Her Majesty Queen Noor was born Lisa Najeeb Halaby on 23 August 1951, to a distinguished Arab-American family. She attended schools in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., New York City and Concord Academy in Massachusetts, before entering Princeton University in its first co-educational freshman class.
After receiving a B.A. in Architecture and Urban Planning from Princeton University in 1974, Queen Noor participated in several international urban planning and design projects in Australia, Iran, the United States and Jordan. In 1976, she traveled throughout the Arab world to research aviation training facilities for the preparation of a master plan for an Arab Air University to be established in Jordan. Subsequently, she joined ‘Royal Jordanian’ airline as Director of Planning and Design Projects.
For the past 20 years Queen Noor has promoted peace, international exchange and understanding, lecturing at international conferences, and world affairs and academic institutions on Middle Eastern politics and current global issues.
In Jordan, Queen Noor initiates, directs and sponsors projects and activities which respond to specific national needs in the areas of education, women and children’s welfare, integrated community development, human rights, environmental and architectural conservation, culture, and public architecture and planning. She is actively involved with several international organizations that address global challenges in these fields.
In 1985 the Noor Al Hussein Foundation (NHF) was established to consolidate the administration of the Queen’s diverse and expanding development initiatives. The Foundation initiates and supports national, regional and international projects in the fields of integrated community development, women and gender, children’s welfare and family health, enterprise development, education and heritage. NHF programs have successfully advanced and modernized development thinking in Jordan by progressing beyond traditional charity-oriented social welfare practices to integrate social development strategies more closely with national economic priorities, especially through the empowerment of women. NHF projects promote individual and community self-reliance, grassroots participation in decision-making and project implementation, equal opportunity with special emphasis on the empowerment of women, and intersectoral cooperation. All NHF innovative projects are designed to be locally sustainable and replicable throughout Jordan and other countries of the region. The Quality of Life Project, the Women-in-Development Project, the Institute for Child Health and Development, the Jubilee School, the National Handicrafts Development Project and the National Music Conservatory, in particular, have been recognised and supported by United Nations and other international organisations as model projects for the Middle East and the developing world.
Queen Noor is an active patron of several national institutions working in the areas of women’s welfare, child development, health, humanitarian relief work, environmental and archaeological conservation and protection, the arts, aviation, and athletics.
Internationally, Queen Noor is Patron of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the oldest international conservation organization in the world, and Honorary President of BirdLife International, which has the widest global network of conservation organizations. The Queen is the President of the United World Colleges (UWC), a network of 10 equal-opportunity international colleges around the world that aim to foster cross-cultural understanding and global peace. She is Chair of the advisory board of the Center of the Global South at American University, which examines critical issues affecting the poorer developing countries of the world, as well as the Chair of the advisory committee for the United Nations University International Leadership Academy [UNU / ILA], which is the first global leadership training facility and UN institution to be initiated and established in the Middle East. The Queen is a trustee of the Mentor Foundation, which works in collaboration globally to prevent substance abuse among youth.
Queen Noor has assumed an advocacy role in the international fight to ban antipersonnel mines. As Patron of Landmine Survivors Network (LSN), she patronized the first “International Conference on Landmine Injury & Rehabilitation in the Middle East” in Amman in 1998. On 1st October, Queen Noor and the Nobel Prize winning International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), of whose international advisory board the Queen is member, announced at the United Nations the 40th ratification of the Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty, new measures to universalize the Ottawa treaty and to promote victim-survivors assistance.”
In recognition of her efforts to advance development, democracy and peace, the Queen has been awarded honorary doctorates in international relations, law, and humane letters, and several international awards. On June 5, 1995, she received the United Nations Environment Program Global 500 Award for her activism in environmental protection, in promoting awareness and in initiating community action for the preservation of Jordan’s natural heritage.
Queen Noor lived in North America, Europe, Australasia and the Middle East before her marriage. She speaks Arabic, English and French. She enjoys skiing, water skiing, tennis, sailing, horseback riding, reading, gardening and photography.