Queen Rania Receives Vital Voices’ Global Trailblazer Award

March 09, 2017

(Office of Her Majesty – Press Department – Washington, D.C.) - Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah accepted the ‘Global Trailblazer’ Award at the 16th annual Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards ceremony, urging the audience to recognize the potential and promise of Arab women.

The ceremony, which was held in Washington DC on Wednesday, honored international female leaders in areas of economic empowerment, political development, and human rights.

In her acceptance remarks, Queen Rania referred to the plight of women and young girls in areas of conflict and instability across the Middle East from Iraq, Yemen and Syria.

Her Majesty underscored the pivotal role education plays in extracting these women from their grim realities by providing them with “the knowledge they need to excel.”

She also explained that regional feats in economic development, environmental sustainability, and progressive entrepreneurship are reliant upon the participation and leadership of Arab women.

While the Queen acknowledged that Arabs are responsible for changing their reality and fighting for their future, she also urged her audience to take part in reshaping the future of Arab and Muslim girls and women by viewing them in a different light.

Instead of perceiving them as weak and docile, she asked that they be seen as purveyors of tangible change.

“One of the ways each of you can help is by challenging preconceptions. Resist the easy stereotypes attached to Arab women: pitied as helpless and submissive on the one hand, labeled as threats on the other,” the Queen said.

“For me, as a woman, an Arab, and a Muslim, I take this issue personally,” she added.

She also condemned the extremists, who commit crimes in the name of Islam, reiterating His Majesty King Abdullah’s depiction of their ideology as “Fake Islam,” or what Her Majesty described as “a warped perverted image that violates everything it stands for.”

“If we let the terrorists turn the West against Islam, we are waging their battle for them,” she added.

Her Majesty also reiterated the importance of collaboration between East and West in the pursuit of a better future for women and the elimination of extremism across the region. 

In her closing remarks, she asked the audience to “celebrate the power of women to connect across lines that divide,” stating that it is women who help “cultivate common ground” on which progress is built.

The Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards are given by the Vital Voices Global Partnership to international leaders in recognition of their contributions towards positive change within their communities and throughout the world.

First introduced to the list of Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards in 2006,  the Global Trailblazer Award had previously been granted to  social entrepreneur and Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammad Yunus, former US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, philanthropist Melinda Gates, and Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafazi.

Other Awardees honored at this year’s ceremony, include, digital activist Elsa D’Silva from India, equal rights advocate Nadia Bushnaq from Jordan, social entrepreneur Ariela Suster from El Salvador, and the Malawian Senior District Chief Theresa Kachindamoto. 

Vital Voices Global Partnership is an NGO that combats human trafficking and violence, and empowers aspiring women leaders to achieve their greatest potential through a variety of skill-building and professional training programs. The organization has so far trained more than 15,000 emerging women leaders from more than 144 countries.