By JT – Aug 22,2015 – Last updated at Aug 22,2015
AMMAN — Her Majesty Queen Noor celebrates her birthday on Sunday.
Upon her marriage to His Majesty King Hussein in 1978, Queen Noor embraced her role as a Jordanian public servant, focusing on national and regional human security issues in the areas of education, environment conservation, sustainable development, human rights and cross-cultural understanding.
She is also an outspoken advocate for international exchange and understanding of Arab, Muslim and Western relations, and conflict prevention and recovery, focusing on refugees, missing persons, poverty, climate change and disarmament.
Her peace-building work has concentrated on the Middle East, the Balkans, Central and Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa.
Since 1979, the initiatives of the Noor Al Hussein Foundation (NHF) and the King Hussein Foundation, founded and chaired by Queen Noor, have provided development models for Jordan and beyond through pioneering programmes in the fields of poverty eradication and sustainable development, women’s empowerment, microfinance, health, and the arts as a medium for social development and cross-cultural exchange.
KHF encompasses NHF, in addition to eight development institutions — the Jubilee Institute, the National Centre for Culture and Arts (NCCA), the National Music Conservatory and the Information and Research Centre, in addition to NHF’s projects: the Community Development Programme, the Institute for Family Health (IFH), the Jordan Micro Credit Company (Tamweelcom), and — most recently — Ethmar Islamic microfinance institution.
The Jubilee Institute offers access to early learning and leadership training in Jordan and the Arab world, while Jubilee School focuses on enhancing advanced education and innovation to prepare future leaders dedicated to their homeland.
This year, Queen Noor launched the “first smart classroom” at the school, which has obtained the International Baccalaureate accreditation and the international accreditation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) pedagogy.
Since 1999 and until mid-2015, Tamweelcom has offered its financial services to around 420,000 project owners with limited income.
As for Ethmar, Queen Noor launched it out of her commitment to promoting social inclusion and creating economic opportunities for those seeking alternatives to traditional micro-financing. Ethmar is scheduled to open its first branch in September.
Earlier this year, Queen Noor launched a business development incubator in Ajloun affiliated with the Community Development Programme, which also runs three other incubators distributed around Jordan.
The IFH, which administers 18 clinics including four at Syrian refugee camps, provided 17,435 medical services to Jordanians and refugees, in addition to 9,625 services to children with disabilities and 1,626 psychiatric consultations in the last six months.
This year, the International Arab Youth Congress (IAYC), launched in 1980 and hosted annually by the NCCA, marked its 34th year, with participants launching a youth-led community service initiative to be implemented in Jordan and other participating countries with the aim of enhancing the values of civic responsibility, tolerance and solidarity.
Not long after her marriage, Queen Noor became the honorary president of Jordan’s Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature.
She is also patron of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, founding president and honorary president emeritus of BirdLife International, trustee emeritus of Conservation International and a member of OceanElders.
Her Majesty also chairs the King Hussein Foundation International (KHFI), which, since 2001, has awarded the “King Hussein Leadership Prize” to individuals, groups, or institutions that demonstrate inspiring leadership in their efforts to promote sustainable development, human rights, tolerance, social equity and peace.
A long-time advocate for a just Arab-Israeli peace and for Palestinian refugees, Her Majesty is a board member of Refugees International.
Queen Noor is also a commissioner of the International Commission on Missing Persons.
She has two published books, “Hussein of Jordan” and “Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life”.
Queen Noor has four children — Their Royal Highnesses Princes Hamzah and Hashem and Princesses Iman and Raiyah — and eight grandchildren.