HIS MAJESTY KING ABDULLAH II
Since His Majesty King Abdullah II assumed his constitutional powers on 7 February 1999, he has made the welfare of Jordan’s people the cornerstone of his policies for national development, regional peace and global cooperation.
The King’s special concern for the future of Jordan’s young people has put youth engagement, education and opportunity at the top of his agenda. At home, he has paired economic reforms with political liberalisation and an innovative national development program, hinging on educational reforms, which is energising the country’s public and private sectors and preparing its youth for global competitiveness and leadership.
Following the footsteps of his late father, His Majesty King Hussein, King Abdullah pursues peace in the region on the basis of a two-state solution and the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, living in peace alongside Israel, in accordance with UN resolutions and the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.
The 41st descendant of the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), King Abdullah has been the voice of Jordan’s intra- and inter-faith initiatives to expand global understanding through dialogue and cooperation.
Born in Amman on 30 January 1962, King Abdullah is the eldest son of His Majesty King Hussein Bin Talal and Her Royal Highness Princess Muna Al Hussein. In 1993, then-Prince Abdullah married Rania Al Yassin. They have four children: Prince Hussein, the Crown Prince, Princess Iman, Princess Salma and Prince Hashem.
King Abdullah attended St. Edmund's School in Surrey, England, and concluded his high school education at Deerfield Academy (US). After achieving a degree from the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst (UK), he later pursued advanced studies at Pembroke College, Oxford and Georgetown University.
HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
Pope Francis, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, born in Argentina in 1936, was elected Supreme Pontiff on March 13, 2013 at the Vatican. Educated as a chemist before obtaining a doctorate in theology and joining the priesthood, Pope Francis attended universities in Argentina, Chile, Spain and Germany. He taught literature, psychology and philosophy and was ordained a priest in 1969.
In 1973 he was appointed Provincial of the Jesuits in Argentina and after working across his native South America, was ordained Bishop of Auca and Auxiliary of Buenos Aires in 1992.
In 1997 he was appointed Archbishop of Buenos Aires and conceived of a missionary project based on communion and evangelization. The project was a landmark for the South American continent which focused on; open and brotherly communities, an informed laity playing a lead role, evangelization efforts addressed to every inhabitant of the city, and assistance to the poor and the sick.
In 2001, the late John Paul II ordained him a Cardinal. As Cardinal Bergoglio he placed emphasis on “the prophetic mission of the bishop”, his being a “prophet of justice”, his duty to “preach ceaselessly” the social doctrine of the Church. He became famous for his “ascetic” lifestyle and his empathy towards the weak and poor. Since being elected as Supreme Pontiff Pope Francis has expressed concern about the well-being of Christians living the Middle East.
His visit to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Territory emphasizes the Vatican support to the sometimes embattled Christian communities in the birthplace of Christianity. Decrying the decreased number of Christians in the Arab World, which less than a hundred years ago made up ¼ of the population, he said, “ we will not resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians.