Today His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal marks his 69th birthday.

The past year has seen His Royal Highness assume numerous engagements and initiatives in Jordan and the West Asia – North Africa region, as well as internationally. His Royal Highness’ attention remains firmly focused on inter-regional cooperation and understanding, interfaith dialogue, and the protection of the human environment. Central to all of these is the overarching issue of human dignity, which must be at the core of all developmental efforts. 

 

Through Prince Hassan’s institutes: The Royal Scientific Society (RSS), the Royal Institute of Inter-Faith Studies (RIIFS), The Arab Thought Forum (ATF), The Higher Council for Science and Technology (HCST), The West Asia – North Africa (WANA) Institute and The El Hassan Youth Award and many of their umbrella organisations, His Royal Highness devotes a large portion of his work to serving Jordanians and the broader interests of the region. 

Following is a brief highlight of some of His Royal Highness’ activities over the past year.

Deputising for His Majesty King Abdullah II, His Royal Highness took part in the extraordinary summit for the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Palestine and Jerusalem, in the Indonesian capital Jakarta under the theme "United for a Just Solution". 

Prince Hassan has consistently called for an international network similar to the OIC to be formed to protect the world’s contested religious spaces, and elevate these spaces above political or even national concerns. 

HIS Royal Highness, attended the Congress of Vienna 2015 and spoke on the topic of "Population Migrations and the challenges of Social Integration". HRH focused particularly on the case of forced migration – where essential humanitarian assistance may give inadequate attention to the ultimately required social integration of displaced people.

HRH also met with the European Parliament President H.E President Martin Schulz where they discussed shared values and commitments towards the promotion of regional prosperity, peace and security which are key in charting the way forward through the growing number of challenges facing the international community, Europe and the Middle East region today.

To mark the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the Arab Renaissance His Royal Highness was invited to give a keynote speech at the Royal Geographical Society in London. Prince Hassan recounted the legacy of the Arab revolt that placed pluralism, ethics and politics at the forefront. He also highlighted the Hashemites’ key role in developing the Arab vision of self-determination and empowerment, stating that the ideals of the Arab Reformers coalesced with Arab aspirations for a pluralist Arab world. 

As part of His Royal Highness’s tireless commitment to strengthening understanding and dialogue between the adherents of different religions and cultures, His Royal Highness was invited as the keynote speaker at an event organised by the Mohammed VI Museum of modern and Contemporary Art in Rabat. Under the heading: "Living together: For the reinforcement of a culture of dialogue?" HRH called for the creation of a "Social Media Peace Corps" out of the Arab World, to bring awareness about this part of the world and combat the negative ideologies afflicting it.

Prince Hassan emphasized that as an Arab Muslim, he regarded Jordan’s protection of religious communities, according to Islamic duty, as one of his country’s greatest achievements. 

Last year also saw His Royal Highness addressing an audience of international experts at the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference titled: "Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability: The Humanitarian Aid and Development Perspective." His Royal Highness highlighted the unprecedented existential crisis that the region is presently facing. He noted that the pressing security problems, explicitly; armed conflict, internal strife, occupation, violent extremism, and displacement have caused intolerable human suffering and undermined the lives of Arab citizens across the region. 

His Royal Highnesses’ commitment to building human capacity, especially amongst the youth, addressed the MOSAIC Leadership Programme in Amman. His Royal Highness emphasised that leadership was about getting people to effect change by creating new and innovative initiatives. Prince Hassan hoped that today’s youth will grow as individuals, gain confidence and independence, and aid in the positive development of their communities.

At an event sponsored by the European Commission in Amman, His Royal Highness called for the preservation of our collective human dignity in the face of inequality and deprivation. In his speech titled: "Addressing shared challenges through Science Diplomacy: The case of EU-Middle East regional cooperation," His Royal Highness stressed that fair and thoughtful development is a global and communal imperative. It demands that we all revere and protect our own human dignity, and therefore, use all means at our disposal to equalize the living standards of all people.

Prince Hassan also participated in the Hague Institute for Global Justice’s Distinguished Speaker Series, in which His Royal Highness referred to the creation of a road-map in building a secure and sustainable future for West Asia and North Africa.

At a meeting of high ranking civilians from NATO and the ministries of the member and partner governments, including senior military officers, His Royal Highness called for the reinforcement of the concept of building resilience through regional cooperation and multilateral engagement.

In the speech titled "NATO and New Ways of Warfare - Defeating Hybrid Threats," His Royal Highness emphasised that the WANA region needs to leapfrog to sustained growth and social cohesion through developing a modern industrial base, founded on a green economy, amongst other absolutely critical issues. 

During a celebration marking the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organisation (JHCO), His Majesty King Abdullah bestowed the Order of the Hashemite Star on HRH for his distinguished contributions and services to the Kingdom. 

His Royal Highness received an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Land, Water and Environmental Management from the Hashemite University (HU), in recognition of the his role in building bridges of communications based upon mutual respect with countries throughout the world, along with his many local achievements and successful participation in Arab and international initiatives.

Recently, His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal has also been honoured with the First class Polish Order of Merit. The award was in recognition of His Royal Highness’ contributions in supporting and enhancing dialogue among cultures and followers of different faiths, as well as enhancing bilateral relations between the two countries. (PETRA)