Jordan's Queen Noor Highlight of Women's Conference
by KRISTEN ARMSTRONG, Staff Writer
|Women who want to make the
world a better place may have been inspired to take action after
attending U.S. Rep. Jim Moran's 16th annual Women's Issues Conference.
“Women are the heart and soul of communities . . . each of us can be a leader, an inspiration and a vital factor in making a difference,” said the conference's keynote speaker Queen Noor of Jordan at the annual event, held Sept. 15 at Kenmore Middle School.
Queen Noor, who has been recognized as an international humanitarian and activist, said that although women across the world may think they are quite different from each other, they actually are “fundamentally alike.”
“How much we have in common may not be the first thing that comes to mind,” she said. “But we are all human with the same issues.”
And it is these similarities - concern with how best to take care of one's family, how to better society and how to find satisfaction in the world - that help them see past one another's differences and work across boundaries, she said.
“Women's concerns cut across ideologies,” Queen Noor said. “Peace and security require compassion and cooperation.”
In her speech, Queen Noor - who before her marriage was Lisa Halaby, and who grew up in Northern Virginia - also tried to dispel people's possible misconceptions of Islam and the oppression of women in the Arab world.
“Many people do not imagine that Arab women have much in common with their Western sisters,” she said. “What most people do not realize is that seventh-century Islam provided political rights to women. The oppression of women is not because of Islam . . . but from reversion back to pre-Islamic tribal behavior.”
Moran, D-8th, introduced Queen Noor and presented his own list of issues that affect women: the growing population of elderly women, the prevalence of breast cancer and teen pregnancy.
Citing information from Newsweek magazine that said the vast majority around the globe does not trust the United States, Moran said he believes that the nation has veered from the ideals of the Constitution and “there is too much machismo and militarism that defines us.”
Women might need to be the ones who step in and change the course, he said.
Following Queen Noor's speech, participants at the conference had various seminars to attend including “Preventative Health Care,” “Elder Care: Family Conversations About Tomorrow” and “Car Care Basics,” among others.
Queen Noor of Jordan, shown here in a photo taken during her marriage to the late King Hussein, was the keynote speaker at U.S. Rep. Jim Moran’s annual Women’s Issues Conference.