The 41st-generation direct descendant of the ProphetMohammad (peace be upon him), His Majesty King Abdullah II assumed hisconstitutional powers as monarch on 7 February 1999.
Following the leadership legacy of his father, the late KingHussein, King Abdullah has made the welfare of Jordan's people the cornerstoneof his policies for national development, regional peace and globalcoexistence. The King's special concern for the future of Jordan's young peoplehas put youth engagement, education and opportunity at the top of his agenda.At home, he has paired economic reforms with political liberalisation and aninnovative program of national development. He has overseen sweepingeducational reforms, which today are energising Jordan's private sector andpreparing Jordan's youth for global competitiveness and leadership.
To provide real solutions to Jordan's pressing economicneeds, King Abdullah ushered in a new era of structural reform andmodernisation, integration with the world economy and globalisation. The Kinghas worked to bring together the public and private sectors – both domestic andglobal – through large-scale joint initiatives aimed at meeting the urgentchallenges of job creation, opportunity for Jordan's young population andpoverty alleviation. King Abdullah personally championed Jordan's accession tothe World Trade Organisation, presided over Jordan's becoming the first Arabcountry to sign a free trade agreement with the United States and has forgednew bilateral and multilateral economic alliances with countries from Asia toLatin America.
In diplomatic affairs, King Abdullah has been the voice ofJordan's progressive policies to expand global justice and cooperation. Takingup the historical role of the Hashemite Family, he has championed the rights,achievements and values of Muslims worldwide. In 2004, he worked with leadingIslamic scholars to release the Amman Message, reaching a global audience withIslam's guiding principles of peace, tolerance and dialogue among faiths.
In the footsteps of the late King Hussein, King Abdullahrenewed a firm commitment to peace in the region on the basis of the two-statesolution and the establishment of a viable, independent and geographicallycontiguous Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, living inpeace alongside Israel, in accordance with UN resolutions and the 2002 ArabPeace Initiative.
King Abdullah is the eldest son of His Majesty King HusseinBin Talal (1935-1999) and Her Royal Highness Princess Muna Al Hussein. Born inAmman on 30 January 1962, he is the namesake of King Abdullah I, hisgreat-grandfather, the founder of modern Jordan.
King Abdullah began his education at the Islamic EducationalCollege in Amman. He later attended St. Edmund's School in Surrey, England, andconcluded his high school education at Deerfield Academy in the United States.Later, he pursued advanced studies at Pembroke College, Oxford, and GeorgetownUniversity.
The young prince was a man of action on the athletic fieldand the training ground. In 1980, he enrolled in the Royal Military Academy atSandhurst (UK) and was commissioned as second lieutenant in 1981. He served inthe British Army in the 13/18th Royal Hussars Regiment, with duties as areconnaissance troop leader in the United Kingdom and Germany.
In 1985, then-Prince Abdullah returned to Jordan to serve inthe armed forces (Armoured Corps, 3rd Division). Rising through the ranks tolieutenant-colonel, he attended advanced military courses in both Jordan andthe UK. Among other duties, he served on attachment to the Special Forces andqualified as a Cobra attack helicopter pilot. After service as commander of the2nd Armoured Battalion, 40th Armoured Brigade, he was named deputy commander,Jordanian Special Forces, in January 1993.
In November 1993, Prince Abdullah became commander ofJordan's Special Forces. In 1996, he was given the task of reorganising theSpecial Forces and other elite units into the new Special Operations Command(SOCOM). In 1998, as SOCOM commander, he was promoted to the rank of majorgeneral.
In his off-duty hours, the Prince became well known for hisinterest in land, sea and air sports, including free-fall parachuting. Heshared his father's passion for cars and motorcycles and became a JordanNational Rally champion. Today, he continues to enjoy aquatic sports, includingboating and scuba diving. During his time in the military, King Abdullah alsodeveloped an interest in ancient weapons and today, he maintains a world-class collectionof military artefacts.
King Abdullah's service in the army was always a source ofpersonal pride and his respect for those who serve their nation has been aconspicuous quality of his leadership. Today, the King describes Jordan's armedforces as the "foremost symbol of honour, bravery, sacrifice andbelonging."
During his years as an army officer, then-Prince Abdullahwas regularly dispatched on official diplomatic and military missions. He alsofrequently served his country in the capacity of regent in King Hussein'sabsence.
In 1993, then-Prince Abdullah met Rania Al-Yassin. Sixmonths later, the couple were engaged and they married on 10 June 1993. As aprincess, Queen Rania began the powerful social work and advocacy which shecontinues to this day. The Royal Couple's first child, Prince Hussein, theCrown Prince, was born on 28 June 1994. Since then, they have had three morechildren: Princess Iman (27 September 1996); Princess Salma (26 September2000); and Prince Hashem (30 January 2005).
*Source: King Abdullah II Official site.