Queen Rania’s Remarks at the Launch of the “Women Artists from the Islamic World” Exhibition - Rhodes, Greece

September 19, 2002

Thank you Aliki [Aliki Moschis-Gauguet, President of FAM Network], and thank you all for your warm welcome. It is a great pleasure to join you today, and to help open this remarkable exhibit.

This exhibition features the work of 51 women artists from the Islamic world. They work in different media and styles, they have had different life experiences, and they come from more than a score of different countries. But they have something in common that is more important than any dissimilarity. That something is the essence of Islamic art, and all art – a spirit of creativity, humanity, and insight.

Real art connects. It connects us with ourselves and with one another. It leads us to discover new truths, and helps to illuminate the humanity we share. The work of these artists lights up not only the Islamic world, but the human world. Through this exhibit, they are truly helping to break the barriers of misunderstanding and ignorance that divide us.

Over the past year, many people around the globe have asked questions about the real nature of Islam. There is a critical need to get out the facts. We have an important message to send, about our commitment to peace, tolerance, and equality, and our respect for diversity.

But talking won’t be enough. We need to connect. We need to reach out to each other in a spirit of common understanding, frank exchanges, and good will. This is just what this exhibition is designed to do…as part of a visionary forum to promote a culture of peace in the Mediterranean – and, I hope, throughout the world.

This exhibit opens here in Rhodes, and will continue on to a number of other countries. I hope it will promote a new dialogue about the creativity, the achievements, and the potential of the Islamic world. It is a dialogue in which women have a huge contribution to make.

Let me take this opportunity to thank the Royal Society of Fine Arts headed by Her Royal Highness Princess Wijdan and the Pan-Mediterranean Women Artists Network for their hard work in making their exhibition possible.

And thank you all for coming today. I do hope you will find much here to enjoy.

Thank you.