Jehan Sadat speaks at the Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, California, on April 11, 2006
|First Lady of Egypt|
October 15, 1970 – October 6, 1981
|Preceded by||Tahia Kazem|
|Succeeded by||Suzanne Mubarak|
Jehan Safwat Raouf
(Egyptian Arabic: جيهان صفوت رؤوف)
29 August 1933
Cairo, Kingdom of Egypt
|Alma mater||Cairo University|
Jehan Sadat (Egyptian Arabic: جيهان السادات Jihān es-Sadāt; born 29 August 1933), a human rights activist, is the widow of Anwar Sadat, and was First Lady of Egypt from 1970 until Sadat's assassination in 1981.
Jehan Sadat, also spelled Jihan, was born Jehan Safwat Raouf (Arabic: جيهان صفوت رؤوف Jīhān Ṣafwat Raʼūf) in Cairo, Egypt, as the first girl and third child of an upper-middle-class family of an Egyptian surgeon father, Safwat Raouf, and English music teacher mother, Gladys Cotterill. Her mother was the daughter of Charles Henry Cotterill, a Sheffield City police superintendent. She was raised as a Muslim according to her father's wishes, but also attended a secondary Christian school for girls in Cairo.
As a teenage schoolgirl she was intrigued with Anwar Sadat as a local hero through following reports in the media about his heroic stories and his courage, loyalty, and determination in resisting the British occupation of Egypt. She heard many stories about him from her cousin, whose husband was his colleague in resistance and later in prison.
It was at her fifteenth birthday party that she first met her future husband Anwar Sadat, shortly after his release from prison, where he served two and a half years for his political activities. She and Sadat married on May 29, 1949, after hesitation and objections from her parents to the idea of their daughter marrying a jobless revolutionary. He was 31, she was 15 years 9 months old. Sadat was subsequently part of the core members of the Free Officers Movement that led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan.
As First Lady
Over the course of 32 years, Jehan was a supportive wife for her rising political husband who would go on to become President of Egypt. She is mother to their three daughters Noha, Jihan, Lobna and son Gamal. She later used her platform as the first lady of Egypt to touch the lives of millions inside her country, and served as a role model for women everywhere. She helped change the world’s image of Arab women during the 1970s, while undertaking volunteer work, and participating in non-governmental service to the less fortunate.
Jehan played a key role in reforming Egypt's civil rights laws during the late 1970s. Often called “Jehan’s Laws” new statutes advanced by her granted women a variety of new rights, including those to alimony and custody of children in the event of divorce.
After visiting wounded soldiers at the Suez front during the Six-Day War in 1967, she founded al Wafa’ Wa Amal (Faith and Hope) Rehabilitation Center, which offers disabled war veterans medical and rehabilitation services and vocational training. The center, is supported by donations from around the world and now serves visually impaired children and has a worldwide known music and choir band.
She has also played crucial roles in the formation of the Talla Society, a cooperative in the Nile Delta region that assists local women in becoming self-sufficient; the Egyptian Society for Cancer Patients and the Egyptian Blood Bank; and SOS Children's Villages in Egypt, an organization that provides orphans new homes in a family environment.
She headed the Egyptian delegation to the UN International Women’s Conferences in Mexico City and Copenhagen. She is founder of the Arab-African Women’s League. As an activist she has hosted and participated in numerous conferences throughout the world concerning women’s issues, children’s welfare, and peace in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America.
- BA in Arabic Literature, Cairo University, 1977
- MA in Comparative Literature, Cairo University, 1980
- PhD in Comparative Literature, Cairo University, 1986
After completing her education, she became a teacher at the Cairo Artist and Performance Center.
Jehan is a Senior fellow at the University of Maryland, College Park (where The Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development has also been endowed).
She also published an autobiography, A Woman of Egypt (ISBN 0-7432-3708-0) in 1987, published by Simon & Schuster Inc., as well as poetry in Arabic, under a pseudonym, and has written a second book, My Hope for Peace, released in March 2009.
Awards and honors
- Jehan is the recipient of several national and international awards for public service and humanitarian efforts for women and children.
- She has also received more than 20 honorary doctorate degrees from national and international colleges and universities around the world.
- In 1993, she received the Community of Christ International Peace Award.
- In 2001 she was the winner of Pearl S. Buck Award
- Egypt's first lady from 1970 to 1981
- First woman chair of the People's Council of Munofeyya Provincial governorate
- Visiting professor at American University, University of South Carolina, and Radford University in the United States
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jehan Al Sadat.|
- Madame Jehan Sadat official website
- Biography at the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland
- Biography at Women's International Center
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Jehan Sadat on Charlie Rose
- Jehan Sadat on IMDb
- Works by or about Jehan Sadat in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Thirty years later, Sadat's widow still hopes for peace, CNN, 26 March 2009
| First Lady of Egypt