Queen Rania Receives Foreign Press Association’s First Ever Humanitarian Award

November 29, 2016

(Office of Her Majesty – Press Department – London, UK) - Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah said that human empathy and compassion need an urgent upgrade in order to keep pace with accelerating technology and innovation, after accepting the Humanitarian Award of the Year from the Foreign Press Association (FPA) in London on Tuesday.

In her speech, Queen Rania, who is the first recipient of the FPA’s newly-created award, warned that advancements in technology, globalization, and the free flow of ideas and people are not necessarily leading to improvements in human values or promoting understanding.

“We say that our world is more connected than ever, yet we’re pushing one another away. Our politics are migrating to the extremes and we’re losing the middle ground: closing off instead of opening up, talking of isolationism instead of cooperation, of borders instead of bridges,” Queen Rania said.

She added that, faced with a fast-paced and changing world that challenges their identity, people have resolved to fear instead of solidarity with those less fortunate.

“When fear overwhelms our thinking, we compromise our logic and compassion,” Her Majesty explained. “I think we need to find our way back to the basics of simply listening to each other, of trying to see through each other’s eyes, and to walk in each other’s shoes,” she added.

Commenting on Syria, the Queen said politicians are “seemingly preoccupied with outmaneuvering one another, while civilians are maimed and brutalized and killed,” questioning what lessons have been learned from their response to the prevailing brutality there.

Emphasizing the need for change, Her Majesty noted that a new dynamic for leadership is required to move forward, one in which “allaying fear and restoring trust” remain top priorities.

“Part of that is acknowledging where our old institutions and thinking are falling short. And part of it is genuinely working together to find solutions,” Her Majesty added.

The Queen said that facing these challenges requires recommitting to humanity’s common values, and rejecting “scapegoating” and divisive messages of anger and blame.

Addressing hundreds of journalists in the crowd, Queen Rania highlighted the critical role journalists play in informing and enlightening the world.

“Your reporting casts a light into the shadows. Your words convey the voices of the voiceless. Your images bring complex issues into focus. Your analysis educates and inspires. And at the same time, you can help us keep our finger on the world’s emotional pulse, to make sure leaders stay better connected to the feelings of the people they serve,” the Queen said.

Her Majesty dedicated the award to Jordanians, whom she described as the “greatest humanitarians I know” for opening their homes and hearts to Syrian refugees. “Jordanians have little, yet we are giving our all because we see our common humanity in our neighbors,” She added.

Her Majesty said that although the decision to aid over one million refugees might not appear to be a “smart” move, it exemplifies the moral integrity demanded by the scope and gravity of contemporary humanitarian crises.

Set up almost one hundred and thirty years ago, the FPA is one of the oldest clubs for foreign correspondents in the world, and the only one of its kind in the United Kingdom. It is apolitical and independent, funded through members’s subscriptions. Now in their seventeenth year, the annual Foreign Press Association Media Awards in London is among the most prestigious awards ceremonies for journalism in the world.

Previous Guests of Honor to the Media Awards include His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and His Royal Highness the Prince of Asturias, now King Felipe VI of Spain.

This year, the FPA gave out its very first Humanitarian Award of the Year. Her Majesty Queen Rania was selected as the first recipient of this award in recognition of her extraordinary humanitarian work addressing the Syrian refugee crisis, and her active and compassionate role in promoting education and championing women.

The event also included a ceremony awarding the best television news, print and web news, as well as financial, documentary, feature, radio, environment, arts and culture, science, sports, and travel stories of the year.