Published: 2023-03-20 15:22
Last Updated: 2024-03-01 16:06
Monday marks the 76th birthday of His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal.
His Highness continues to actively contribute through a broad range of development initiatives and community engagement centered around the following core themes: environmental innovation and conservation; inter-faith dialogue; and the advancement of our regional commons based upon the concept of human dignity.
In particular, the impacts of climate change, geopolitics, and epidemics, alongside the decline of responsible internationalism, have been high on HRH’s agenda.
HRH’s commitment to combating the effects of such events was evident in HRH’s participation in the 13th Bosphorus Summit, centered around the theme of "The Great Transformation: Driving Forces of Global Change, "during which HRH emphasized the need for a creative rearticulation of our global systems. Central to this articulation is regional – and indeed, international – cooperation towards a safer, more sustainable, and inclusive world citizenry.
HRH has also continued to invest time into advancing regional, de-politicized, and science-based solutions to climate change. HRH’s leading role in the inauguration of the First International Conference on the Red Sea Ecosphere this year highlighted the importance of regional cooperation towards the protection of our marine environment, for the betterment of all.
This includes the development of a Red Sea Commission which would allow Red Sea littoral states, along with neighboring countries, to come together and devise a roadmap for the advancement of our regional creative commons. During the conference, HRH also advocated for the initiation of a Red Sea barometer, a shared knowledge hub that would make data accessible, as a public good, to all stakeholders in the region.
Alongside HRH’s involvement in the sciences and environmental conservation in the region, HRH attended a book launch for Frontiers of the Roman Empire, in which HRH similarly reiterated the importance of creating an interdisciplinary institution for the cultural heritage of the Mashreq.
HRH highlighted the critical role of the humanities, natural and social sciences in human-centered, people-people diplomacy and planning, discussing the role of archaeology in bringing together different peoples, united by their shared historical heritage, together to discuss ancient practices as solutions for modern problems, such as water management.
Building upon HRH’s longstanding commitment to cross-cultural dialogue, HRH also participated in the International Mediterranean Dialogues Conference in Rome, in which HRH promoted increased integration across the Mediterranean, drawing upon the region’s history as a gateway of social and economic convergence.
HRH’s participation in this event was complemented by attendance at the opening of the 37th Annual Conference of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies, "From United Nations to Unite People."
This conference was co-organized by the World Dignity University Initiative and the Royal Institute of Interfaith Studies, an institute focused on instilling common values and ethics, strengthening relations between people of different religions, and promoting coexistence.
This work was elaborated upon in an article by HRH published in Middle East Eye which distinguished between free speech and hate speech, emphasizing the need for "responsibility of expression" that embraces cultural complexity and aims for cohesion rather than exclusion.
Fundamental to human dignity is food security, another critical issue with which Prince Hassan has been heavily involved over the past year, participating in various meetings with WANA, the World Food Program, and various other UN agencies to ensure security for all across multiple intersecting areas: water, energy, food, and ecosphere.
On the topic of providing aid for the region’s most vulnerable, HRH also presented a case for the birth of a Global Zakat Fund as a practical expression of dignity and human fraternity that enhances the collective spirit and goodwill of the people. HRH’s vision of the fund is based on enhancing the effective capacity of zakat to provide underprivileged people with food, medicine, education, housing, and income-generating activities.
In the year ahead, HRH looks forward to continuing HRH's participation in the aforementioned initiatives, whilst welcoming the birth of new ideas, conversations, and steps forward in the pursuit of a dignified and empowered global citizenry.