Former Queen of Jordan, Founder and Chairperson, Noor Al Hussein Foundation
Queen Noor is a global public servant and outspoken advocate for cross cultural understanding 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.
Queen Noor’s work in Jordan and the Arab world has focused on national and regional human security in the areas of education, conservation, sustainable development, human rights and cross-cultural understanding. Since 1979, the initiatives of the Noor Al Hussein and the King Hussein Foundations which she founded and chairs have transformed development thinking in Jordan and the Middle East through pioneering best practice programs in the fields of poverty eradication, women’s empowerment, microfinance, health, and arts as a medium for social development and cross-cultural exchange. The Foundations provide training and assistance in implementing these programs in the broader Arab and Asian regions.
Inspired as a student by the first Earth Day in 1970, Queen Noor has made environmental priorities an essential component of her work to promote human security and conflict resolution. After her marriage to King Hussein in 1978, Queen Noor became patron of Jordan’s Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN), the Middle East’s first environmental NGO responsible for planning nationwide nature reserves, environmental clubs and the integration of biodiversity concepts into curricula throughout the school system, for the region’s first eco-tourism/rural development projects and for programs to regulate diving, protect endangered marine species, and clean up coastal beaches and shores. RSCN programs have become models for conservation and sustainable development, and have provided training and capacity building throughout the Middle East.
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 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 both providing computers, books, exhibits, and hands-on educational and recreational activities focused on environmental protection, the sciences, health, and history.
The Queen is Patron of IUCN, the world’s oldest international conservation organization, Founding President and Honorary President Emeritus of BirdLife International, and Trustee Emeritus of Conservation International. Queen Noor has received the United Nations Environment Programme Global 500 Award among other honors for her activism in environmental protection, in promoting awareness, and in initiating community action for the preservation of Jordan’s natural heritage.
A long-time advocate for a just Arab-Israeli peace and for Palestinian refugees, Queen Noor is a Director of Refugees International and an outspoken voice for the protection of civilians in conflict and for displaced persons around the world. She is a Commissioner of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) the leading provider of DNA-assisted identifications to governments worldwide dealing with catastrophes and human rights cases.
Queen Noor has been an advisor to and global advocate for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines since 1998. She is a founding leader of Global Zero, an international movement working for the worldwide elimination of nuclear weapons and was an advisor to the 2010 film Countdown to Zero. She is also President of the United World Colleges, a Trustee of the Aspen Institute, and a Director of America Near East Refugee Aid.
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.