At the FIFA World Player Gala 2009 was an extraordinary personality and exceptional guest in the shape of Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan. Thanks to her commitment to the 1GOAL - Education for All initiative, which is an ambitious and important campaign that will change the lives of children living in poverty by helping to give them an education, Her Majesty was presented with the FIFA Presidential Award by the President of world football’s governing body, Joseph S. Blatter. FIFA.com caught up with Her Majesty at the Kongresshaus in Zurich.
FIFA.com: Your Highness, what does it mean to you to receive this award?
Queen Rania of Jordan: I’m very proud to be here. It’s an honour for me to receive this award but I accept it on behalf of all of those who work hard for education. That includes the 1GOAL: Education for All team. I think that what’s most important is that this award proves that football can be a real force both on and off the pitch. By working with Education for All, football shows that it can be a very powerful tool for changing the world for the better.
Why did you decide to take such an active and personal role in the 1GOAL campaign?
Because I believe deeply that education must be our number-one priority. It can genuinely help us to change many things that cause pain in the world, and can give us more stability. Giving children the chance of an education gives us much more hope for the future. That’s why I passionately believe, from the depths of my heart, that education should be the task we place most emphasis on. We have to believe in the huge power that this cause has.
How would you encourage the millions of the football fans around the globe to support this initiative?
I’d tell them they ought to focus their energy and enthusiasm on something that goes beyond football. I’d encourage them to visit www.join1goal.org and sign up, because we’re aiming to achieve 30 million signatures by the end of the World Cup and hand them to politicians and world leaders so that definitive action is taken, to give every child an opportunity. And by offering them education we give them that opportunity.
And can football help change things?
Football’s the world’s most popular sport and we want to make the most of the pull it has to make Education for All a reality. That way football’s power will be put to use as a tool for making the world a better place.