- NAME: Queen Noor of Jordan
- OCCUPATION: Queen
- BIRTH DATE: August 23, 1951 (Age: 61)
- EDUCATION: National Cathedral School, The Chapin School, Concord Academy, Princeton University
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Washington, D.C.
- AKA: Lisa N. Halaby
- AKA: Lisa Halaby
- AKA: Queen Noor
- Full Name: Lisa Najeeb Halaby
- AKA: Queen Noor of Jordan
- ZODIAC SIGN: Leo
Best Known For
Queen Noor of Jordan, who was the consort of King Hussein, was trained as an urban planner and works as a philanthropist/world activist.
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Queen Noor of Jordan was born Lisa Najeeb Halaby in Washington, D.C., on August 23, 1951. Of Arab descent, she would go on to work in urban planning both domestically and abroad in Australia and Iran. After taking a position with Jordan’s Alia airline, she wed King Hussein in 1978. She has gone on to be known for her philanthropic work, including advocacy for children and the removal of landmines.
"If a lasting peace in the Middle East is ever to be realized, it is time for the United States to bring its practices in line with an active and unambiguous exercise of the principles that govern its democracy."
Queen Noor of Jordan was born Lisa Najeeb Halaby on August 23, 1951, in Washington, D.C. Her father, Najeeb Elias Halaby, was a former U.S. Navy test pilot and lawyer who had been head of the Federal Aviation Administration under President John F. Kennedy. Born into a distinguished Arab-American family, Lisa experienced a privileged upbringing, attending exclusive private schools in Washington D.C., New York City, and Massachusetts before enrolling in the first co-educational class at Princeton University in 1969.
In 1972, after taking a break from academics to waitress, ski, and study photography in Aspen, Colorado, Lisa returned to Princeton and took up her study of architecture and urban planning with a renewed vigor and drive. Upon graduation, she flew to Australia and worked for an architectural firm that specialized in the design of new towns. At this time, her steadily growing interest in Arab culture took shape in the form of a job offer from Llewelyn-Davies, Weeks—a British architectural firm that had been commissioned to re-plan the city of Teheran—which she immediately accepted.
Lisa returned to the United States in 1976, where she planned to obtain a master's degree in journalism, entertaining the idea of pursuing a career in television production. In the meantime, her father had just accepted an offer from the Jordanian government to help redesign their airlines, forming the company Arabair Services. He offered Lisa a job and she accepted, foregoing the Columbia School of Journalism to become the airline's Director of Facilities Planning and Design. She assisted in the design of the Arab Air University, to be built in the Jordanian capital, as well as a housing company for Royal Jordanian Airlines employees.
During this time, Lisa attended several important social events in Jordan, and occasionally got the opportunity to meet King Hussein (they first met at an airport ceremony in 1977). The King, who was still mourning the loss of his third wife, Alia, took great interest in the airlines. The two became friends, and by 1978, their friendship had evolved into a romance. Lisa later recalled to Dominick Dunne of Vanity Fair: "We courted on a motorcycle. It was the only way we could get off by ourselves." After a six-week courtship, King Hussein proposed to Lisa on May 13, 1978.
On June 15, 1978, Lisa Najeeb Halaby became the first American-born queen of an Arab country, taking the name Noor al-Hussein or "Light of Hussein." She and King Hussein married in a traditional Islamic ceremony at the Zaharan Palace, where Queen Noor was the only woman present.
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