Queen Rania of Jordan receives humanitarian award at Microsoft campus
By MARY STEVENS DECKER
Redmond Reporter Reporter
May 19, 2010 · Updated 4:42 PM
The Tech Museum of Innovation hosted the reception with Microsoft Corporation, The Tech Awards education category sponsor, and Applied Materials, the James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award sponsor and The Tech Awards sponsor.
The Tech Awards honor innovators who apply technology to benefit humanity. Microsoft co-founder and chairman Bill Gates and former Vice President and Nobel laureate Al Gore are among past recipients of the humanitarian award.
Queen Rania is known as a passionate promoter of education and human rights. Her Jordan River Foundation gives skills and resources to families living in poverty and helps them to become self-sufficient. Working with UNICEF and organizations such as the Clinton Global Initiative and World Economic Forum, she advocates for disadvantaged children and in her own words, spoken at the Microsoft Visitor Center, wants them to know “the impossible is possible ... no dream is too big.”
She said she wants to “bring light to darkness and hope to hopelessness” and fervently believes that technology such as social media “can help build bridges of understanding. Only on truth can you build a foundation of peace.”
As just one example, Queen Rania, who is an Arab, Muslim woman, cited her YouTube channel, where she invited people to submit videos about their stereotypes of Muslims, “to start a debate, get people to air their views,” she said.
Technology, she noted, can also give generous people the ability to quickly mobilize and react in times of crisis, such as the outpouring of support for earthquake relief in Haiti.
From the Internet to Twitter, technology has had “a positive impact in terms of human value,” said the queen.
Representing Applied Materials at the reception, Mary Humiston, senior vice president of human resources, agreed, “Social media levels the playing field, gives solid opportunities to reach out, respond. ... It’s open to everyone.”
Dan Lewin, corporate vice president of strategic and emerging business for Microsoft Corporation, commented, “Networks remove distance. That started with the Internet. As new applications emerge ... we’re just reducing distance between what people can see and how this can spread.”
A native of Germany, Peter Friess, president of the Tech Museum of Innovation, recalled how satellite TV captured the powerful image of the Berlin Wall crumbling in 1989.
“It overcame borders and walls and changed political systems,” said Friess.
Queen Rania will formally receive the James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award at The Tech Museum, in the San Francisco Bay area, this November.
Friess stated that visitors to the museum are reminded to use science and technology for the greater good, “to make lives better ... and keep this world in good shape.”
Stunningly beautiful and elegant, Queen Rania is also known for her unpretentious nature. According to her Web site, she once remarked, “I just wake up and feel like a regular person. At the end of the day, you are living your life for the people that you represent. It’s an honor and privilege to have that chance to make a difference — a quantitative difference in people’s lives — and it’s my responsibility to make the most out of that opportunity.”
Queen Rania is married to King Abdullah II of Jordan, is the mother of four children and has written children’s stories such as “The Sandwich Swap,” in which two little girls learn about diversity while trading lunches.
To learn more about the James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award and its 2010 recipient Queen Rania, visit http://www.techawards.org/global_humanitarian/
To view more photos of Queen Rania's visit to Redmond, visit Reporter photographer Chad Coleman's blog.Contact Redmond Reporter Reporter Mary Stevens Decker at firstname.lastname@example.org or (425) 867-0353, ext. 5052.