Queen Rania Joins UN Secretary General and World Bank President at Clinton Global Initiative Opening Plenary

September 24, 2012

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department- New York) – Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah joined UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim at the opening of the eighth annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York on Sunday.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton moderated the opening panel of CGI, whose theme this year “Designing for Impact” focuses on the capacity of global citizens to cultivate an environment where their lives and the systems they utilize can serve as an effective vehicle for change.

Over the course of the three-day meeting, pioneers and innovators from business, government, and civil society will examine the most effective ways to design a more prosperous and sustainable world and confront the most urgent global challenges, according to a statement by CGI.

“We need to focus on the future,” Queen Rania told the panel, “to shift gears immediately, from dissecting the past to designing the future.”

Her Majesty spoke about the need to harness today’s unprecedented technology and innovation to address some of the world’s most fundamental deficiencies, adding that “technology is not only for the individual, it’s for humanity.” Her Majesty also stressed the need to find ways to scale-up local small innovative ideas to be implemented globally.

“One of the most yawning gaps that you see in the Arab world is youth unemployment and I think that doesn’t just apply to the Arab world, it applies to the whole world,” added Her Majesty.

Her Majesty stressed the importance of education as one of the solutions to tackle global youth unemployment. She reiterated the need to redesign educational systems and called for an “education revolution” in the Arab World that focuses on narrowing the gap between education outcomes and the labor market’s increasing demand for specialized skills.  

“In designing for the future, we need to be inclusive, to make sure the youth’s voice is heard” said Her Majesty. “We need to harness technology, and we really need to lead by learning, because education is absolutely fundamental.”

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, expressed his appreciation for Her Majesty for joining the high-level advisory panel on post-2015 development agenda, adding that he hopes the panel “can come out with bold, but practical solution for the development agenda post 2015 for humanity.”

Earlier this year, Queen Rania was selected as one of 26 members of the High-level Panel announced by the UN Chief, to advise on the global development agenda beyond 2015, the target date for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  The panel holds its first official meeting in New York on Sept. 25.

Ban Ki-moon also focused on the importance of collaborative efforts and coordination amongst governments, the UN, and civil society organizations, to achieve a clear development agenda.

At the opening session of CGI, the panelists, who also included Walmart President and CEO Michael T. Duke, discussed how to better design our world to cultivate greater opportunity and equality. The conversation followed opening remarks from IDEO CEO Tim Brown, whose cutting-edge ideas on design have influenced the meeting’s creative focus this year.

“As CGI’s eighth Annual Meeting begins, I am deeply grateful that such a diverse group of esteemed leaders are here with us to motivate global action and change lives worldwide,” said President Clinton. “Their dedication reminds us that the international demand for solutions must take priority over the differences that divide us. It’s the same dedication to humanity that has helped CGI members make nearly 2,300 commitments that have impacted the lives of more than 400 million people since 2005.”

In addition to moderating the discussion in the plenary session, President Clinton also announced new commitments for 2012 and reported on the progress of commitments made at past CGI Annual Meetings.