Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan visited the Sadler Center’s Commonwealth Auditorium at the College of William and Mary Thursday. His address, titled “Stability in West Asia: Short-Termism or a Vision for Peace,” dealt with the issues of humanitarianism and multilateralism in the Middle East.
“We have a saying in my country, it is an auspicious visit by him who brings rain,” Hassan said, commenting on the weather outside.
In his speech, the prince stressed the commonalities of all peoples by emphasizing the universality of the “golden rule.” He demonstrated this by reading passages of many different religious texts, including selections from Daoisim, Confucianism, Islam and traditional Native American beliefs.
The prince suggested that humanity has been diverted from this empathy, stressing the need for a common dialogue. On the world stage, Hassan noted that governments have “lost their good bedside manner” and are no longer able to step into the shoes of others.
He stressed the need for policies that are concerned with the worldwide effects of policies, not simply individual geographic regions.
He concluded his speech by stressing the need for “partnership in saving our common humanity.”
During the question-and-answer session, Hassan reflected on his home country and its international role, specifically on how Jordan has tried to maintain a middle ground while surrounded by Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Israel and the Palestinian territories, among others.
He related a past conversation with former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. Noting the difficulties facing Israel in the Middle East, Hassan said that Peres told him, “Look at us, we are surrounded by enemies.”
‘You think you have it bad,’” Hassan said he responded, “‘We are surrounded by friends.’”