CULTURE

Queen Rania makes time for Elpida

Much has been written about the working visit to Athens a week ago of Jordan’s King Abdullah and the fruitful results of his talks here. Not as much publicity, however, was given to his wife Queen Rania, who accompanied him to Greece. The only photograph of her is from the official reception given by Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis, who awarded King Abdullah the Gold Medal of Athens. Here is one more photograph, some days after the royal couple’s official visit ended. It was taken during an unofficial dinner at an Athens restaurant for the purpose of a exchange of views on humanitarian and philanthropic issues between Queen Rania, Natassa Karamanli (the wife of Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis) and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Marianna Vardinoyianni, who heads the Elpida Foundation for the Child and the Family. With them was the wife of the Jordanian ambassador, Mrs Daodeeh. Queen Rania meanwhile visited children who are fighting cancer at the Elpida Foundation at her own request. Accompanied by Marianna Vardinoyianni, the queen visited the Elpida hostel that provides accommodation for children undergoing treatment at the Aghia Sofia Children’s Hospital, along with their families. The children clamored to be photographed with the «Fairy Lady,» as they called her. Queen Rania is a board member of the World Economic Forum and of the Vaccine Fund which provides lifesaving vaccines to children in poor countries. She was recently declared a Benefactor by the World Health Organization in the sector of preventing violence in the Eastern Mediterranean.