King Hussein of Jordan dedicated his life - I witnessed it in his sleeping as well as waking hours - to trying to break through the impasses keeping people apart. He understood that the security and prosperity of any one of us in this world depends on the security and prosperity enjoyed by others. As Martin Luther King said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." In the Middle East, nothing could be more true.
My early childhood was spent living by the Pacific Ocean. I carry with me something imprinted by that wide, limitless horizon, which I learned connected us to different people and cultures, including my own family's origins in the Arab World and Northern Europe. I understood early that my world was only a small part of a much larger one. That captivated me.
The film and media technology that's available today is going to be the most potent weapon in our arsenal in tackling ideological intolerance and ignorance, as well as the kind of fear and stereotyping that can dehumanize the others as the enemy, as being somehow less entitled to the privileges and the aspirations that we have.
Even into the 20th century, women were still struggling in the Western world for rights that Islam had granted women in the 7th century: equal rights to education; the right to own and inherit property; to have a voice in the decisions affecting their lives; to be active, engaged, and valued members of society at all levels.
What keeps me awake at night is just, Am I making the best use of the time that remains for me, to both be as good an example as I can in my own daily life, and as compelling as possible a voice for the ways in which we can all work together to tackle these issues.
I don't think we've ever lived in such a dangerous time, on a range of different levels. We also live in an extremely exciting time with a multitude of opportunities for each and every one of us to engage our individual voices, to engage more effectively collectively, to tackle some of these issues that would have seemed beyond our reach just a few years ago.
I founded the King Hussein Foundation after my husband's death in 1999, to build on his humanitarian vision and legacy in the country and abroad, through programs promoting education and leadership, economic empowerment, tolerance, cross-cultural dialogue, and media that enhances mutual understanding and respect among different cultures across conflict lines.
We came together [with King Hussein of Jordan] because of a shared sense of idealism, of the value of service to a community far greater than ourselves, and the conviction that each and everyone of us can meaningfully contribute to solving even the most seemingly intractable problems.
I have been a long-time advocate for a just Arab-Israeli peace and for Palestinian refugees. Today, as you are aware, Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan and Iraq are being overwhelmed by those fleeing the conflict in Syria, often with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Many are severely tortured - abused women and their traumatized children whose husbands, fathers, and brothers have been killed or permanently disabled.
War over water would be an ultimate obscenity. And yet, unfortunately it is conceivable... Water has been a source over so many years of erosion of confidence, of tension, of human rights abuses, really, of so many in areas whose traditional water supplies have been controlled and depleted by occupational authorities. That must stop if we're going to be able to develop a climate for peace.
When my father began to work with President John. F.Kennedy, we moved to Washington, D.C. I was fortunate in my pre-adolescent years, as my social and political consciousness was developing, to live at the epicentre of that dynamic, idealistic, and inspiring moment in U.S. political history, with its ethos of personal and civic responsibility, summed up so succinctly in his exhortation: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country."
I have witnessed firsthand the anguish of this humanitarian tragedy - in Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, and other conflict and post-conflict zones. The destruction of lives and hopes, the emotional trauma, and the economic, social, and political marginalization of the displaced, the human insecurity, with real and potentially devastating consequences over generations, in ever-widening arenas of conflict. We can and must ensure the human rights of the displaced. That begins by making their voices heard.
A more just world is possible. In most of the global issues, and also in so many of the development issues I'm involved in in our region, the young people that I am working with are seizing the tools at their disposal and trying to use them well, for issues far larger than their immediate personal benefit and concerns. That's what gives me hope.
King Hussein never lost his faith, no matter how difficult and unbearable and cruel the circumstances could be. I always remember that. It helps me get through everything. It's a way of trying to keep that positive spirit alive for as many people as we can touch. I think that's good for the world.
I've seen it around the world, in the poorest countries and in countries riven with conflict, It is women who are the key to breaking out of poverty, breaking out of stagnation. It's women who can contribute to achieving real security - not bombs and bullets and repressive governments.