Keynote Speech by HM Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan

Queen Rania begins by praising Turkey’s steadfast commitment to the millions of refugees it has welcomed inside its borders and its geostrategic significance in the region. On the other hand, Her Majesty pointed to the fact that even if nations share different worldviews, rooted deep in the core of our humanity, we share the same over-arching aspirations for the world: peace, justice and security for all. The realization of these ideals is a constant unyielding struggle, but it must remain our mission. The image of the dead body of little Alan Al-Kurdi found on the Turkish shore of Bodrum forced the world to confront the true cost of war and the terrifying outcome of global inaction. Queen Rania criticized how the political and humanitarian goodwill this incident generated was short-lived, and how the concern for the refugee crisis once again receded. Unfortunately, people have become accustomed to news of displaced people dying at sea and to images of bloody children pulled from rubble. Her Majesty added that one of the key facets of human nature is the universal impulse to help those in need. On the individual level, this reflex to lend a helping hand is very effective, but in the face of mass atrocities, too often we fail to act decisively. Queen Rania, however, added that great headway has been made in turning the world into a safer, more inclusive place. Her Majesty stressed that even in the darkest of places, the best of humanity continues to shine through, and among the heartache there is so much time left to cherish, thus now is not the time to disengage. Her Majesty ended her speech by quoting Martin Luther King who once said “we must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” Hence, our challenge today and every day is to confront the harshest realities of our world without losing sight of our ideals and to remain steadfast in our refusal to accept the unacceptable.