The Middle East is a place full of fascinating people changing the area. Most interesting to me are the women that play roles either on the forefront or behind the scenes. One such woman on the forefront is Queen Noor of Jordan.
Queen Noor is the fourth wife of deceased King Hussein of Jordan, and is well known for her international humanitarian efforts. Her goals are to educate about Arab and Islam culture, empower women, conflict prevention, and to help refugees and missing persons. She founded media programs to highlight these issues along with the issues of poverty and disarmament, because she’s outspokenly against nuclear weapons. Queen Noor’s efforts towards peace focus on the Middle East, the Balkans, Central and Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Africa.
Queen Noor was born in America as Lisa Najeeb Halaby. Her father held government positions, including Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense with President Truman, and head of the Federal Aviation Administration with JFK. She had a typical education in America, and graduated from Princeton University with a BA in Architecture and Urban Planning. She used her Urban Planning degree to take her places in the world, and first landed a job in Australia, then worked for a British company to help redesign a Middle Eastern city. She then came back to the U.S. and received a job as Director of Facilities Planning and Design in a company founded by her father. That is what determined the rest of her life.
As a high profile figure, she worked closely with King Hussein of Jordan as they created an airport in memorial of Hussein’s third wife, Queen Alia who died in a helicopter accident. Supporting him through his mourning, the two’s friendship quickly grew and evolved, and they were married in 1978. Upon their marriage, Lisa gave up her U.S. citizenship and changed her name and religion. Joining the Islam faith, she became Noor Al-Hussein, which means Light of Hussein.
Again using her Urban Planning degree, Queen Noor founded the Noor Al Hussein Foundation where she chairs the charity and directs it towards developmental thinking in Jordan. Their focus is on poverty eradication and sustainable development, along with women’s empowerment, microfinance, health, environmental conservation, and the arts as a means of cross-cultural exchange.
After a long battle with cancer, King Hussein died in 1999. Queen Noor then founded the King Hussein Foundation International. Queen Noor has founded several different foundations, but this one is in honor of King Hussein and to develop the humanitarian visions King Hussein had. This foundation focuses on education and leadership, economic empowerment, tolerance, and cross cultural dialogue and media that enhance mutual understanding and respect among different cultures and across conflict lines.
Another of her recent campaigns is that of Global Zero. Global Zero is working to eradicate nuclear weapons. Queen Noor appeared on The Colbert Report explaining the mission of Global Zero to Colbert, who asked if it was a type of diet drink. Colbert agreed to sign onto the Global Zero pact, and so Queen Noor knighted him.
Find more pictures at Newscom.
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Tags: American women, disarmament, Global Zero, HM Queen Noor of Jordan, humanitarian, Jordan, King Hussein, King Hussein Foundation International, Middle East, nuclear weapons, Queen, Queen Noor, refugees, women, women empowerment, women in the Middle East
This entry was posted on Sunday, July 15th, 2012 at 9:37 am and is filed under World Leaders. You can follow any comments to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a comment, or trackback from your own site.