Who Is Queen Noor of Jordan, and What Has She Accomplished?


Quick Answer

Born Lisa Najeeb Halaby, Queen Noor was wife to King Hussein of Jordan from 1978 to 1999 when the monarch succumbed to lymphatic cancer. She is the mother of four royal children and a devoted philanthropist and activist. She is also highly educated in several infrastructural fields.

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Full Answer

Queen Noor was born in the United States in 1951 to a prominent Arab-American family. Consequently, she enjoyed a privileged upbringing and education. In 1969, she entered Princeton, an experience that would ultimately lead to study in architecture and urban planning, interests she brought to her adoptive Jordan. In 1976, she passed on a journalistic career to participate in the remodeling of the Jordanian airline industry, a decision that placed her in close social proximity to the king.

Despite early apprehension of their American princess, Jordanians soon warmed to Noor when she demonstrated genuine interest in the condition of the people and converted to Islam. Following the death of her husband, Noor founded both the King Hussein Foundation and the King Hussein Foundation International, chairing both and promoting peace in Jordan and the Middle East. She has been a consistent protector of Jordanian arts and culture and has effectively balanced support for increased women's rights with sensitivity to more traditional views of female domesticity. She has also been active in the Media and Humanity program, launched in 2007, which strives for the reconciliation of world cultures.

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