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~Madame Jehan Sadat to Deliver Commencement Address~

For immediate release:
March 12, 2001


Mary Ann Hill

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Madame Jehan Sadat, an internationally recognized human rights activist dedicated to women's education and opportunity, will address the Class of 2001 at the Wellesley College's 123rd Commencement exercises on June 1.

Born in 1933, she married Anwar Sadat at the age of 16. During the course of their 32-year marriage, she earned a bachelor's degree in Arabic language, a master's degree in literature, and a doctorate in literary criticism from Cairo University. Since 1988, the former First Lady of Egypt has served as a Senior Fellow at the Center for International Development and Conflict Management at the University of Maryland.

Since her husband's assassination in 1981, she has continued to support organizations that promote peace and mutual understanding in addition to her long-standing efforts to improve the status of women in Egypt.

One of Sadat's many accomplishments is the establishment of a women's emancipation, education, and training society. Now known as the Talla Society, the group trains women in various handicrafts and pays the tuition of nearly 1,000 secondary school and university students. She helped pass the Egyptian Civil Rights Act of 1979, popularly known as "Jehan's Laws," which broadened divorce rights for women in Egypt and was the first such law in the Middle East.

Sadat is the founder of the Wafa Wa Amal (Faith and Hope) Society in Egypt, established in 1972 to assist handicapped war veterans and civilians. The society now operates clinics, rehabilitation centers, training programs, and recreation areas as a city where handicapped veterans can live with their families.

Sadat has received nearly two dozen honorary degrees and many prestigious international awards, including UNICEF's Children's Champion Award.


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  • Date Modified: July 30, 2001
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