Queen Noor On Nukes, Cross-Cultural Understanding, at CU Boulder

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In front of hundreds in the CU-Boulder community at Macky Auditorium, Queen Noor al Hussein of Jordan addressed students with a speech aimed to inspire and authenticate peace-progressive ambitions. Citing famous activists and self-made icons like 26-year-old Martin Luther King Jr., and the students who were at the forefront of the Velvet Revolution, the queen raised the importance of global awareness up to the hilt of President Obama's recent nuclear summit. Queen Noor is the founder of Global Zero, a worldwide movement that seeks to eliminate both actual and potential stockpiles of nuclear weapons across the globe by year 2030. It began in 2008 as a counter-response to the threat of nuclear terrorism, and has since gained the support of President Barack Obama, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and more than 200 other leaders from around the world. In the United States, the summit has been regarded as a drastic move away from Cold War politics, and has been embraced with both ridicule and relief by both ends of the political spectrum.

"We need to humanize one another," she said. "We will not solve our problems with new weapons, new wars, or technology alone. Where [my generation] divided, you have the power to unite... Divides exist across every social spectrum, but you have the world at your fingertips."

In an exclusive interview, Queen Noor explained some of the challenges of her movement, Global Zero. "We really are at a tipping point beyond which we may never be able to reign [nuclear weaponry] in, but I don't want to sound pessimistic. We are very much working with the White House on our positioning with this issue." Her majesty sat rubbing the strands of turquoise beads around her neck as she expressed her belief that Jordan would continue to be a moderator in the region of the Middle East, but that steps toward total elimination of nukes need to be taken in order to ensure security. The major concern today is that Al Qaeda wants them, and not every region in the world has the ability to guard their nuclear arsenals effectively.

"There are 23,000 nuclear weapons existing in the world, most of them owned by the United States and Russia. One Hiroshima bomb would create the devastation of 10 Haitis," Queen Noor said, citing the movie "Countdown to Zero." In her speech at Macky Auditorium, the Queen said the movie is travelling across the country making stops at universities, and would be in theaters this July. The movie will be showing at CU-Boulder next Monday on April 26th and it discusses the many close calls with nuclear attacks the world has encountered over the years. It is produced by Lawrence Bender (An Inconvenient Truth, Inglorious Bastards), directed by Lucy Walker (Blindsight), and narrated by Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight). "The scientists were the ones to suffer the moral dilemma of what they had created, for them it was a weapon of genocide. Think if we had only listened to all the scientists who said they should have been eliminated in the first place- we might have had a world where no state would have been able to create nuclear arsenal," Queen Noor said, saying that nuclear terrorism confronts the world with as imminent a threat and challenge as global warming. She says that while the world may not be adequately paced steps toward remedying both problems, it is taking action. There is no more room, she says, in today's globalized and technologically advanced world for Cold War politics. She says that global issues cannot afford to be so black and white anymore. "I am one of a million for whom Islam and Western cultures are not incompatible," she said, reminding the nearly filled auditorium that she is Muslim, United States-born, and an advocate for peace.

As part of her advocacy, and continuance of a lifetime's dedication for peace, Her Majesty says nuclear weapons have no place in a world striving to achieve international security. Rather terror can be their only purpose. "Kennedy said back in the sixties that nuclear weapons would only create or come from madness, and they have."