On Sunday, September 11, 2016, Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan was in Florence, Italy, where she received the Humanitarian Award from the Andrea Bocelli Foundation in recognition of her advocacy for refugees, children’s rights, and community empowerment.
Per a press release:
In her acceptance speech at the Gala dinner in Florence, the Queen referenced the transformations ushered by the 16th century Renaissance, calling for a new Renaissance ‘that drives humanity to give its best just when the stakes are highest.’
While praising Florence as the cradle of the Renaissance, which ushered in a progressive age of humanity, Queen Rania explained that the world desperately needs a new Renaissance that re-energizes the shared instinct for common decency and compassion, in order to “counter the ugliness of those forces that seek to wreak havoc on us.”
Highlighting the urgency required, Her Majesty described ‘forces at work’ as responsible for the violence perpetrated by extremists in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Nigeria, and beyond that are ‘determined to drag civilization back into the Dark Ages.’
‘They want us to live in a world of black and white, where the only color is the red of bloodshed,’ the Queen explained.
In a clear reference to Daesh, the Queen said their priority is to destroy the heritage, art, and any sign of civilization in the region.
Queen Rania mentioned the historic city of Palmyra in Syria and Iraq’s Nimrud as examples of these transgressions.
‘They have declared war on all civilization, but perhaps their most painful attack is that on the innocence of childhood. Like Omran Daqneesh,’ the Queen added.
She described the image of the injured Syrian boy in Aleppo that recently caught the world’s attention and went viral to illustrate the plight and suffering of Syrian refugees. ‘He sat in the back of an ambulance, dusty, dazed, and shell-shocked. So deeply traumatized, that not even the sight of his own blood fazed him. His silence screamed at the world. And the world had few words to offer back.’
Queen Rania stressed on the need to respond to this crisis by fighting the extremists and supporting refugees, who have had to bear the brunt of the conflict. She also pressed the audience to question whether ‘civilizations in ruin, and childhoods buried forever under the rubble of war and indifference”’should represent civilization’s legacy for future generations.
At the conclusion of her speech, Queen Rania urged the audience to work together across diverse backgrounds and cultures “to redefine a legacy that the world will still celebrate half a millennium from now.”
The Queen made these remarks at the Andrea Bocelli Foundation’s 3rd Italian edition of ‘Celebrity Fight Night,’ an event organized to raise funds for charities and recognize public figures for their humanitarian work.
The award has previously gone to George Clooney, Sofia Lauren, Lionel Richie, David Foster, Sharon Stone, and Reba McEntire. In 2014, the first Italian edition of Celebrity Fight Night in collaboration with the Andrea Bocelli Foundation raised over $6 million, two thirds of which were directed to the Foundation’s ongoing humanitarian work in Haiti.”
Press photos courtesy of the ABF