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HM Queen Noor

Her Majesty Queen Noor was born Lisa Najeeb Halaby to an Arab-American family distinguished for its public service. Upon her marriage to His Majesty King Hussein 1978, Queen Noor embraced her role as a Jordanian public servant focusing on national and regional human security issues in the areas of education, conservation, sustainable development, human rights and cross-cultural understanding.

She is also an outspoken voice on issues of international exchange and understanding of Arab, Muslim and Western relations, and conflict prevention and recovery issues such as refugees, missing persons, poverty, climate change and disarmament. Her peace-building work has focused 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), which she founded and chairs, have advanced development thinking in Jordan and the Middle East through pioneering programs 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, many of which are internationally acclaimed models for the developing world.NHF provides training and assistance in implementing these best practice programs in the broader Arab and Asian regions through the Institute for Family Health,WAGE: Women and Girls Empowerment- Securing the Future,Tamweelcom—the Jordan Micro Credit Company, and the Community Development Program. www.nooralhusseinfoundation.org

Queen Noor chairs the King Hussein Foundation and the King Hussein Foundation International (KHFI), which she founded in 1999 to build on King Hussein’s humanitarian vision and legacy in Jordan and abroad through national, regional and international programs that promote 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.The Foundation encompasses the Noor Al Hussein Foundation, the Jubilee Institute, the Information and Research Center, the National Center for Culture and Arts, and the National Music Conservatory. www.kinghusseinfoundation.org

Queen Noor’s appreciation for the role of culture and the arts in the formation of individual and national identity is alsoreflected in other pioneering initiatives such as the Jerash Festival for Culture and Arts and the National Handicrafts Development Project.

KHFI awards the annual King Hussein Leadership Prize to individuals, groups or institutions that demonstrate inspiring and courageous leadership in their efforts to promote sustainable development, human rights, tolerance, social equity and peace. Past recipients of the Prize are Professor Muhammed Yunus (2000), United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) (2001), Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization (2002), Mary Robinson (2003), Médecins Sans Frontières (2004), The Arab Human Development Reports, Dr. Rola Dashti, Saliha Djuderija, and OneVoice (2005), Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Seeds of Peace (2006), green energy entrepreneur Robert Freling (2008), and Just Vision and Palestinian peace activist Ayed Morrar (2010).


As President and Honorary President of United World Colleges, Queen Noor and Nelson Mandela unite to foster peace and international understanding through the global education initiative.

In May 2007, KHFI launched an annual Media and Humanity Program during New York City’s Tribeca Film Festival to promote media projects that bridge social, economic, political and cultural divides with special emphasis on the Middle East and the Muslim world. In April 2012, Queen Noor, who has supported the peace-building work of Just Vision through media advocacy and screenings of their acclaimed film, Budrusabout the Palestinian community organizer who launched the Palestinian nonviolent resistance movement and who was awarded the KHFI’s 2010 King Hussein Leadership Prize in Dubai, New York and Ramallah, introduced their latest film-My Neighborhood,which reports ontwo of the most pressing and related trends taking place in Jerusalem which are largely unreported in the American media:the unchecked growth of Israeli settlements inside long-standing Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem such as Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and Issawia, and the growing nonviolent movement to resist the settlement encroachment in East Jerusalem.

A long-time advocate for a just Arab-Israeli peace and for Palestinian refugees, Her Majesty is a board member of Refugees International and an outspoken voice for the protection of civilians in conflict and displaced persons around the world. She was a forceful advocate for the displaced of the first Gulf War as well as traveling to Pakistan, during 2001 war, to assess the situation of Afghan refugees and later advocated on behalf of the2.5 million Pakistanis forced to flee government-militant clashes in the northwest region. Her ongoing focus includes advocacy for Iraqis displaced in Iraq, Jordan, Syria and other countries after the 2003 Iraq conflict, and for the hundreds of thousands of Syrians displaced since the onset of the 2011 Syrian civil war.At the community level, the Noor Al-Hussein Foundation’s Institute for Family Health’s provides healthcare and critical psychosocial support and child protection services in coordination with UN, local, and international agencies to thousands of displaced Iraqi and Syrian families in Jordan through the region’s first specialized trauma treatment center and at camps near Jordan’s northern border.


Queen Noor meets with Iraqi refugees and volunteers at a healthcare services program run by the Noor Al Hussein Foundation and Jordanian Red Crescent for thousands of displaced Iraqis living in Jordan.

Also, in 2012, Queen Noor launched the Al Hashimi Center in East Amman, as well as a mobile ophthalmic unit in partnership with the private sector, to expand the Institute for Family Health’s comprehensive physical and psycho-social services to Jordan’s poverty pockets.

In 1980, following the Arab Summit Meeting in Amman, the Queen called for an annual meeting of Arab youth– the Arab Youth Congress, which for over 30 years has brought young people together in Amman from throughout the Arab world and, since 2004, from the international community to promote understanding, tolerance, and solidarity.KHF’s 2010 strategic partnership agreement with Abu Dhabi’s Family Development Foundation (FDF) has enhanced the Congress’ impact through cooperative initiatives including several International Arab Youth Awards in the name of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Supreme Chairwoman of FDF.

The Queen also founded the Jordan’s SOS Children’s Villages Association that has established three SOS children Villages, a school and youth facilities throughout the country. She is an honorary member of the General Assembly of the SOS-Kinderdorf International. In June, the 19th General Assembly of SOS Kinderdorf International awarded, Mama Hanan, an SOS Amman mother for 28 years, and grandmother of 21 SOS children, the 2012 Helmut Kutin prize for her distinguished efforts providing loving care for orphaned and abandoned children at the SOS villages among SOS mothers worldwide.

Queen Noor has made environmental priorities an essential component of her work to promote human security and conflict resolution. Not long after her marriage, Queen Noor became patron of Jordan’s Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN), the Middle East’s first environmental NGO.RSCN programs were early models for regional conservation and sustainable development, and have also provided training and capacity building to institutions throughout the Middle East.She also founded the Arab World’s first children’s museum, the Children’s Heritage and Science Museum, and in 1988 the Mobile Life and Science Museum, an outreach program targeting young people in rural areas, which provided computers, books, exhibits, and hands-on educational and recreational activities focussed on environmental protection, health, the sciences, and Jordan’s history.

Queen Noor chaired Jordan’s National Commission in 1990 which developed Jordan’s National Environment Strategy, the region’s first, and Jordan’s Environment Law which set standards for water use and quality, specifications to measure and control air pollution, and conditions for the establishment and operation of wild and aquatic nature reserves. She has received several international awards for her activism in environmental protection, in promoting awareness, and in initiating community action for the preservation of natural heritage.The Queen is Patron of IUCN, the oldest international conservation organization in the world, Founding President and Honorary President Emeritus of BirdLife International, trustee emeritus of Conservation International and a member of OceanElders.

Queen Noor has traveled extensively throughout the Balkans since her first humanitarian mission in 1996 after the tragic fall of Srebrenica. She is a Commissioner of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), created through the Dayton Accords to promote reconciliation and conflict resolution through the search for, recovery, and identification of the estimated 40,000 missing persons from the armed conflicts in the Balkans.With the ICMP’s help, an historic and unprecedented 70% of those 40,000, have been accounted for.ICMP's groundbreaking forensic DNA identification system, which is the leading provider of DNA-assisted identifications to countries worldwide dealing with natural catastrophes and human rights cases including, Iraq, Libya and Lebanon. Her Majesty has overseen ICMP’s families/community reconciliation programs and advocated with the leaders of BiH to finalize the establishment of The Missing Persons Institute, critical to resolution of the tragedy of tens of thousands of missing and murdered in the 1990s Balkans conflicts.


During a four day visit to Liberia, Queen Noor paid a moral-boosting visit to Jordanian peacekeeping troops and joined President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson in groundbreaking ceremonies for several new schools.

She has also been an expert advisor to the United Nations focusing on Colombia’s displaced as well as implementation of the MDGs in Central Asia.

Queen Noor has been an advisor to, and global advocate for, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines since 1998, advocating for Jordan’s accession to the treaty as well as with governments in Central and Southeast Asia, the Balkans, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, supporting NGOs, and land mine survivors struggling to recover and reclaim their lives.

At the invitation of President Andres Pastrana and President Alvaro Uribe Velez, Queen Noor undertook several humanitarian missions to Colombia to try to negotiate a series of humanitarian accords with the leaders of the country’s guerilla insurgency on landmines, child soldiers and kidnappings, to promote mine awareness programs in rural and conflict areas with UNDP, to advocate against the use of anti-personnel mines, especially in civilian areas, and to oversee the destruction of Columbia’s last arsenal of anti-personnel mines.


At the invitation of President Alvaro Uribe Velez, Queen Noor has undertaken several humanitarian missions to Colombia to negotiate various peace accords and de-mining agreements with rebels.

She is a founding leader of Global Zero, an international movement working for the worldwide elimination of nuclear weapons. She represented Global Zero at the historic 2009 UN Security Council meeting, which endorsed the goal of global zero, and was an advisor to the 2010 film Countdown to Zero- a powerful documentary film about the escalating global nuclear arms threat.


Queen Noor is involved with a number of other international organizations advancing global peace-building and conflict recovery. She is President of the United World Colleges, (UWC), a network of 13 equal-opportunity international IB colleges around the world which foster cross-cultural understanding and global peace;a Trustee of the Aspen Institute, and a Board Member of America Near East Refugee Aid. She is Honorary Chair of the McGill Middle East Program in Civil Society and Peace Building, which brings together Jordanians, Palestinians, and Israelis to improve the living conditions of the region’s poor.Her Majesty also serves as a member of the Pew Global Attitudes Survey International Advisory Board.

In recognition of her efforts to advance development, democracy and peace, Queen Noor has been awarded numerous awards and honorary doctorates in international relations, law and humane letters.

She has published two books,Hussein of Jordan (KHF Publishing, 2000) and Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life (Miramax Books, 2003), a New York Times best seller published in 17 languages.

Queen Noor has four children, Their Royal Highnesses Princes Hamzah and Hashim and Princesses Iman and Raiyah.

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