HOBART — Students from all across the United States and Jordan gathered in Hobart on Wednesday for a leadership session and were surprised by a visit from the King of Jordan.
King Abdullah II made the unofficial trip to speak with the students who are part of the Four Star Debate program, formed by retired Gen. Tommy Franks, a close friend of the king.
In brief remarks, the king spoke about the importance of education as a key to produce positive change.
In particular, the king cited examples of the “Arab Spring,” the democratic movement driven by youth leadership that is sweeping through the Middle East. The movement toppled regimes in Egypt and Tunisia.
Noor Masannat, a Jordanian student from Amman, said she was a fan of the king.
“Everyone in Jordan loves him,” Masannat said.
She said while many other Middle Eastern countries were going through revolutions, nothing severe happened in Jordan.
Masannat, a student at King's Academy, said Abdullah visits her school frequently and gives speeches to the students about improving themselves through academics.
The king also remarked about the importance of leadership, something Franks focused on in his speech to the group earlier that day.
Franks, a four-star general and former commander of the U.S. Central Command, said that all 44 students in the audience had received great honors, but with those accolades come opportunities to excel further.
“Along with great opportunity comes great responsibility,” Franks said. “Those who step up to that responsibility gain reputations for being patriots, servants, leaders.”