Jordanien: Laurice Hlass

�He builds too low who builds below the stars’ is my driving motto that gives me strength to encounter life's challenges and to aspire for better things.

— Laurice Hlass

Born in Jaffa, Palestine, Laurice Hlass was forced to flee her country in 1948 when Israeli forces occupied her hometown, massacring some of her family members. Raised in a financially poor family, she struggled to obtain a scholarship to pursue her education in the US. In 1969, she became the first female Jordanian diplomat to work as Deputy Jordanian Representative in the UN. For so long, Her Excellency Laurice Hlass has worked within various organizations towards protecting the rights of refugees, women and children.

For over 20 years, Laurice Hlass has supported and promoted activities that raised awareness of gender and peace issues, human rights and refugee living standards. The latter aspect of her work is a particularly important facet of her commitment to peace, as she herself was exiled from her country and her hometown Jaffa after the 1948 war and the occupation of Palestine. The pain of exile was aggravated by the loss of many family members who were murdered – some in front of her – by Israeli soldiers. While receiving an education and earning a respectable and lofty position in the Jordanian government and society, she had been involved in a number of governmental and non-governmental initiatives aimed at addressing the plight of refugees. Most difficult however has been her work with refugee and rural communities in Jordan. Conditions in many of the villages, districts and camps were very poor and often insecure. The work she was engaged in was often very physically demanding and emotionally draining, involving many sleepless nights in order to complete her projects or assist a family in need. Her commitment to refugee and rural communities has never waned in over 20 years of commitment to bettering their conditions. In doing so, she has inspired many women in these communities to further their education and improve their social situation. Whether through vocational or skills training, or simply small personal discussions, Laurice Hlass has touched the lives of so many young Jordanians and others throughout the world. In Morocco for example, where she worked in small communities on issues of community development, many mothers named their daughters after her in recognition of her contribution to improving their lives.

United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) World Committee on Tourism Ethics (WCTE) Queen Alia Foundation for the Deaf and Dumb (QAFDD)