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Queen Noor of Jordan, a Concord Academy graduate, was at the Museum of
Fine Arts on Sunday to give the keynote speech at an artist symposium. Her talk ...
Updated about 1 month ago
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Queen Noor

Humanitarian

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An international humanitarian activist and an outspoken voice on issues of world peace and justice, Queen Noor, was born into a distinguished Arab-American family and raised amid privilege and would later become part of a fairy-tale romance that endured for more than two decades, until the death of her husband King Hussein of Jordan, in 1999.Lisa Najeeb Halaby was born on August 23rd 1951 in Washington D.C. the oldest child of Doris and Najeeb Halaby, a former CEO of the now disbanded, Pan-American World Airways and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense. After Lisa was born a younger brother, Christian and a sister Alexa arrived.The family were no strangers to high society and Lisa was brought up in an environment of sophistication and luxury, mixing with the heads of state and high profile celebrities from all over the world. Her sister, Alexa was bridesmaid at the wedding of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver in 1986.Queen Noor was educated at National Cathedral School and then went on to Concord Academy in Massachusetts. Her university days were spent at Princeton University where she graduated in 1974 with an A.B. in architecture and Urban Planning.It was while putting her architecture skills to work in Jordan that the future Queen Noor met her husband to be, King Hussein, in 1976 on the tarmac at Ammen International Airport. She had flown to meet with her father who was a close friend of the King s. There was no immediate connection for Queen Noor but her beauty and sophistication did not go unnoticed by the King.Later the King would became an eligible bachelor after the tragic loss of his third wife, H M. Queen Alia al-Hussein who was killed in a helicopter crash in Amman, Jordan, in 1977.After a two month whirlwind, secret courtship, at the age of just 26 Lisa Halaby would become Queen Noor of Jordan when the couple were married on July 15th 1978. Although a short courtship the couple discovered that they shared interests in boating, racing, and skiing, and were otherwise so compatible that only two months were necessary before they entered into marriage.To become accepted by the public as a Jordan's Queen, Noor not only changed her name, she relinquished her American citizenship and converted from Christianity to Islam. Noor means light in Arabic. King Hussein gave her the name as he said she was the light of his life.As with Grace Kelly years before her, an American beauty had become a member of a foreign royal family.Queen Noor became an instant stepmother to King Hussein's eight children from his previous three marriages and after suffering a miscarriage she became a mother to four children of her own.Queen Noor shares her time between her homeland, America, and her adopted home of Jordan and in 2006 on a visit to the USA she was interviewed by Larry King on his night time show where she discussed her support of United Nations programs for women and children and her long time campaign against landmines along with another high profile royal, the late Princess Diana.In her fight to highlight the damage created by disguarded landmines Queen Noor has appealed to President George W Bush's Freedom Initiative to provide foreign assistance to help victims with physical rehabilitation and prosthetics.

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