Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan delivered the keynote address of the XIN Philanthropy Conference on Wednesday, 5 September in Hangzhou, China. In her remarks at the Alibaba Group’s conference, she called for a global response to the education crisis.
The Queen also spoke about the importance of charity, stressing that generosity is vital to the survival of humankind. “Giving isn’t only the right thing to do, in the sense of helping others. Giving is also the best thing to do, in the sense of helping ourselves.
“It is the product of our heads and of our hearts. It is the expression of both logic and love. It is where passion meets purpose,” Queen Rania stated.
At the same time, she acknowledged the many challenges (climate change, terrorism, poverty and hunger) facing the world today and how those challenges can be overcome. Her Majesty remarked, “Human beings are capable of extraordinary things because we are driven by the impulse to try. And when it comes to giving, that impulse to try transcends cultures, generations, and geographies.”
Education, which Her Majesty called a “source of all human progress, the antidote to extremism, and the foundation of any peaceful society,” was identified as a significant issue which needs both logic and love – especially in areas like the Middle East which are in an education crisis. She explained, “Civil war and armed conflict dominate the news headlines, but hidden behind them is another tragedy; violence and forced displacement are preventing more than 15 million of our children from attending school.”
The Syrian Civil War has led to thousands of Syrians fleeing the war-torn country with many relocating to nearby Jordan. As a result, the education system in Jordan has become strained and overwhelmed with so many more students entering the system. The Queen explained, “Our public education system has been strained to breaking point, and many of our own children are not learning the skills they will need to meet the demands of tomorrow’s job market.”
“Our single greatest natural resource has always been our human capital. But the crisis in our education system has put that resource in jeopardy,” she continued while asking the international community to “o bring the same sense of urgency, innovation, and generosity to this issue as it has to other international emergencies.”
The strain on the education system has the potential to prevent Arab youth from combating the world’s most pressing issues like terrorism, climate change and disease. She stressed that they could help tackle these issues but only if “they are given a fighting chance to participate” adding that “solving this crisis will take a global movement fueled by logic and by love.”
The Queen also expressed her passion for “cultivating this movement.” She initiated a launchpad to advance education through the Queen Rania Foundation for Education and Development (QRF) which was founded in 2013. Her foundation partnered two years later with Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology “to launch Edraak, a free, open-source, online learning platform that brings quality education to Arabic-speaking students everywhere—including those confined to conflict zones and refugee camps.”
Queen Rania made sure to thank China for its excellent relationship with Jordan and its support for the refugees that have travelled to the Hashemite Kingdom.
Her Majesty attended the 2018 XIN Philanthropy Conference alongside 600 other attendees from across the globe.