Queen Rania’s Acceptance Speech for the Ambrogino d’Oro Award 2002 - Milan, Italy

September 23, 2002

Mayor Albertini,

Mrs. Moratti,

Mr. Carrubba,

Mr. Cingoli,

Mr. Ferrari,

Distinguished Guests and Friends,

Thank you all. It is hard to express the honor I feel. It is especially meaningful to receive such an honor from a city and a people I admire so much.

Milan holds a unique place among the great cities of the world. It is a global leader in art and business, culture and technology. It is a preserve of great history, and a place where the future is being created.

Perhaps most of all, as I think this award symbolizes, Milan is an important builder of bridges among the peoples of the world.

Indeed, to me, this award is a bridge – a bridge of friendship, between the peoples of Milan and Jordan. A bridge of partnership, as we work together for global development and understanding. And a bridge of hope, hope for a better future for all our people.

All this has never been more important than today. We live at a critical time, a true turning point, when ignorance and division really can destroy our world. The real work of peace demands real interaction…people who bring true concern and mutual respect to the conversation…people who make an effort to bridge the world’s divides. In other words, people like so many of you.

I think of the work of the Italian Center for Peace in the Middle East. For more than a decade, it has been bringing people together, to encourage dialogue. I am glad to know that in the Center’s meetings, Europe has been able to hear Arab voices speak, clearly and directly, about our commitment to justice, tolerance, and democracy.

I think also of the leading role played by Corriere della Sera, as it works to report the truth, in the Middle East and around the world. Last year, I had the privilege to spend an afternoon here in Milan with an impressive group of journalists and editors. One was a young reporter…named Maria Grazia Cutuli.

As a journalist, Maria had seen all too many of the cultural and political barriers that divide our world. As the best kind of journalist, she refused to let those barriers shut her mind to our common humanity. Maria’s passion for the truth was still clear in my mind when I heard, in November, that she had been killed covering the war in Afghanistan.

Maria was just one of many heroic Italian journalists on the front lines of conflict around the world. They challenge all of us to resist the barriers of ignorance and hate as we pursue the truth.

And these are just some of the wonderful people that I have met here in Milan, who are working so hard to make a difference in this world.

Today, in every sphere of life, we have opportunities to reach out to each other. To build strong bridges, we must sink deep foundations…right down to the bedrock of our shared values and humanity.

In Jordan, our vision is to be a country that is proud of its religion, culture, and traditions – at the very same time that we have a modern outlook, and a global outreach.

We have pioneered a democratic experience that is built on solid institutions of law, justice, and accountability. We have made peace with our neighbors. We have promoted economic reform and opened the doors for technology, innovation, and enterprise. We have also preserved some of the world’s most significant natural and cultural heritage sites, and invite the world to visit and share the wonder.

Jordan seeks what all nations seek: a better life for our people, and a 21st century rich with promise for our children. And we have already succeeded, I believe, in setting a standard for our region – laying the groundwork for a modern, strong, and inclusive civil society, a society that guarantees freedom, equal rights, and the opportunity for progress and prosperity.

These are bedrock values for all nations. I believe they are the foundation for any future of global peace. If we work together, I know it can be achieved. And here in Milan, I am humbled to be in the company of so many others who are working so hard to make it happen.

Thank you very much.