This article was previously published in the special edition, ALUMNAE (December 2018).
HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan of Jordan was educated in Amman, Jordan and in the UK. She graduated from The Courtauld with a BA specialising in early Islamic art and architecture and their relationships with other cultures. Though an art historian by training, Princess Sumaya has developed a prominent career in the promotion of science, technology and cultural heritage in Jordan and beyond.
Her career today reflects her passion for art and her belief in the potential of creative science and technology to improve lives. She is Vice-Chair of the Jordan Museum, which she helped to found and now directs and oversees, and has been President of the Royal Scientific Society of Jordan since 2006. Among many other achievements, Princess Sumaya is Deputy-Chair of the Higher Council for Science and Technology, a body which advises the Jordanian Government on public policy issues relating to science and technology. She is also President of the Jordan chapter of the International Council of Museums (ICOM). She is a leading advocate for science and research in the wider Arab World, and for cultural appreciation of the creative potential of science. She is an enthusiastic promoter of science in education and sustainable development and utilises her various platforms to promote projects for the benefit of all sections of society. Her founding of the Princess Sumaya University for Technology (PSUT) and the Queen Rania Centre for Entrepreneurship demonstrates a commitment to maximising the potential of young talent through education. Her Royal Highness has been an active force in uniting the research carried out at PSUT with the projects of the Royal Scientific Society, culminating in the foundation of El Hassan Science City, an innovative campus community and science park, and the first of its kind in Jordan.
A key figure well beyond Jordan, Princess Sumaya has worked prolifically in the development of science and technology around the world. Most recently, she was designated UNESCO Special Envoy for Science for Peace. She was Chair of World Science Forum 2017 and devised Jordan’s Year of Science celebrations in 2017, which showcased Jordan’s creative science culture and celebrated a heritage of engagement and enquiry. Elsewhere, her excellence and expertise were honoured by appointments to the New York Academy of Sciences and the UN’s High Panel on Science and Technology for Development. In her many international commitments, Her Royal Highness is an avid promoter of Jordanian initiatives, seeking to establish her country as the cultural and scientific hub of the Middle East.
Her interest in art history, combined with her passion for science, inform the Princess’s core belief that engaging with the modern world, while drawing on the experiences of the past, are central to building a creative and independent future locally, nationally, and globally.