Queen Rania’s Remarks at the World Humanitarian Forum Summit

September 21, 2021

For some time now, we’ve all felt the weight of so many clouds over our heads. Covid… Climate… Conflict.

Reading the news, it seems as if each day brings another crisis.

But I am reminded of these words from Syrian playwright Saadallah Wannous:

He said, “Our lot is to hope. And what happens today cannot be the end of time.”

Our lot is to hope.

In the face of great challenge, it’s tempting to box ourselves in. To focus only on narrow self-interest, and those who are closest to us… those who look most like us.

Far too many today would like to see that happen.

But if we step back, if we widen our sights, we see a different picture… one that demands – and reinforces -- our faith in collective action.

The MDGs and SDGs are more than words on paper. And though progress has been imperfect… it is progress nonetheless.

Millions of people broke free of despair. Millions of lives were uplifted. Millions of children were given the chance to grow, and to learn.

That happened because, as human beings, we share the stirring power of imagination.

Because our lot is to hope. To keep reaching for prizes that lay beyond our grasp.

Our hope is not soft. It is not weak, or passive. Our hope drives change.

And now, we must draw on that very human impulse more than ever.

Why? Because science and technology on their own cannot save us.

Technology has kept the lines of communications open through Covid. But we’re still far from fluent in the language of our common humanity… and it is those conversations that matter most.

Because we don’t exist in a world of separate boxes… nor do our problems.

Imagine how much better we would have dealt with our current crisis had our “human network” been stronger; had we communicated better at the start of the pandemic and agreed on what would be best for everyone?

To build forward better, we must upgrade our human connectivity – the virtual and the virtuous. Humanity’s neural network, 8 billion strong, must be powered by common vision and commitment.

Crises generate opportunities for bold and rapid change. For, even as the past two years have created so much economic hardship, we’ve also learned new ways of working that can be more sustainable, more inclusive.

We can make sure people everywhere are equipped to make the most of our new environment—through upskilling and reskilling so that workers’ talents stay relevant for the jobs of tomorrow.

Or, take education. Gaps have widened during Covid. But we’ve also gained valuable experience. The entire world has had a crash course in hybrid education and online learning.

If we work together and apply those new lessons, we can not only recover lost learning, but bring new knowledge and promise to people across the globe.

Gatherings like this one can inspire new ideas, new roadmaps, and new shared action.

Saadallah Wannous was right…What happens today cannot be the end of time, but it can be the dawn of a new era.

That is my hope. And I can’t wait to see what we achieve.