Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah
NEW YORK, USA, 15 July 2009 -
Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, on Wednesday, was appointed Honorary Global Chair of the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) in recognition of her efforts to promote access, quality, and innovation in education both in Jordan and across the globe. In her capacity as Honorary Chair, Queen Rania will continue to advocate on behalf of girls who are denied an education, supporting UNGEI’s commitment to realizing a world where all girls and boys are empowered through quality education.
A tireless advocate of children’s welfare and an impassioned supporter of global education as a path out of poverty, Her Majesty believes education has the potential to transform our societies, giving hope to all people and especially to the 75 million children who remain out of school and, in Queen Rania’s words, are effectively “losing out on life.”
“UNGEI is proof that mountains can be moved. Their open embrace of partnerships around the world, from the largest government to the smallest NGO, has shown how we can overcome one of the toughest challenges in the world,” said Her Majesty Queen Rania who is known to have previously called education “more than a basic human right.”
Commending UNGEI’s success since its inception in 2000, Queen Rania highlighted the achievements of several UNGEI initiatives, noting that it is because of these efforts and UNGEI’s ability to convene and leverage a multiplicity of global partners that “in the last nine years, the number of out of school children has dropped by nearly a third, while for girls that number has plummeted by two thirds.”
“In Uganda, where conflict has prevented students from going to school, UNGEI is reaching out to over a million children and thousands of teachers to get the country’s education system back on track; in Nepal, the Girls’ Education Network has boosted enrolment and set the country on a path to achieve universal primary education by 2015 – the second Millennium Development Goal,” continued Her Majesty.
Expressing confidence in UNGEI’s vision and field work, Her Majesty also added: “I am honored to be named the Honorary Global Chair of UNGEI. They are in the halls of power, promoting and protecting the rights of every girl to receive an education. Yet they are also in the field, spreading innovative ideas, channeling resources, and supporting local initiatives.”
Despite many such successes, however, Her Majesty noted much more needs to be done to ensure every girl goes to school and earns the future she deserves. “Government leaders must recognize girls’ education as a top priority and create the legal framework to treat them fairly,” stressed Her Majesty.
On her part, Queen Rania reiterated her long-standing support for inclusive education, pledging to address gender inequality and the empowerment of women and girls. “We must support UNGEI and renew our commitment to the world’s children, especially girls. And, that’s why I’m speaking out: so their story does not go untold.”
Queen Rania, who has served as UNICEF’s First Eminent Advocate for Children since 2007, has led a number of initiatives which bring the education cause at the forefront of her priorities: she has worked to combat illiteracy and advance educational reform in Jordan by upgrading outdated school curricula and enhancing professional development for teachers.
Last year, Her Majesty launched Madrasati, a bold initiative that partners the public and private sector for the restoration of neglected public schools across the Kingdom. In an effort to improve school facilities and create an inspiring learning environment for children in some of Jordan’s most dilapidated schools, Madrasati has since succeeded in refurbishing over 100 schools.