Queen Rania Applauds Milan's Efforts to Promote Cross Cultural Awareness at Early Age

February 08, 2007

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department – Milan) Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, an honorary citizen of Milan, visited the historical city, where she and Princess Wijdan, Jordan's Ambassador to Italy, and Mayor Letizia Moratti took part in a class on cultural awareness at Dell’Infanzia School.

Queen Rania noted the value of early cultural awareness, and said how thrilled she was that such appreciation is being cultivated at such an early age in Dell'Infanzia School.   The students welcomed the Queen by performing several songs about peace, in Italian, and greeted her with a peaceful message, in Arabic. The class room which Her Majesty visited was full of symbols of different cultures. There was a Jordanian flag proudly hung up in the classroom with a welcome note written by the students, with their teacher's help, in Arabic. There was no shortage of rhetorical exchanges in both languages, as the Queen also bade them farewell in Italian. "I'm very touched at the effort you have all gone to to learn some of my language," said the Queen, "Reaching out to other cultures like you have done today is an example for us all." The school, which has 160 students between the ages of 3 and 6, prepares special programs for 5 year old students to familiarize them with world cultures. The children are taught greetings in different languages. They also have a world map in the classroom to visualize the location of the countries and cultures they learn about. One of the students presented Her Majesty with a sticker and asked her to identify Jordan's location on the map, which she did. Her Majesty also told the children about many of the cultural practices in Jordan. "I hope that when you're all old enough to travel, you will visit Jordan," said Queen Rania. Mayor Moratti, the Commissioner for Social Policy and Education Mariolina Moioli, and Headmistress Amelia Setton toured the facility with Queen Rania. They briefed Her Majesty on the school's programs—specifically the integration program for children from different ethnic backgrounds. Queen Rania, Princess Wijdan and Mayor Moratti then engaged in a discussion at the Milan Municipality to talk about several issues including greater social and cultural cooperation between the cities of Milan and Amman. Among such cooperation was the possibility of a learning exchange regarding vocational training. The Queen and Mayor Moratti also discussed the upcoming "Italian Forum for Women Entrepreneurs" that will be taking place in Milan this March. The Minister for International Trade Emma Bonino, who recently visited Amman to participate in a High Level Gender Policy Forum, is organizing the forum. Her Majesty is an avid advocate for increasing women's participation in the workforce through both formal and informal channels. Queen Rania has often noted that the microfinance industry is a very useful tool which can help promote women's economic status and role in the workforce. She has said that women's participation in the workforce is essential in order for societies to advance. Because of such efforts to advocate for women, as well as for her work in promoting children's issues, Queen Rania will be accepting an award for Social Solidarity, Friday, from the Mediterranean Foundation tomorrow. After the meeting, Her Majesty toured some of Milan's cultural sights.