Her Majesty, Queen Noor of Jordan, was born Lisa Najeeb Halaby in Washington D.C., to an Arab-American family distinguished for its public services. She is the daughter of Najeeb Halaby, a former CEO of Pan American World Airways and has two younger siblings, Christopher and Alexa. Education:
Queen Noor attended the National Cathedral School and then moved to Concord Academy in Massachusetts. She then attended Princeton University with its co-educational freshman class and received a B.A. in Architecture and Urban Planning in 1974
. She met King Hussein while working in Jordan on the development of the Amman Intercontinental Airport and the couple was married on June 15, 1978
. The former Lisa Halaby converted to Islam and before the marriage took place, her first name was changed from Lisa to Noor, an Arabic word meaning “light”. Sadly, King Hussein died at the age of 63 due to a serious illness. Queen Noor is the mother of four children, Prince Hamzah, Prince Hashim, Princess Iman and Princess Raiyah.
After graduation, she participated in several international urban planning and design projects in the United States, Australia, Iran, Jordan and other countries in the Middle East. In l976
, she began work on the preparation of a master plan for the Arab Air University to be established in Amman. Subsequently she joined Alia, the Royal Jordanian Airline, in l977
as Director of Planning and Design.
Queen Noor is actively involved in a number of international organizations advancing global peace-building and conflict recovery, and advises the United Nations on these issues. She is president of the United World Colleges, Chair of the United Nations University International Leadership Academy, Advisor to Women Waging Peace, Seeds of Peace and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Patron of the World Conservation Union, trustee of the Aspen Institute, Conservation International, World Wildlife Fund International, Refugees International, and a member of the International Commission on Missing Persons among other affiliations.
The Noor Al Hussein Foundation (NHF) was established by Royal Decree in 1985 to help improve the overall quality of life of Jordanians by responding to their diverse socio-economic needs, introducing innovative, dynamic and sustainable development models, and setting national and regional standards of excellence. Chaired by Her Majesty Queen Noor, NHF and its programs have helped advance development thinking in Jordan by progressing beyond charity-oriented social welfare practices to integrate social development strategies more closely with national priorities.
The Noor Al Hussein Foundation has been working in five main areas: community development, women and enterprise development, micro-finance, child and family health, and culture and arts. In the twenty-one years since its establishment, the NHF has developed pioneering projects that have become an integral part of Jordan’s economic and social development and have served thousands of needy families. These projects have received regional and international recognition as development models and training centers, particularly on women’s empowerment and poverty alleviation programs.
In 1980, the Queen convened the first Arab Children's Congress which annually brings together young representatives from throughout the Arab world in a program designed to promote understanding and solidarity. In 1981, Queen Noor, with a group of Jordanian philanthropists, faculty and students from Yarmouk University in Jordan, founded the Jerash Festival for Culture and Arts to promote Jordanian, Arab and international cultural and artistic interaction at one of Jordan's most important archeological sites. The annual festival has developed as a vibrant meeting place for Arab and international performing of Jordanian and as a dynamic catalyst for the promotion of Jordanian and Arab culture.
In 1984 Queen Noor assumed responsibility for the implementation of an educational project to commemorate His Majesty King Hussein's Silver Jubilee. The Jubilee School, which opened in 1993, is an independent, coeducational secondary school for outstanding scholarship students from throughout the country and the region. The School is dedicated to the development of the intellect and leadership potential of Jordanian and other Arab students with special emphasis on students from underprivileged area. The School's Center for Excellence in Education seeks to enhance national educational standards through the development of innovative curricula, training programs for teachers.
The National Music Conservatory was initiated by Queen Noor in 1985 to develop accomplished musicians in classical Arabic and Western music, to foster music appreciation and to promote teacher training and public school music curricula in Jordan. Its annual program includes concerts, recitals and instruction by local and world renowned international musicians.
Internationally, Queen Noor is a founding member of the International Commission of Peace and Food, an honorary member of the General Assembly of the SOS-Kinderdorf International, a director on the global board of the Hunger Project, Chairman of the advisory board of the Center for the Study of the Global South at American University, Chair of the honorary board of the International Council for Women in the Arts, a member of the International Council of the Near East Foundation, and a member of the honorary Global Committee of the Center for development and Population Activities. She is Patron of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, President and Patron of the British Society of the St. John Ophthalmic Hospital Jerusalem and a member of the International Commission for the Revival of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. In 1980, she initiated The Jordan Society in the United States to promote understanding and closer ties between Jordan and America. Queen Noor is a trustee of the Concord Academy in Massachusetts.
Why was Her Royal Highness, Queen Noor chosen to be a part of Who’s Who Amongst Arab Women?
Queen Noor was chosen because she is an excellent humanitarian element in the country of Jordan. Her contribution the people of Jordan has been appreciated widely. Her efforts have paid off immensely and she continues to provide more and more for her country each day. Queen Noor is a role model and inspiration for all Arab females.