JORDAN: King Abdullah II Biography And Profile
The 41st-generation direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), His Majesty King Abdullah II assumed his constitutional powers as monarch on 7 February 1999.
Following the leadership legacy of his father, the late King Hussein, King Abdullah has made the welfare of Jordan’s people the cornerstone of his policies for national development, regional peace and global coexistence. 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 program of national development. He has overseen sweeping educational reforms, which today are energising Jordan’s private sector and preparing Jordan’s youth for global competitiveness and leadership.
To provide real solutions to Jordan’s pressing economic needs, King Abdullah ushered in a new era of structural reform and modernisation, integration with the world economy and globalisation. The King has worked to bring together the public and private sectors – both domestic and global – through large-scale joint initiatives aimed at meeting the urgent challenges of job creation, opportunity for Jordan’s young population and poverty alleviation. King Abdullah personally championed Jordan’s accession to the World Trade Organisation, presided over Jordan’s becoming the first Arab country to sign a free trade agreement with the United States and has forged new bilateral and multilateral economic alliances with countries from Asia to Latin America.
In diplomatic affairs, King Abdullah has been the voice of Jordan’s progressive policies to expand global justice and cooperation. Taking up the historical role of the Hashemite Family, he has championed the rights, achievements and values of Muslims worldwide. In 2004, he worked with leading Islamic scholars to release the Amman Message, reaching a global audience with Islam’s guiding principles of peace, tolerance and dialogue among faiths.
In the footsteps of the late King Hussein, King Abdullah renewed a firm commitment to peace in the region on the basis of the two-state solution and the establishment of a viable, independent and geographically contiguous Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, living in peace alongside Israel, in accordance with UN resolutions and the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.
King Abdullah is the eldest son of His Majesty King Hussein Bin Talal (1935-1999) and Her Royal Highness Princess Muna Al Hussein. Born in Amman on 30 January 1962, he is the namesake of King Abdullah I, his great-grandfather, the founder of modern Jordan.
King Abdullah began his education at the Islamic Educational College in Amman. He later attended St. Edmund’s School in Surrey, England, and concluded his high school education at Deerfield Academy in the United States. Later, he pursued advanced studies at Pembroke College, Oxford, and Georgetown University.
The young prince was a man of action on the athletic field and the training ground. In 1980, he enrolled in the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst (UK) and was commissioned as second lieutenant in 1981. He served in the British Army in the 13/18th Royal Hussars Regiment, with duties as a reconnaissance troop leader in the United Kingdom and Germany.
In 1985, then-Prince Abdullah returned to Jordan to serve in the armed forces (Armoured Corps, 3rd Division). Rising through the ranks to lieutenant-colonel, he attended advanced military courses in both Jordan and the UK. Among other duties, he served on attachment to the Special Forces and qualified as a Cobra attack helicopter pilot. After service as commander of the 2nd Armoured Battalion, 40th Armoured Brigade, he was named deputy commander, Jordanian Special Forces, in January 1993.
In November 1993, Prince Abdullah became commander of Jordan’s Special Forces. In 1996, he was given the task of reorganising the Special Forces and other elite units into the new Special Operations Command (SOCOM). In 1998, as SOCOM commander, he was promoted to the rank of major general.
In his off-duty hours, the Prince became well known for his interest in land, sea and air sports, including free-fall parachuting. He shared his father’s passion for cars and motorcycles and became a Jordan National Rally champion. Today, he continues to enjoy aquatic sports, including boating and scuba diving. During his time in the military, King Abdullah also developed an interest in ancient weapons and today, he maintains a world-class collection of military artefacts.
King Abdullah’s service in the army was always a source of personal pride and his respect for those who serve their nation has been a conspicuous quality of his leadership. Today, the King describes Jordan’s armed forces as the “foremost symbol of honour, bravery, sacrifice and belonging.”
During his years as an army officer, then-Prince Abdullah was regularly dispatched on official diplomatic and military missions. He also frequently served his country in the capacity of regent in King Hussein’s absence.
In 1993, then-Prince Abdullah met Rania Al-Yassin. Six months later, the couple were engaged and they married on 10 June 1993. As a princess, Queen Rania began the powerful social work and advocacy which she continues to this day. The Royal Couple’s first child, Prince Hussein, the Crown Prince, was born on 28 June 1994. Since then, they have had three more children: Princess Iman (27 September 1996); Princess Salma (26 September 2000); and Prince Hashem (30 January 2005).
– King Abdullah II Biography