"I would like all visitors to have a chance to marvel at creation, such that
every small or big living thing they look at becomes a wonder in itself.
When you truly look at the majesty and purity of life, you cannot but step back
in awe and be thankful. Then, personal problems seem frivolous or irrelevant
for a moment, no matter how fleeting.
Once you have tasted this sweet sensation, it becomes intoxicatingly addictive!"
– Princess Basma bint Ali
HRH Princess Basma bint Ali is an advocate of biodiversity conservation and has a strong connection with the environment. Years ago, she decided to create the Royal Botanic Garden of Jordan to preserve native plants and ecosystems, and promote biodiversity research and environmental learning.
Her dream is now becoming a reality. After over five years of studies and planning, an earth-friendly design has been completed for Phase I of the gardens, infrastructure and buildings.
Where others might have quickly put up buildings and started operations, Princess Basma has preferred first to create a sound scientific base, cultivate close ties with the local community, and draw up a holistic, ecological approach to the entire project.
Through a team effort, great progress has already been made in establishing the RBG herbarium, seed bank, plant nursery and community-based rangeland rehabilitation project, among other things.
Complete visitor facilities are now in the process of being established. Although the Garden is not yet officially open, special events are already being held from time to time to accommodate groups that are eager to explore the RBG site and learn about Jordan's native plants.
Princess Basma has gained international recognition for her efforts to bring environmental issues to the forefront in Jordan.
In 2011, she was awarded the Henry Shaw Medal by the Missouri Botanical Garden, for her pioneering work in founding the Royal Botanic Garden, raising awareness among Jordanians about the urgent importance of conserving plants, and protecting the environment.
In 2002, the United Nations Environmental Programme included her in the Global 500 Roll of Honor for Environmental Achievements. In 1998, she became the first Arab woman to receive the title of Hero for the Planet from Time Magazine.
Princess Basma is the founder and chairperson of the Royal Marine Conservation Society of Jordan (JREDS). As one of the first women in Jordan to earn navy diving certification, she had seen firsthand the damage that human waste and neglect were taking on the coral reefs of Jordan's Red Sea coast and wanted to do something about it.
She also chairs the National Biodiversity Committee and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Princess Alia Foundation.
Princess Basma bint Ali earlier served for 12 years in the Jordanian army, reaching the rank of Major. In 1995, she received the King Hussein Gold Medal for Excellence, along with other decorations from the Jordanian Armed Forces in 1995 and 1998.