04 October 2023
The Conway Education Centre was honoured to host a visit by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah from Jordan. Queen Rania met with children and young people from Conway’s Homework club for refugee families, with refugee and asylum-seeking students of Conway’s adult education programme and members of ArtsEkta‘s Art Route Collective to learn about the experiences of displaced people in Northern Ireland.
Queen Rania spoke (in English and Arabic) to each of the young people, adult students and the ladies of ArtsEkta‘s Art Route Collective, she was keen to learn about their journeys and how they have made a new life in Belfast.
“It is inspiring to see proof that, when refugees are granted access to education and training opportunities, you can become not just productive members of society, but invaluable members of the community – neighbours, co-workers, and friends,” Her Majesty said. She also commended Conway for helping refugees “overcome language and cultural barriers to forge new human connections” and “take back control of their own destinies.”
Conway’s Centre manager Pauline Kersten said
“It was a real honour to be asked to host this visit by Her Majesty Queen Rania. Her work to alleviate poverty and support refugees in Jordan in internationally is well known and we were delighted to show her Conway’s education programmes supporting refugees and those seeking asylum to build on their skills and talents, and providing opportunities for people from different cultures to meet and learn together”.
Dr. Nisha Tandon OBE, CEO of ArtsEkta, said:
“It was a true privilege to meet Her Majesty Queen Rania and introduce her to members of ArtsEkta’s Art Route Collective initiative which empowers women from our refugee and asylum seeker communities. Her words resonated with us all in the importance of providing integration pathways for new migrants who have come to our city to make a new life. On behalf of everyone at ArtsEkta we would like to thank Her Majesty for taking the time to meet with us and hear the journey of our participants”
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