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December 8, 2007

More Than a Pretty Face: Queen Noor of Jordan

Queen Noor of Jordan

Queen Noor of Jordan

Photo Credit: Gary Gershoff/Wire Image

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Name: Queen Noor of Jordan
Age: 56
Notable quote: “In America, there’s a sense that anything’s possible. It’s a luxury, that blind faith and idealism, that sense of, 'I can do something about my life.'”

The Iraq war has forced hundreds of thousands of refugees into neighboring countries, and Queen Noor of Jordan is making it her job to help them - offering counseling, healthcare, and hope. As the fifth anniversary of the war looms, the American-born queen - who was married to King Hussein of Jordan for more than two decades before his death in 1999 - talked with Marie Claire’s Abigail Pesta.

Q. Why do you think there’s such inadequate attention paid to the refugee situation?
Many say the reason countries like the U.S. haven’t been more focused on this issue is because it’s difficult to admit to the humanitarian catastrophe this war has created, both inside and outside Iraq’s borders. This could become a long-term stability issue in the larger region, so we really need more focus on this.

Q. What kind of shape are the refugees in?
The majority are young women and children, and they face extraordinary challenges from the trauma they’ve endured in the war. The Noor Al Hussein Foundation, which I founded almost 25 years ago, has a health center that has been providing medical care, counseling, and pediatric services to refugees in and around our capital, Amman. We’ve built up our services thanks to help from international aid groups - but the problem is overwhelming.

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