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Queen Rania speaks at Women in the World Summit in New York
New York, April 4, (Petra) -- Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah took part in the fifth annual Women in the World Summit as the featured dinner interview guest on Thursday at the Lincoln Center in New York.

During the interview, Her Majesty addressed various issues and challenges pertinent to women and education in the Arab world, and the impact of the Syrian refugee crisis on Jordan.

During the onstage conversation with Tina Brown, Founder of Women in the World and CEO of Tina Brown Live Media, Queen Rania called the situation in Syria a "political conundrum and a heart breaking humanitarian crisis", and urged the international community to step up support to the refugee crisis in host communities. Jordan, she told the audience, is hosting over 600,000 refugees, and is struggling to manage the huge pressure this presents on Jordan's economy and infrastructure.

The Queen explained that Syrian refugees in Jordan have free access to public health-care and school systems, all of which are stretched to the limit.

Her Majesty asserted the historic humanitarian role Jordan has played in the region due to its constancy in being a country of moderation and explained that even with the best of intentions, without increased international support, Jordan cannot cope with the unprecedented needs – which show no sign of slowing.

The Queen touched on the important role that falls on the shoulders of the international community in supporting Jordan with its humanitarian efforts noting that "there is no shortage of sympathy", but aid and donation have not kept pace with the mounting needs.

On education, Her Majesty spoke about the importance of education reform in Jordan and across the Arab world in light of the region’s persistent unemployment challenge. Queen Rania stressed the importance of innovation and creativity in addressing this challenge.

In particular, Her Majesty noted that the one such innovation that can help transform the Arab world is free online education. "Transformative shifts take place when what is suddenly possible meets what is urgently needed. When opportunity intersects with necessity." Queen Rania spoke about her foundation’s plan to launch a new Arabic MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) platform that utilizes the latest technology in making quality education more accessible through the internet to the general Arabic speaking population.

When asked about what seemed to be a lack of progress on women’s issues following the Arab Spring, Her Majesty explained that in light of heightened polarization, violence, and conflict in some of the Arab countries, concerns about safety and security have drowned out many of the voices supporting women’s issues. However, the Queen reminded the audience that change on such a scale needs time, explaining that tangible transformations " will take much more than a three month spring or even three years to take root in the Arab world." Her Majesty further urged the audience to remember that every country in the Arab world, and the starting point for women in each, is different.

Despite the continuing challenges to Arab women’s empowerment, Queen Rania highlighted the surge in activism by women in the region post the Arab Spring. New advocacy groups and movements championing women’s rights have spurred across the region.

She added that the region has also witnessed a dramatic cultural shift at the heart of which is a new generation of men and women who are more empowered and passionate about making their voices heard.

The Women in the World summit was launched in 2010 by the electronic news media, The Daily Beast, to primarily focus on and discuss challenges faced by women and girls in the world as well as inspire conversation about the role of women as well as their contribution to global development.

The summit this year was also attended by President of the Republic of Kosovo, Atifete Jahjaga, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of U.N. Women, David Miliband, President and CEO of International Rescue Committee, US Ambassador and Executive Director of Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, Melanne Verveer, and Barbara Bush, CEO and Cofounder of Global Health Corps among many other leading women from around the world.

//Petra// A SH
4/4/2014 - 06:52:36 PM
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