Rania Al-Abdullah (Arabic: ?, R?niy? al-?Abd All?h; born Rania Al-Yassin on 31 August 1970) is the queen consort of Jordan. Born in Kuwait to a Palestinian family, she later moved to Jordan for work, where she met the then prince Abdullah. Since marrying the now King of Jordan in 1993, she has become known for her advocacy work related to education, health, community empowerment, youth, cross-cultural dialogue and micro-finance. She is also an avid user of social media and she maintains pages on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. She has two daughters and two sons and has been awarded various decorations by governments.
She met Jordanian Abdullah bin Al-Hussein, who was a prince at that time, at a dinner party in August 1992. Six months later, they announced their engagement. On 10 June 1993, they were married. The couple has four children:
Her husband ascended the throne on 7 February 1999, and proclaimed her queen on 22 March 1999. Without the proclamation she would have been a princess consort, like her mother-in-law, Princess Muna al-Hussein.
Areas of work
Since her marriage, Queen Rania has used her position to advocate for various sectors of society in Jordan and beyond.
Queen Rania during a dinner celebrating the partnership between the Sesame Workshop and the Mosaic Foundation in Washington, D.C., May 2006
Over the past few years, Queen Rania has launched, championed, and given patronage to several initiatives in education and learning.
In July 2005, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, the King and Queen launched an annual teachers' award, the Queen Rania Award for Excellence in Education.
The Queen is Chairperson of Jordan's first interactive children's museum. Opened in May 2007, it aims to encourage and nurture lifelong learning for children and their families. In April 2008, the Queen launched "Madrasati" ("My School"), a public-private initiative aimed at refurbishing 500 of Jordan's public schools over a five-year period. In higher education, the Queen Rania Scholarship Program partners with several universities from around the world. Queen Rania is also Chairperson of the Royal Health Awareness Society (RHAS).
The Jordan River Children Program (JRCP) was developed by Queen Rania to place children's welfare above political agendas and cultural taboos. This led to the launch, in 1998, of JRF's Child Safety Program, which addresses the immediate needs of children at risk from abuse and initiated a long-term campaign to increase public awareness about violence against children. The deaths of two children in Amman as a result of child abuse in early 2009 led Queen Rania to call for an emergency meeting of government and non-government (including JRF) stakeholders to discuss where the system was failing.
In 2009, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of her husband's accession to the throne, Queen Rania launched a community champion award (Ahel Al Himmeh) in March to highlight the accomplishments of groups and individuals who have helped their local communities.
Queen Rania has stated that an essential aspect of education is to equip young people with the necessary skills to perform well in the workplace.
She initiated the Al-Aman Fund for the Future of Orphans in 2003, and has partnered with international universities providing scholarships for Jordanian students abroad. She supports INJAZ Al-Arab, which was established by Save the Children in 1999, and later on with Junior Achievement and launched as a Jordanian non-profit organization by the Queen in 2001. In her capacity as Regional Ambassador of INJAZ Al-Arab, she has taught classes, and engaged in dialogue with young people in other countries; she also launched INJAZ Al-Arab's presence elsewhere in the Arab world. She also chaired a discussion with entrepreneurs in celebration of INJAZ Al-Arab's 10th anniversary, showcasing alumni's success stories  At the 2008 World Economic Forum in Davos, she launched the "Empowering One Million Arab Youth by 2018" campaign, which was conceived by INJAZ Arabia.
In November 2000, in recognition of her commitment to the cause of children and youth, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) invited Queen Rania to join its Global Leadership Initiative. The Queen worked alongside other world leaders, including former South African President Nelson Mandela, in a global movement seeking to improve the welfare of children. In January 2007, Queen Rania was named UNICEF's first Eminent Advocate for Children. In August 2009, Queen Rania became Honorary Global Chair of the United Nations Girls' Education Initiative (UNGEI).
As a longtime supporter of the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), Queen Rania met with children and inspirational women in South Africa, both in the cities of Johannesburg and Soweto, in March 2009. Queen Rania and the women took turns reading a short story out of The Big Read to the children, in an effort to encourage literacy. One of the stories in the book, "Maha of the Mountains", was contributed by Queen Rania.
In Soweto, she was the first to write her name in the back of the Big Read, before passing it on to everyone else to write their name.
During her April 2009 US trip, Queen Rania joined leading education advocates Congresswoman Nita Lowey and Counsellor to the Secretary of the Treasury Gene Sperling to launch "The Big Read" as part of Global Campaign for Education's global action week calling for quality basic education for all children. She was also hosted by first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, during that same trip.
On 20 August 2009, Queen Rania co-founded and led the launch of the "1GOAL: Education for All" campaign alongside Gary Lineker, and with the help of top international footballers at Wembley Stadium, London. Queen Rania is co-founder and global co-chair of the 1GOAL campaign to rally World Cup 2010 fans together during the world's biggest single sporting event and call on world leaders to give 75 million children out of school an education. On 6 October 2009, Queen Rania was joined by Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the UK, the President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, and other heads of state, for the Global Launch of 1GOAL, which took place across six locations worldwide. Queen Rania spoke of the need to turn this "tragedy into triumph" and called on political leaders to stand by their aid commitments.
Queen Rania has also been particularly vocal about the importance of cross cultural and interfaith dialogue to foster greater understanding, tolerance and acceptance across the world. She has used her status to correct what she sees as misconceptions in the West about the Arab world. Forbes magazine ranked her as one of the world's 100 most powerful women in 2011.
Queen Rania has also used YouTube as a way to promote intercultural dialogue by calling on young people around the world to engage in a global dialogue to dismantle stereotypes of Muslims and the Arab world. She has also made public appearances, including a half-hour television interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show on 17 May 2006, where she spoke about misconceptions about Islam and especially women in Islam. For her work in reaching out across cultures she received the North-South Prize from the Council of Europe in March 2009 and the first ever YouTube Visionary Award in November 2008. For her work in cross-cultural peace dialogue Queen Rania accepted the PeaceMaker Award. from the Non-Profit Seeds of Peace.
In May 2009, Queen Rania attended the fifth Young Global Leaders Summit at the Dead Sea, Jordan, to address socio-economic challenges facing the region and had trips organized for the Young Global Leaders in which they visited local Madrasati schools, the Jordan River Foundation, and other affiliated organizations.
When it comes to youth, in early 2002 Queen Rania joined the Board of Directors of the International Youth Foundation, based in Baltimore, Maryland, in the United States. In September 2006, Queen Rania also joined the United Nations Foundation Board of Directors. The UN Foundation builds and implements public-private partnerships to address the world's most pressing problems, and broadens support for the UN through advocacy and public outreach.
An emissary for the United Nations' International Year of Microcredit in 2005, Queen Rania's belief in microfinance and her partnership with FINCA has generated more Jordanian micro-businesses, with the official opening of FINCA Jordan in February 2008.
On 30 March 2008, Queen Rania launched her own YouTube channel, initially to invite viewers to give their opinions of the Middle East and talk about stereotypes they may have of Arabs and Muslims. Between 30 March and 12 August (International Youth Day), Queen Rania posted videos on YouTube in which she asked people to send her their questions about Islam and the Arab world. She provided responses to those questions and explained her view of the truth about various Arab and Muslim stereotypes. Over five months she posted videos on subjects that included honour killings, terrorism and the rights of Arab women. International personalities such as Dean Obeidallah,Maz Jobrani, and YouTube star Mia Rose also contributed videos to the campaign.
Queen Rania also links some of her recent interviews to her YouTube channel, such as her interview with Wolf Blitzer in CNN's "Situation Room", in April 2009. During this two part interview, Queen Rania discussed the importance of education. Queen Rania also uploads other videos on topics close to her heart, such as her appeal to support UNRWA's work in Gaza following the Israeli assault in late December 2008/early January 2009.
Queen Rania is followed by more than 10.6 million people on Twitter.
Queen Rania is also a member of Facebook, with her own fan page aimed at engaging people to discuss cross-cultural dialogue, education, and more recently, the use of social media to create social change. Along with her YouTube videos that have been uploaded, photos of her personal and public life can be found. As of 7 February 2018, more than "16 million" people have "Liked" her page.
To coincide with the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Jordan on Friday, 8 May 2009, Queen Rania started using the micro-blogging website Twitter with the username @QueenRania. On the occasion of the World Economic Forum held at the Dead Sea in Jordan, June 2009, Queen Rania conducted her first Twitter interview, answering five questions from the general public via her Twitter account.
When she joined Twitter, she also gave an interview with TechCrunch on "how Twitter can help change the world", where she said It's about using social media for social change: creating a community of advocates who can use their voices on behalf of the voiceless, or leverage their talents, skills, knowledge, and resources to put more children into classrooms, or pressure their elected representatives to get global education top of the agenda.
Her tweets have ranged from the personal, including photos of herself and her family, to more serious topics like the typhoon Ketsana in the Philippines, the 2009 Iranian presidential election protests, peace in the Middle East, and promoting Jordan, global education, and initiatives like 1GOAL. As of July 2017, Queen Rania has about 7 million followers.
As a tribute to King Hussein, and on the first anniversary of his death, Queen Rania produced "The King's Gift", a children's book about King Hussein. Proceeds of the book go to the benefit of underprivileged children across Jordan. (ISBN1854795724, Michael O'Mara Books, 2000)
Queen Rania's second book, entitled "Eternal Beauty", which she wrote in celebration of Mother's Day 2008 tells the story of a young girl's conversation with a little sheep as she searches for the most beautiful thing in the world. The book was released as part of the Greater Amman Municipality's contest - Mama's Story.
For the 2009 Big Read event, Queen Rania wrote "Maha of the Mountains", which tells of a young girl's determination to get an education and the challenges she faced.
The Sandwich Swap is a book inspired by an incident in Queen Rania's childhood. It tells the story of Lily and Salma, two best friends, who argue over the 'yucky' taste of their respective peanut butter and jelly and hummus sandwiches. The girls then overcome and embrace their differences. The book was co-authored by Queen Rania and Kelly DiPucchio.(ISBN1423124847, Hyperion Books, 20 April 2010) In May 2010 the book went to the top of the New York Times Bestseller List for children's books.
In September 2002, Queen Rania became a member of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Foundation Board. She is also on the Foundation Board of the Forum of Young Global Leaders (YGL) and has been the Chairperson for the Nominations and Selection Committee since July 2004, when the forum was established.