Jordan

Queen Rania brings passion and experience to new role as Eminent Advocate for Children

UNICEF Image
© World Economic Forum/2007/Nowacki
H.M. Queen Rania of Jordan at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where her new role as UNICEF’s first Eminent Advocate for Children was announced.

NEW YORK, USA, 26 January 2007 – During the Symposium on Child Survival, a gathering of world leaders at UNICEF headquarters last September, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan was adamant in her insistence that the international community can – and must – do better for its most vulnerable children.

In remarks to the symposium, Queen Rania cited a study showing that an investment of $1 billion a year could save 10 million young lives through improved immunization over the next decade.

“One billion dollars,” she said, “compared to the $300 billion the world spends on agricultural subsidies and the $900 billion it puts towards military expenditures each year. Surely $1 billion to save 10 million lives is a price we can afford?”

It was a moment of plainspoken but passionate advocacy – just the sort of passion, combined with a distinguished record of support for child survival and development around the world, that led to today’s agreement naming Queen Rania as UNICEF’s first-ever Eminent Advocate for Children.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF India/2006/Kumar
During a March 2006 visit, Queen Rania viewed artwork created by students at the UNICEF-supported Ritinjali Learning Centre in New Delhi, India.

‘Steadfast commitment’

Announced at the World Economic Forum now under way in Davos, Switzerland, the new role brings another dimension to Queen Rania’s global advocacy for child protection, early childhood development, gender parity in education and women’s empowerment.

“Her Majesty Queen Rania has been a tireless champion for children,” said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, who signed the agreement with the Queen today. “This title recognizes her steadfast commitment to creating a better world for children.”

As Eminent Advocate, Queen Rania will work toward greater awareness of children’s issues and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, which are directly related to children’s health, education and development. And she will work with UNICEF and its partners to marshal the necessary resources to save and improve children’s lives.

“For the millions of children whose voices are not being heard, let us commit to take a stand, and take a step, and make real strides for child survival and education,” said Queen Rania. “I am convinced that transformational change is just the sum of many small steps – footprints marking a path ahead where none existed before.”

Travels with UNICEF

Queen Rania was born in Kuwait, attended university in Egypt and embarked on a career in banking and information technology before her marriage to His Majesty King Abdullah, then Prince, in June 1993. Now a mother of four, she has taken a strong interest in the well-being of children in Jordan, other Arab nations and the developing world as a whole.

“If there is anything that motherhood has taught me, it is that I am not just a mother to my own children, but to every child that I encounter,” she said in an interview with the Jordan Times. “They all share the same innocence and vulnerability, and they are all precious and hold the promise of an enormous potential.”

A member of the UNICEF Global Leadership Initiative for Children, Queen Rania has visited UNICEF-supported learning centres in India and delivered a planeload of relief supplies to Muzaffarabad, Pakistan in the aftermath of the devastating October 2005 earthquake there.

At the conclusion of her mission to Pakistan, Queen Rania made a characteristically candid comment that, in a sense, foreshadowed the role she now assumes as Eminent Advocate for Children. “We will follow [the visit] up with an appeal for UNICEF,” she said. “I hope it will draw as much attention as we can to assist the agency’s work.”


 

 

Video

26 January 2007:
H.M. Queen Rania of Jordan, UNICEF Eminent Advocate for Children, takes part in the first-ever panel to include young people at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
 VIDEO  high | low

26 January 2007:
H.M. Queen Rania of Jordan speaks on the occasion of accepting the role of UNICEF Eminent Advocate for Children.
 VIDEO  high | low

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