Belgian Royals in Singapore
For the second leg of their south Asian economic tour, Belgium’s crown princely couple went to Singapore. There, Philippe and Mathilde continued making diplomatic ties, promoting Belgian businesses, and touring the city state.
First, while Philippe attended business meetings, Crown Princess Mathilde went on a cultural tour of Singapore. She visited the La Salle College of the Arts where students performed a dance for her. Mathilde then went to the Singapore Botanical Garden, where she was shown a yellow orchid named after her.
Later in the evening, Philippe and Mathilde went to a dinner at the Shangri-La hotel.
On Friday, at the same hotel, Crown Prince Philippe helped honor Lim Chee Onn, Executive Chairman of Keppel Corporation, at an award ceremony and reception for Mr. Lim. Philippe is the honorary chairmen for Belgium’s Agency for Foreign Trade.
Philippe also took time to inspect the honor guard at the Istana or presidential palace in the city republic, accompanied by by Acting Prime Minister S. Jayakumar.
The crown princely couple will stay in Singapore until Saturday.
Queen Rania to Launch Principal Award
She honors Jordan’s teachers, so why not honor the principals who run the country’s schools?
Queen Rania announced on Thursday that she will be launching the Queen Rania Al Abdullah Award for Distinguished Principals, which will begin next year.
The Queen, an tireless advocate for education, said this during a ceremony to honor winners of the Queen Rania Award for Distinguished Teachers, held in the port city of Aqaba.
In her remarks, Rania said there are many distinguished teachers in Jordan but there are others in the country’s schools who overlook the element of actual education in the teaching process.
An example of this would be the increasing violence in Jordanian schools.
“We should not, however, ignore the fact that some parents fail to prevent their children from reacting with physical attacks, bad language and insult. Regrettably, in our schools there are increasing cases of beating students and beating teachers, so where is education in such a teaching process?” the Queen told the gathering, which brought about an array of teachers, academicians and officials from the educational sector.
“We call on this responsible and distinguished gathering of teachers, principals and officials not to turn a blind eye to what is happening. You should care for the psychological injuries, which might be invisible to us, but remain hard to cure,” the Queen added.
Queen Rania went on to say during the three years of the Queen Rania Award for Excellence in Education, there have been comprehensive national efforts to improve the educational sector.
Minister of Education Tayseer Nueimi underlined “the success of the award in achieving its educational and social goals, particularly after the vision behind it was made clear to teachers, boosting their morale and encouraging more enthusiasm among them for the profession”.
The minister added that the award also presented teachers with the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences in an environment of excellence.
Nueimi noted that out of the ministry’s support for the award, it has promoted the 23 winners.
At the end of the ceremony, Queen Rania presented the winners with plaques and certificates, and also honoured contestants who made it to the final stages without winning the top prizes.
Swedish Royals Fight Exploitation of Children
Sweden’s Queen Silvia was in Rio de Janiero this week for the World Congress III Against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents. An advocate for children’s rights, it was natural for the Swedish Queen to be one of the delegates at the Congress.
The original Congress took place in Stockholm in 1996. Since then, many studies – including the recent ‘UN Study on Violence Against Children’ – indicate that the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents is pervasive. These sources provide evidence of growing criminal activity related to the trafficking of children for sexual purposes, exploitation by tourists and travelers, the proliferation of child abuse imagery and internet-related crimes. The sexual exploitation of children and adolescents is fueled by national and international demand, which threatens children and adolescents of all ages, in every corner of the world.
Queen Silvia was accompanied by her daughter, Princess Madeleine to Rio. Although the princess was not an official at the Congress, she was there to lend her support to children’s rights. Previously, Madeleine had interned at the UN for its unit that fights the sexual exploitation of children.
Earlier this month, Queen Silvia called for Sweden to make it criminal to look at internet child pornography, as it is in Norway and Denmark.
Clearly, the royal mother and daughter team are – and will continue to be – a force in the fight to end the sexual abuse of children around the world.
Danish Royals Wrap Thai Tour Amid Turmoil
Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary ended their three day visit to Thailand on Wednesday – apparently unscathed from the recent chaos in the country. Despite Thailand’s problems, the royal couple had continued with appearances in and around Bangkok, the site of most of the turmoil.
The point of their tour was to celebrate 150 years of Danish-Thai economic ties. The Crown Prince made appearances based on that, visiting a Danish company based in Thailand, and cutting ribbons for two other companies. Interesting enough, the first company Frederik stopped by – Viking ASIA in Laem Chabang ouside of Bangkok - was a business that makes life saving devices.
Lay Diderichsen, Managing Director at VIKING Asia, was very pleased with the royal visit.
“It means a lot to us on a local base. The Royals are really important in Thailand and therefore it means a lot to the local society that His Royal Highness the Crown Prince visits us,” he says smilingly.
Meanwhile, Crown Princess Mary took time for a cultural tour of Bangkok. She attended a fashion show and lifestyle exhibition, where she was entertained by a masked Thai dancer.
Later, she visited a Community Medical Unit Center, went to a Wat Chinna Wararam School where children performed Thai Traditional music, and a temple where she watched fish being fed.
In the middle of their Thai visit, the Crown Prince and Princess got a chance to sit and meet with King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit, at the King’s summer palace in Hua Hin in Thailand’s southern peninsula.
Frederik and Mary got to meet with other Thai royals at a charity dinner. There, they dined with Princess Soamsawali Kitiyakara and Princess Bajrakitiyabha. The dinner supported diabetes awareness and treatment in Thailand.
The Crown Princely couple are now out of Thailand now, safe and sound. Now, the focus will be on Thailand’s royal family to see how they handle the new crisis in their unsteady kingdom. The family – especially King Bhumibol – is revered in Thailand. Many of the protestors are loyal to him.
Crown Prince Haakon In Turkey
Norway’s royal heir is on a three day mission to strengthen ties with Turkey. Haakon was invited by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This is the first time any member of the Norwegian royal family ever made an official visit to the country.
Haakon told reporters at the hotel where he is staying in the Turkish capital of Ankara, that the main aim of his visit to Turkey was to boost cooperation in hydro energy.
The Crown Prince said that Norway was experienced in hydro energy, and was supplying 90 percent of its electricity with this method.
Haakon added that his country also wanted to further improve cooperation with Turkey in maritime, and tourism.
In Ankara, the Prince will open seminars on hydro power. Then in Istanbul, he will attend business meetings with sector leaders from both Turkey and Norway. The latter have accompanied Haakon to Turkey.
One person not with Haakon is Crown Princess Mette-Marit. This may be because she has begun classes for a master’s degree in management in Oslo.
Belgian Crown Princely Couple In Indonesia
Belgium’s Crown Prince Philippe and Crown Princess Mathilde are currently spending about a week promoting Belgian businesses in Indonesia. They began their visit on Saturday, and have gotten quite a few things done.
One of the first things the Crown Prince did was sit through a round table in Jakarta, with businessmen of different economic sectors, to develop a meeting with possible investors. Philippe is the honorary chairman of Belgium’s Agency of Foreign Trade, and had nearly 70 Belgian business leaders as part of the royal delegation.
Of special importance for the Belgian economy are the sectors of diet, beverages, health, and data processing. According to the Agency of Foreign Trade, the trip will firm of important contracts and the strengthening of the relations among both Belgium and Indonesia.
While the Philippe was attending business meetings, his wife Mathilde met with disadvantaged children of Jakarta. Along with Mufidah Jusuf Kalla, the wife of Indonesia’s vice president, the Crown Princess stopped by Pantara, a school dedicated to children with learning disabilities. Children’s issues seem to be very close to Mathilde’s heart, as she has visited schools in Belgium in the past.
The visit to Indonesia also coincides with a trip to Singapore later this week for the same reasons. Crown Prince Philippe will continue Belgium’s strengthening economic ties with south Asia.