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Queen calls for empathy amidst global refugee crisis

Her Majesty urges Germany to support refugees by investing in Jordan

By JT - Oct 07,2016 - Last updated at Oct 07,2016

Her Majesty Queen Rania delivers a speech at the Day of German Industry in Berlin on Thursday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — Her Majesty Queen Rania on Thursday called on German and European business leaders to help create economic opportunities for refugees by investing in Jordan.

In a speech she delivered in Berlin at the Day of German Industry, Queen Rania told over 1,200 high-ranking representatives of German industries, business leaders, politicians and researchers that it was time to reboot the world’s approach to refugees to one that is focused on empathy.

The Queen said that although she is proud of what Jordanian and German citizens have already done to welcome refugees into their communities, with each country taking in more than a million people, she stressed that that alone isn’t a viable solution to the crisis, according to a statement from Her Majesty’s office.

“The refugee crisis demands more sustainable solutions,” the Queen said, adding that a new approach centred on growth and investment is needed.

Her Majesty highlighted the Jordan Compact, a long-term holistic approach to the refugee crisis, promising to create 200,000 job opportunities for Syrian refugees and Jordanian citizens over the next three years. 

The aim of this pilot project, which will be implemented in 18 economic zones across Jordan, is to enable the vulnerable to support themselves, instead of relying on dwindling international handouts.

But the Queen explained that “providing more jobs requires an infusion of job-generating investments, because it cannot come at the cost of Jordanian jobs”.

“Together, we can create economic opportunities that help refugees become self-supporting, while helping my country emerge stronger from this crisis, rather than weakened by it,” she added.

The Queen described the elements that constitute this economic opportunity, underlining Jordan’s strategic location on “the New Silk Road” as a commercial gateway between Europe and Asia, as well as the attractive incentives offered to investors, including preferential access to global markets and special trade agreements with the European Union.

“With our productive labour force and highly favourable business environment, Jordan can be a perfect place to grow and develop your business,” she said. “Opportunities are ripe and ready to be seized.”

The Queen warned that terrorist attacks perpetrated around the world have caused a collective global trauma, but urged her audience to look beyond the polarisation and xenophobia that has come to define public discourse recently.

The Queen argued that instead of turning against each other, the global community must hang onto the values, principles, and ideals that bring people together, citing Germany’s basic constitutional law stating that “human dignity shall be inviolable”. 

“Global cooperation and global trust are key pillars of global progress,” she added. “Those same values must animate our response to refugees.”

Her Majesty emphasised that the majority of refugees are good people who are not trying to instigate violence.

She pressed the audience to recall all the uplifting stories about refugees, like those she has heard about — refugees volunteering in local fire departments, studying astronomy, and feeding the homeless in Germany.

“These are the kinds of stories we should amplify,” said the Queen. “These are the stories that should fill our Twitter feeds.”

Queen Rania stressed the need for decisive action to face the repercussions of the global refugee crisis. 

She explained that how the world chooses to deal with the crisis now will resonate for decades to come “because the refugee crisis is both a by-product of our interconnected world and a test of its durability”.

“We can let this crisis polarise our politicians and populations, tear us apart and make us retreat — something that will come at a high cost to human progress and to our experience of the world around us. 

“Or we can find a way to deal effectively with this new global reality and make it work for everyone,” the Queen noted.

Urging her audience to help turn a problem into a shared success, Queen Rania said there is an opportunity to transform this crisis into an “era of reinvention, not only for the private sector, but for humanity”.

The event included speeches by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President of the Federation of German Industry Ulrich Grillo, who both commended Jordan’s role in hosting refugees despite the heavy burden this has placed on its economy. 

Merkel said the international community must support host countries like Jordan and Lebanon, which cannot shoulder this burden on their own.

Held at the Berlin Congress Centre, the Day of German Industry is an annual conference organised by the Federation of German Industries to put current social, economic and political affairs into dialogue on issues of global importance. 


The conference is seen as the most important annual congress in Germany devoted to economic policy.

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