queen rania of jordan

Queen Rania of Jordan (Photo by Gian Vaitl)

In a speech to many of the Internet’s most prominent developers in Paris on December 10, 2009, Queen Rania of Jordan described the Internet as “more human than ever before” and praised it as a tool with which “everyone is free to say what they please.”

Posing the question of whether the Internet is a useful tool for changing the world, Rania contends that “virtual movement leads to virtually nothing” – reinforcing the common conception that while words are big online, actions are little outside of it.

“We need to amplify our actions,” she says, beyond the virtual world – something I think any of us involved in the areas of social justice would agree with on a very personal level. It is rather unfortunate that so many people have the words online for resolutions to major problems but seem to lack the will to act in the “real world” to bring about change.

Rania has been a long-time advocate of improving education and other conditions in general in the third-world, she highlighted this with a rather profound statement:

“If every child started receiving an education right now, we’d prevent more than 7 million cases of HIV in the next decade. Education promotes what we all want: Peace and Stability.”

This idea, of course, rings very true. Why is it that societies with high literacy and general educational standards have the most productive and modern cultures? Whereas, countries where little to no professional education is available are limited in their capability for advancement.

The Internet is a revolutionary tool, and one that should be used ever increasingly to improve access to information (and thus education) for all people.

One has to wonder if the global Iraq War protests, which had likely the highest turn-out of any protest in history (around 23 million people), would have had a high degree of positive success had they occurred now when social networking tools are so much more prominent.

See Rania’s Le Web talk in full:

Social media for social good: Queen Rania calls on online world to unite on behalf of 75 million out of school children