“In every generation, there are leaders who stand a little taller than those around them. Whose light shines a little brighter than their contemporaries. Queen Rania is such a figure,” noted Richard Levin, President of Yale University. Jordan’s Queen Rania Al Abdullah, has led an efficacious role beyond the royal realm. At a very young age, she was capable of impressing a plethora of distinguished scholars and figures with her dedication for developmental and humanitarian causes. In an unparalleled effort to change the world, her activism managed to ubiquitously raise awareness for issues such as women’s rights, education and cross-cultural dialogue. Her values and generous spirit inspire us all to work harder for those most in need. So, as Queen Rania turns 50 on August 31, we look to some of her greatest life lessons.
“Learn to love the old and the new”
In her children’s book The Sandwich Swap, Queen Rania of Jordan focuses on this lesson. The story revolves around best friends Salma and Lily who experience their first encounter with foreign cuisine. Salma has a hummus and pita sandwich while Lily is given peanut butter and jelly – the different foods present a culture clash, putting their friendship to test. The girls eventually resolve their issues by deciding to share their food. In an interview Queen Rania explained, “It’s important for us to teach our children not to fear diversity, not to fear the unknown, wonderful things can be found in the most unexpected of places even in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. That was a really simple lesson, that on a subconscious level I think changed my whole outlook towards life – it made me more accepting of differences.”
“We have to show up in our lives as ourselves, no matter what role we play or what title we carry”
In an interview with Oprah, Queen Rania explained how she’s teaching her children not to let their titles define them and influence how they perceive themselves, with emphasis on the importance of distancing the person from the persona.
“Once you feel that others are like you, then you want for others what you like for yourself”
As a global citizen, Queen Rania stresses the importance of cross-cultural dialogue. She believes that even the most detached of bridges can be effortlessly mended through simple conversations. Reminding us all of the power and potential of our common humanity.
“Aiming for perfectionism isn’t the goal”
When the topic of work-life balance arises, Queen Rania advises us to be “a little kinder” to ourselves and to avoid being idealistic. After all, she is balancing her role as an author, a mother, an advocate, a humanitarian and a Queen. “If you are trying to be a perfectionist, then you’re always going for either 100% or zero, which means that you go through life averaging 50%,” she said. “But if you accept the 70%, then you’re averaging 70% in your life, which is better.”
“Girls have the power to transform a society, educate a girl and you educate a nation”
As a champion of women’s rights, Her Majesty consistently stresses the importance of educating women and challenging the status quo. She believes that some of the most pressing issues of our world can be solved through empowering women, for women have the power of transforming societies.
“Remember what matters and act on it”
With social media, most of us tend to assume that by simply liking and sharing a photo, we have completed our role in making a change or solving a problem. However, Queen Rania reminds us that we must move beyond our role as social media users and to take real action in real life. “Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words, but a share and a like are no substitute for action,” she declared.
“Give some of your time to others, but don’t let anyone rob you of it. Treasure it and invest it wisely”
It is estimated that the average person will spend more than five years of their life on social media. In an attempt to raise awareness of this issue, Queen Rania’s advice particularly for the youth, is not to spend too much time online – instead invest time in improving themselves and those around them.
During the Arab Social Media Summit, Queen Rania took the stage and shared some of the findings she had cultivated after a decade of being an active social media user. She encouraged influencers to use their platform wisely to promote what is right and leading with one’s values.