(VIDEOS) Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium Visits CPAS Namur.

On Thursday, December 8, 2016, Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium visited CPAS Namur to meet with individuals participating in the project, Miriam.

Established in 2015, the project aims to provide intensive support to single mothers “…on issues related to employment and personal development…” according to the Belgian royal court.

 Click here to watch another video news report.

Belgian Royals

(VIDEOS) TMs King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands Attend the 2016 Erasmusprijs.

On Thursday, December 8, 2016, Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands and Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands attended the 2016 Erasmusprijs held at the Koninklijk Paleis in Amsterdam. The Erasmusprijs, worth €150,000, is awarded annually to a person or institution that has made an exceptional contribution to the humanities or the arts.

This year the Stichting Praemium Erasmianum awarded the prize to British writer, Dame Antonia Susan Byatt, her inspiring contribution to ‘life writing’, a literary genre that encompasses historical novels, biographies and autobiographies. The jury describes A.S. Byatt as a born storyteller with a keen eye for relations in public and private life.

Byatt has written dozens of (historical) novels, biographies, short stories and critical essays. In a wide-ranging body of work she unites great erudition with an unbridled pleasure in writing and imaginative power. Her work crosses boundaries in style and content. It covers a range of genres, literary forms and subjects. She immerses the reader in the history of European thinking, taking the big questions about science, history and identity as her starting point.

Among her recurring themes are the influence of art on life, magic and realism, and the conflict between ambition and family. Her body of work brings together not only artists and academics, but also fairy tales and myths. Many of her novels, including The Biographer’s Tale and Possession, explore the act of writing a biography or conducting research. In the process, she has reshaped the genre of life writing in her own way. Among her best-known books are Possession, short story collections such as Sugar and other Stories and the novel The Children’s Book.

Dutch Royal Family

(VIDEO) Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan Attends the Women on the Front Lines Conference.

On Wednesday, December 7, 2016, Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan attended the Women on the Front Lines conference in Amman, Jordan.

According to a press release during today’s conference Her Majesty attended the panel discussion, Asking the Hard Questions, which focused on:

“…women’s influential role in the media, and addressed the challenges they face while conducting interviews, especially when tackling a tough line of questioning with male interviewees.

jordan4Participants in the conference included a number of prominent women from the fields of politics, media, and economics. Other prominent speakers included the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag, Egyptian International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr, CNN presenter Becky Anderson, President of the Jordanian Business and Professional Women Association Senator Haifa Najjar, and Iranian-American astronaut Anousheh Ansari.

Women on The Front Lines is an annual conference organized by the May Chidiac Foundation bringing together some of the world’s most influential women, who have inspired leadership, change, and sustainability in their fields.

The Foundation, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to training, research and education on media, democracy, and social welfare, was established in 2009 by Lebanese broadcast journalist Dr. May Chidiac, who survived an assassination attempt in Lebanon in 2005.jordan-09-20-18

The foundation also runs an affiliated non-profit media institute that aims to foster the values of freedom of expression, human rights and democracy in media production industries by providing young professionals with state-of-the-art technical facilities and training programs.”

Royal House of Jordan

(VIDEO) His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales Visits the Bank of England.

On Wednesday, December 7, 2016, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales visited the Bank of England in London.

According to a Bank of England press release during today’s visit the prince was given a:

“…tour [that] covered the different aspects of the Bank’s work to maintain monetary and financial stability.

The tour began with a private meeting with the Governors to cover recent market and policy developments. His Royal Highness then visited our Museum to learn about our public outreach and meet school children from Virginia Primary School in Tower Hamlets.

The tour continued with a visit to Taylor’s Treasury, the newly refurbished area of the Bank uncovered after almost 45 years hidden and recently awarded a City of London Heritage Trust Award. Here His Royal Highness met scholarship students and representatives from the Bank’s employee-led networks. A private briefing from Bank staff on the various policy committees and matters such as house price inflation, cyber security and the Real Time Gross Settlement System followed this. The tour concluded with a visit to the gold vaults where around 400,000 bars of gold, worth over £100 billion, are held.

Commenting on the visit, Governor Mark Carney said: ‘Today has been a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the breadth of the Bank’s work and how our remit has evolved since His Royal Highness last visited. I am pleased His Royal Highness had the chance to meet with a range of colleagues from across the Bank to experience the ways in which we work to promote the good of the people of the United Kingdom.'” 

Click here to view photos.

British Royals

(VIDEOS) Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands Meets with Students at the Thomas More Hogeschool.

On Wednesday, December 7, 2016, Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands accompanied by the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Ms. Jet Bussemaker, visited the teacher training college at the Thomas More Hogeschool in Rotterdam.

According to RVD, during today’s visit Her Majesty and Ms. Bussemaker discussed:

“…music developments in the teacher training courses. Queen Maxima is Honorary President of the Platform Ambassadors ‘More Music in the Classroom’.

‘More Music in the Classroom’ contributes to the realization of structural music education in primary schools. Queen Maxima, Ms. Bussemaker and music ambassadors met with the directors of 25 teacher training courses and music teachers to talk about different views on the design and implementation of music education.”

Please click here and here to view photos as well as to watch another video.

Dutch Royal Family

HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark Visits Kræftværket.


On the morning of Wednesday, December 7, 2016, Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark visited Kræftværket (CancerWork) at the Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen.

According to the Danish royal court, Kræftværket is a:

“… meeting place for young individuals, between the ages of 15-29 years old, who are being treated for Cancer at Rigshospitalet. In addition, CancerWork’s young ambassadors and volunteers give support to young Cancer patients and organizes events and excursions.

denmark5Cancer Work and youth friendly wards is in collaboration between the Finsen Centre, Juliane Marie Centre and Youth Medicine Knowledge. CancerWork and young wards are also a part of the project ‘Ungdomsliv og Kræft’ funded by the Børnecancerfonden, Kræftens Bekæmpelse and the  Rigshospitalet.”

Photos courtesy of the Danish royal court.

Danish Royals

(VIDEOS) HRH Prince Harry of Wales Participates in the ICAP Charity Trading Day.

On Wednesday, December 7, 2016, His Royal Highness Prince Harry of Wales participated in the 24th annual ICAP Charity Trading Day, in aid of Sentebale, in London, Englan.

The prince is patron of Sentebale a charity which supports orphans and vulnerable children.

Click here to view photos.

British Royals

(VIDEO) Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan Attends a Workshop in Al Balqa.

According to Petra News on Tuesday, December 6, 2016, Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan attended a:

“…on the deteriorating performance of Jordanian students in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), during a visit to the Mahes Secondary School for Girls in Al Balqa.  

She also dropped by mathematics and science lessons taught by student-teachers enrolled in the Pre-service Professional Diploma Program implemented by the Queen Rania Teachers Academy (QRTA), who are currently fulfilling their practicum module at the same school.

raniaDuring the workshop, attended by 50 educators and moderated by QRTA’s Dr. Ahmad Qublan, Queen Rania said that the latest TIMMS assessment results are an indication that school curricula and teaching techniques are lacking, and warned that generations should not have to pay the price until a satisfying development of Jordan’s education system is achieved.

Her Majesty said that change doesn’t happen overnight and urged teachers to propose ways to develop the education process in order help students apply what they learn to real life situations.

The Queen said that the TIMSS results were shocking because they revealed that most students are neither fully grasping what they are taught nor are they capable of employing their knowledge, especially in mathematics, which should rely on understanding and reasoning, rather than memorization.

She also explained that there are inexpensive and innovative ways to improve students’ performance through technology software that helps teachers better communicate information to students.

The Queen also noted that efforts are underway to establish a teaching college in cooperation with Jordan University that would be able to train a much a larger number of teachers before they start their teaching careers.

In response to comments by teachers who said that students do not take international exams seriously because they don’t factor into their school grades, Her Majesty said that ‘teachers and schools have to build the right environment that creates incentive in students to excel in any exam.  Students should have the personal motivation to prove to themselves that they can do well in any exam, even if there is no direct return,’ Her Majesty added.

The performance of Jordanian students in last year’s TIMSS assessment has dropped drastically, placing Jordan 23 points below its rank in eighth grade Science. This constituted the largest drop by any of the 39 participating countries. Jordan’s score in eighth grade mathematics was also low, ranking 8th among nine participating Arab countries.jordan2

Teachers participating in the workshop expressed their frustration with the current science and mathematics curricula, on the grounds that they do not focus on the student’s understanding of the subjects and instead reinforce memorization rather than analysis. They also said they feel they lack effective teaching techniques that enrich students’ understanding based on reasoning, interpretation, and a logical thought process.

Some attributed the low TIMSS scores to lack of knowledge on the part of both teachers and students about the importance of this international assessment.

Several teachers told Her Majesty that they would like to see schools institute more extra-curricular activities that help students with problem-solving. Many, who have received training from QRTA, also called for establishing more education networks that can enhance their teaching techniques.

School Principal Mrs. Razan Zou’bi and Director of the QRTA Pre-service Professional Diploma Program Mrs. Suhair Alkhatib accompanied Her Majesty while she attended part of the classes taught by student-teachers enrolled in the diploma program.

QRTA’s diploma, a first in the kingdom, was launched in October 2016 under Queen Rania’s patronage, with the aim of preparing future educators to transform their classrooms into environments that encourage innovation, leadership, and intellectual curiosity.

rania1The program’s first cohort of educators includes 185 teachers, who went through a highly competitive selection process.

The practicum segment, or ‘School Experience’ module, aims to improve the teachers’ professional standards and facilitate their entry into the profession.

QRTA aims to graduate between 5000 and 7000 students in the upcoming five years. Upon completion of the nine-month 24 credit hour diploma, student teachers will commit to a teaching job with the Ministry of Education for four years, and receive a monthly salary during the training period in accordance to its regulations.

The Mahes Secondary School for Girls, which was established in 1951 currently enrolls 783 students. The school welcomes the local community to use its facilities and services by providing a venue for workshops, holiday celebrations, religious activities, and The Mahes Annual Festival.”


Royal House of Jordan

(VIDEO) HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco Attends the Opening of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Meeting.

On the morning of December 6, 2016, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco attended the opening of the Intergovernmental Panel Preparatory Meeting on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Climate Change and Oceans and the Cryosphere in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  The four-day meeting is hosted by the Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco and the Gouvernment Monaco.

monaco3The purpose of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is to scientifically analyze climate change. Established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program the aim is to provide “…policymakers periodic scientific assessments on climate change, its impacts and future risks and to present their strategies for adaptation and mitigation…” according to the official website for the IPCC.




Photos courtesy of the IPCC

Monaco Princely Family

(VIDEO) Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands Meets with Scouts at Paleis Noordeinde.

dutchOn Tuesday, December 6, 2016, Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands met with scouts at Paleis Noordeinde in Den Haag.

During today’s visit Her Majesty met with young members of the scouts as well as participated in a roundtable discussion with the directors of Scouting Netherlands.

According to RVD, issues discussed during the meeting included the three upcoming projects:

“…first, a project where scouts, with and without disabilities, can meet to learn to undertake activities together. Second, the cooperation with the Salvation Army, leaving children with few opportunities to join a club or association may participate in Scouting. And third, a project in which talented young volunteers get within Scouting Netherlands training and coaching to develop their talents.” 

Click here to watch a video. 

Photo courtesy of Scouting Nederland

Dutch Royal Family

(VIDEO) TIHs Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko of Japan Visit Nagasaki.

According to Kyodo News on December 6, 2016, Their Imperial Highnesses Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko  of Japan accompanied by their son, His Imperial Highness Prince Hisahito, visited Nagasaki to see:

“…relics of the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki.  On his first visit to Nagasaki Prince Hisahito offered flowers at the ground zero monument in the Nagasaki Peace Park dedicated to victims of the bombing. The family also went to the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture.

Atomic bomb survivor and former Nagasaki University President Hideo Tsuchiyama, 91, told of his experience to the prince, a fourth-grader at Ochanomizu University Elementary School…”

Imperial Family of Japan

(VIDEO) TIMs Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan Visit the Katsushika Welfare Factory.

On December 6, 2016, Their Imperial Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan visited the Katsushika Welfare Factory in Tokyo, Japan.

During their visit to the factory, which employs individuals with disabilities, the emperor and empress met with workers preparing “…boxes of emergency food for disasters…” according to Kyodo News.

Imperial Family of Japan

(VIDEOS) HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands Opens a New School Building in Leiden.

On the morning of Tuesday, December 6, 2016, His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands officially opened a new building at the Leidse Instrumentmakers School (LIS) in Leiden.

Established in 1901 by Leiden professor and Nobel laureate, Mr. Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, the new building was constructed due to “…increased demand for graduate Research Instrument Makers. The school can now train more students, a maximum of 400, while still retaining its small-scale education feel…” according to RVD.

Click here to view photos.

Dutch Royal Family