Queen Rania's speech at the Atlantic Council Global Citizen Awards - NY, USA

September 20, 2017

We live in an era of shrinking trust in government institutions. But every once in a while, a leader steps up onto the stage and reignites our faith.

Justin Trudeau says he entered politics to make change that would better serve Canadians. In fact, his leadership is making change that better serves all of humanity.

On the one hand, he has captivated the world with his youthful, modern flair; from taking selfies at the G20 Summit and photos with adorable panda twin cubs, to releasing his summer Spotify playlist, to making political statements with his fashionable footwear – what the New York Times calls “sock diplomacy.”

At the same time, and as Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary, Mr. Trudeau has led his country in renewing its deepest values – the openness, generosity, big-heartedness, and broad-mindedness for which Canadians are admired across the globe.

He understands those values well. Public service is in his blood, as the son of another great Canadian leader, Pierre Trudeau, who taught him the value of perspective.

In paying tribute to his late father, he said that he and his brothers knew they were the luckiest kids in the world, and that they’d done nothing to actually deserve it.

Perhaps that humility explains his response in the face of human suffering. He knows children of war are the unluckiest in the world – and that they don’t deserve it, either.

Prime Minister Trudeau has led his nation in transforming compassion into action.

Last year, at the UN, he and I co-chaired a panel on the refugee crisis. In his words and his bearing, the world saw moral leadership and moral authority, two values so often lacking in these divisive and polarized times.

Even as he described how Canada had taken in nearly 31,000 refugees in less than a year, he declared, “We have a responsibility, as all countries do, to do more to help solve the global refugee and migration crisis.”

For me, coming from Jordan, it was especially powerful to hear a Western leader speak this way.

I recall as well the prime minister greeting a planeload of refugee families as they landed in Toronto, helping shy but curious children into warm winter coats, telling them all, “Welcome home.”

It wasn’t just the relief in their parents’ faces that made such a deep impression. It was the way the prime minister underscored the value of embracing newcomers in need – the value not only for the resettled families, but for all Canadians as well. Because he recognizes that it is the people who are not like us that make us grow.

That conviction, to me, symbolizes what global citizenship is all about. Not simply that we look out for one another or that we support each other in times of hardship, but that we value, respect, and celebrate one another as fellow human beings.

That is the spirit that shines so very bright in this northern star.

A father, a feminist, a moral leader, a global citizen… Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.