More than a hundred UC Irvine students took part in a “Day of Service” Saturday in Orange County. Queen Noor of Jordan talked with them before they headed out to help those less fortunate.
She met the students at the Center for Living Peace in Irvine. It was one of four locations where students volunteered their time.
She told them their generation can make changes that will have long-lasting effects on Orange County and the world. She said networking through technology makes that effort more effective.
“So that people no longer feel that they only have the people immediately around them, but they feel that there is a much broader community of people that they can share what they care about with and also learn from what possibilities there are," said Queen Noor. "I’ve seen it, I’ve seen so many young people seem to be really wanting to make a difference and recognizing by the way that there is no choice, they have to get involved and get engaged, as does everyone of every generation today, because the problems facing us are so critical.”
Armaan Ahmed Rowther is UCI’s Dalai Lama scholar and also the founder of the group “Leap of Faith.” He started the group to bring together students from various faiths and backgrounds to work on community service projects and to raise awareness about hunger and poverty.
“I think the problems that we’re trying to alleviate, whether it’s in Santa Ana, Costa Mesa or Anaheim, there’s a lot of places with a lot of need," said Rowther, a public health major at UCI. "And so my challenge to the students is to be reminded of that and to internalize that reminder and use that reminder as we plan for what we’re going to do with the rest of our lives.”
Despite its reputation for wealth and privilege, Rowther said Orange County has tens of thousands of people who face hunger each month.
Students doing service at the Center for Living Peace in Irvine assembled lunch packs that later were passed out to homeless people by the Second Harvest Food Bank.
Other students were bused to different cities, where they helped organizations that serve low-income and homeless people in Orange County.
Queen Noor was born Lisa Najeeb Halaby. When she married King Hussein of Jordan in 1978, she became the first American-born queen of an Arab country.
She chairs several foundations, including the King Hussein Foundation International, which works to enhance understanding among different cultures.
Queen Noor is scheduled to talk about her work in global conflict prevention on May 2 at UC Irvine. Armaan Ahmed Rowther will moderate the event, which is sold out.