Wednesday

Queen Rania Of Jordan: Breaking Stereotypes

Whenever I meet people during my travels, it’s understandable that when it comes to the Middle East, people’s geography gets foggy, but when I mention Jordan, people’s faces light up, “Oh, Queen Rania.”

The beautiful Jordanian Queen who has the physique of a model often makes headlines with her elegant yet trend conscious ensembles. The glamorous style icon is constantly featured on the best-dressed lists and is known to be a patron of artistic endeavors.

But it’s not just her sartorial choices or beautiful face that have made her popular, Queen Rania projects herself as an advocate for social and political justice. She is known to be active on her social media channels in order to reach out to the world and break stereotypical images of what being Muslim and Arab looks like. She often challenges cultural and religious perceptions through dialogue saying: “We shouldn't judge people through the prism of our own stereotypes.”

Though there are a number of worthy causes the Queen is involved in both internationally and at home, her true passion lies in education. With internationally recognized educational achievements and initiatives like the Jordan Educative Initiative and the Queen Rania Teachers Academy, she hopes to drive innovation in her country's youth.

Watching her speak at an IRA Convention speech about literacy, I couldn’t help but admire Queen Rania. It’s true that her appearance is the first thing that caught my eye, but she has a charisma which makes her seem to be made for her role. Her passion for education and literacy is an admirable step towards world understanding and peace, as she says: “Literacy enriches; it can help us appreciate other people and other cultures. Because for all our shared progress, for all the technology narrowing the spaces between us, and for all the ease with which we can cross borders and time-zones, I worry that, today, our global community is fraught with cracks and, in some places, even chasms.”

On top of all her humanitarian achievements such as the Walther Rathenau Award for her efforts to greater peace and understanding, the Queen is also a New York Times Best selling children’s author. The Sandwich Swap is a children’s book involving two little girls from different cultural backgrounds, inspired by her own experiences in the playground. In the book we discover that food, like cultural perceptions, can be deceptive. The message of the book is simple but brilliant in helping people find shared commonalities rather than differences, something very relevant today.

Article and illustration by Noor Bashiti

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