and their families. During the Holy month of Ramadan, Queen Rania adopted four public schools where she plans to renovate the infrastructure.

The UNA-USA is a not-for-profit membership organization dedicated to building understanding of and support for the ideals and work of the United Nation among the American people. Its educational and humanitarian campaigns, including teaching students in urban schools, clearing minefields and providing school based support for children living in HIV/AIDS affected communities in Africa, allow people to make a global impact at the local level. The association is affiliated with the World Federation of the United Nations. Past recipients of this award include Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie.

Also on Thursday, the Queen chaired JRF’s first USA board meeting to identify the board’s role as they support and develop the foundation’s work in the US. Queen Rania is Chairperson of the Jordan River Foundation (JRF), which she founded in 1995.

The newly established JRF-USA board includes Chairperson Pat Mitchell, President and CEO of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS); Nancy Aeossy, President and CEO of the International Medical Corps; Beth Dozoretz, Vice Chair of the Advisory Board for the Center for Public Leadership at the Kennedy School of Government; Philip Condit, Former Chairman and CEO of Boeing; Alex Cappello, Managing Director of the Cappello Capital Corporation of Investment Bankers; and Earl Glock, from O’Connell and Glock Law.

The Jordan River Foundation has expanded its international presence to the US, where it is now registered as a 501(C) (R) organization, to be able to create a network of partnerships that support JRF in a financial and technical capacity while providing market linkages for the foundation’s handicraft products. This follows in line with JRF's presence in the UK and France.

During the meeting, the board identified three goals for the year: promoting JRF handicraft products in the US market; raise funds for the Child Safety Program; and, plan a fundraising event to support the foundation’s activities and raise JRF’s international profile.

Since 1995, the Jordan River Foundation has spearheaded a number of local initiatives improving the quality of life for Jordanians. The foundation has initiated socio-economic projects for women that provide employment opportunities to enhance their livelihood, while developing their knowledge and skills in handicraft production and entrepreneurship. These projects benefit thousands of individuals, directly and indirectly, and continue to generate income for vulnerable communities and families.

In 1997, Queen Rania oversaw the launch of JRF’s Child Safety Program, which for the first time in Jordan addressed the immediate needs of children at risk from abuse. She is closely involved with Dar Al Aman (House of Safety), a center for abused and neglected children, the first of its kind in the Middle East, the first of its kind in the Middle East.