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Official website of His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein
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Speeches
Speech of His Majesty King Abdullah II
Upon Accepting The Young Presidents Organisation's Global Leadership Award
Los Angeles, California, US
16 March 2002

David,
Distinguished Guests,

Thank you for this great honour. It is especially meaningful for me, to be the first recipient of this award, and from an organisation I so highly regard.

The YPO started as an organisation that brings young executives together to exchange experiences and ideas, and has grown, over the years, into a significant, worldwide builder of leaders.

Today, YPO offers unparalleled opportunities for person-to-person connections, dialogue, and world understanding. I understand that following September 11, YPOers opened a worldwide discussion to candidly and directly talk to each other, sharing insights, and affirming common values.

It is precisely this kind of global bridge-building that the September 11 terrorists sought to destroy. Your response instead was to pioneer a timely campaign, to strengthen world ties and bridge cultural divides.

That is especially important, when you consider how deep an impact YPO has. Look around this room, and you see leaders of leaders, the pinnacle of the pyramid. But go into your countries, and you see a huge base of the YPO leaders' pyramid: thousands of forward-looking men and women, whose work supports growth and progress, jobs and prosperity.

I am especially proud of the YPO leaders we have in Jordan. In fact, I hope you won't mind if I say that ever since we brought YPO to Jordan, I've liked to consider myself a real YPOer.

David,

The great honour that you and your colleagues are bestowing on me today provides the opportunity to recognise all those who make it possible, to shoulder responsibility. I am grateful for a very wise and remarkable father, His late Majesty King Hussein, a wonderful wife and family, friends and colleagues all over the world, and most of all, a great, great people, the people of Jordan. Without them, I could not carry this task with so much hope of success. I know that in a few minutes, Charlie Rose is going to have me in the hot seat, and I do not want to spoil his fun by talking too long now. But I would like to say a few words to respond to David's question about what is required of young leaders in the 21st Century. In fact, I am tempted to answer with just one word:

Reach. Reach beyond the predictable. Reach for opportunity. Reach out to others, around the world. Today, we stand on the brink of a new age, challenged to use the lessons of the past, to create a new future. We have seen the danger and destruction of violence, hatred, and injustice. But we have also seen through you, in the YPO, how people achieve when they communicate, exercise their creativity, build knowledge, and reach out to others.

This positive course is the one we have set in Jordan. As a people, we are living our heritage; one of deep faith, and respect for diversity. As a community, we are investing in the education, technology, and infrastructure needed, to succeed in a global economy. As a nation, we are taking the risk and responsibility to work against terror and pursue peace.

So, behind these commitments is a strong belief in people, in their good sense, their noble values, in their fundamental abilities, and their human rights. This belief is what drives my work at home, and my efforts for peace and justice in our region, and in the world. The challenge ahead, is still a big one – to bring the benefits of new technology to those who are less fortunate, and to fulfil the promise of peace and security, for the victims of conflict and violence. Let us reach to provide a real opportunity to those who have lost hope.

It is a challenge that calls for leaders like you and your fellow YPOers. So, I salute you for what you have achieved. And I look forward to what you will accomplish in the years ahead.

Thank you very much.