On the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Queen Rania of Jordan sat down for an interview with CNBC’s Tania Bryant for her show CNBC Conversation where she discussed an array of different topics including education, the Rohingya refugee crisis, Jordan’s own refugee situation and US President Donald Trump’s view on Palestine.
In Her Majesty’s view, education is the key to defeating the Islamic extremist ideology. She said, “We have over 15 million children, in my part of the world, who don’t attend school, because of conflict and displacement.
“You know more than I do that jobs and opportunities and hope are the strongest antidotes to extremism. And education is a prerequisite for hope, and so we really need to take urgent action, and because we can’t wait.”
During the World Economic Forum, Queen Rania announced the launch of the free new learning platform for Arab children, Edraak. It was developed with the support of a grant from Google worth USD 3 million. The partnership between Google and the Queen Rania Foundation for Education and Development (QRF) was announced in May 2017.
At the time her press office said, “The platform was created in answer to rampant unrest across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), where according to UNICEF more than 15 million children are out of school as a result of armed conflicts and displacement.”
The turmoil in the region has directly impacted the education of young children in the refugee-host countries like Jordan. These nations have had their education systems strained due to the influx of refugee students. Her Majesty said the refugee situation in Jordan “had a devastating impact on our country.”
The Queen went on to tell Bryant, “For me, [education] is the most important thing. It is the game changer. It is the thing that can change the trajectory for the Arab world” She continued that it could also “tip the scales towards a more hopeful future for us all.
“I always say, a child that’s denied an education isn’t just a tragedy for that child. It leaves the rest of us vulnerable, because, as you know now, conflict is mobile. A problem, anywhere in the world, can reach our doorstep.”
Queen Rania spoke about how the international response to the global refugee crisis, including the ongoing Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh where she visited in October, has been lacking. “Some countries have been generous, and we are very grateful for that. But the scale and the scope of the crisis way out weights the support that we are getting,” she said.
She added that is a humanitarian issue, and therefore “a global issue.” Her Majesty later added that the global community “really needs to prioritise this issue.”
Regarding President Trump’s immigration and Palestine stance, Queen Rania expressed her belief that his view on “shunning people away, based on their nationality, or their background” will be harmful to American society. More, she said that the recognising of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by the United States made America “a biased broker.”
“We need to go back to the building of the trust. Jerusalem should be a city of hope for everyone. It is a symbol of peace, for Muslims, Christians and Jews alike,” she added.
She ended her interview with a bit of hope saying about the Arab region, “I feel hopeful not for what is, but for what can be, if we take the right policies, and we adopt a different mentality.”