Najat Vallaud-Belkacem

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Najat Vallaud-Belkacem
Portrait Najat Vallaud-Belkacem-crop.jpg
Minister of National Education, Higher Education and Research
In office
27 August 2014 – 10 May 2017
PresidentFrançois Hollande
Prime MinisterManuel Valls
Bernard Cazeneuve
Preceded byBenoît Hamon
Succeeded byJean-Michel Blanquer
(National Education)
Frédérique Vidal
(Higher Education and Research)
Minister of Women's Rights, Minister of City Affairs, Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports
In office
2 April 2014 – 25 August 2014
PresidentFrançois Hollande
Prime MinisterManuel Valls
Preceded byherself (Women's Rights)
François Lamy (City Affairs)
Valérie Fourneyron (Sports)
Succeeded byMarisol Touraine (Women's Rights)
Patrick Kanner (City, Youth affairs and Sports)
Minister of Women's Rights
In office
16 May 2012 – 31 March 2014
PresidentFrançois Hollande
Prime MinisterJean-Marc Ayrault
Preceded byCatherine Vautrin
Government's spokesperson
In office
16 May 2012 – 31 March 2014
PresidentFrançois Hollande
Prime MinisterJean-Marc Ayrault
Preceded byValérie Pécresse
Succeeded byStéphane Le Foll
Conseillère générale of the Rhône department
Assumed office
16 March 2008
Personal details
Born (1977-10-04) 4 October 1977 (age 42)[1]
Rif, Bni Chiker, Nador province, Morocco
NationalityFlag of France.svg French
Political partySocialist Party
Boris Vallaud (m. 2005)
ChildrenLouis-Adel Vallaud
Nour-Chloé Vallaud
Alma materSciences Po

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem (born Najat Belkacem on 4 October 1977) is a French socialist politician, who on 25 August 2014 was the first French woman to be appointed Minister of Education, Higher Education, and Research, joining the Second Valls Government.[2]

Previously she was Minister of Women's Affairs (16 May 2012 to 25 August 2014, Ayrault government and First Valls Government, Minister of City Affairs (2 April 2012 to 25 August 2014, First Valls government), Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports (2 April 2012 to 25 August 2014, First Valls government), and Government spokesperson (16 May 2012 to 31 March 2014, Ayrault government).

Vallaud-Belkacem was the spokesperson of Ségolène Royal's campaign during the 2007 French presidential election and again in 2009 for the 2011 French Socialist Party presidential primary. Since 2008, she has been a councillor of the city of Lyon, responsible for major events, youth and community life.

Early life and education[edit]

Second in a family of seven children, Najat Belkacem was born on 4 October 1977[3] in the Moroccan countryside in Bni Chiker, a village near Nador in the Rif region.[1] Her grandmothers were respectively Spanish and Algerian.[4] In 1982 she joined her father, a construction worker, with her mother and elder sister Fatiha, and grew up in the suburbs of Amiens.[5]

Vallaud-Belkacem graduated from the Institut d'études politiques de Paris (Paris Institute of Political Studies) in 2002. At the Institut she met Boris Vallaud, whom she married on 27 August 2005.[6]

Political career[edit]

Vallaud-Belkacem joined the Socialist Party in 2002 and the team of Lyon mayor Gérard Collomb in 2003, leading actions to strengthen local democracy, the fight against discrimination, promotion of citizen rights, and access to employment and housing.

Elected to the Regional Council of Rhone-Alpes in 2004, she chaired the Culture Commission, resigning in 2008. In 2005, she became adviser to the Socialist Party. In 2005 and 2006 she was a columnist for the cultural programme C'est tout vu on Télé Lyon Municipale alongside Stéphane Cayrol.

In February 2007 she joined Ségolène Royal's campaign team as a spokeswoman, alongside Vincent Peillon and Arnaud Montebourg.

In March 2008 she was elected conseillère générale of the Rhône department in the cantonal elections with 58.52% of the votes in the second round, under the banner of the Socialist Party in the canton of Lyon-XIII.

On 16 May 2012, Vallaud-Belkacem was appointed to French President François Hollande's cabinet as Minister of Women's Rights and spokeswoman for the government.

After 15 years in public office, Vallaud-Belkacem decided to take a break from politics in June 2017. Despite speculation, she announced that she would not seek the leadership of the Socialist Party at the Aubervilliers Congress in 2018.[7]

Career in the private sector[edit]

In March 2018, Vallaud-Belkacem joined research and polling firm Ipsos as CEO of its Global Affairs division.[8] The department carries out research (on impact, public policy evaluation…) that helps international institutions, NGOs, international foundations and other actors which act in the global public interest better make decisions.

In addition to her work with Ipsos, Vallaud-Belkacem launched and co-directs the Gender Equality and Public Policy programme at the Paris Institute of Political Studies.[9] She also heads Raison de Plus, a collection of progressive essays published by Fayard.[10]

Political positions[edit]

Vallaud-Belkacem supports having the French government force Twitter to filter out hate speech that is illegal under French law, such as speech that is homophobic.[11] Regarding same-sex marriage in France, she has stated that its legalisation is a matter of "historic progress".[12]

Personal life[edit]

Vallaud-Belkacem describes herself as a "non-practicing Muslim".[13]


  • Vallaud-Belkacem, Najat (2012). Raison de plus!. Paris: Fayard. ISBN 9782213666440. OCLC 793485794.
  • Vallaud-Belkacem, Najat (2017). La vie a plus d'imagination que toi. Paris: Bernard Grasset. ISBN 9782246863847. OCLC 974793443.


  1. ^ a b News, Morocco World (2 September 2015). "France: Moroccan-Born Myriam El Khomri Appointed Minister of Labor". Morocco World News. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  2. ^ "France's new education minister prompts rightwing protests". The Guardian. 27 August 2014.
  3. ^ Retrieved 13 April 2017. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Michel Abu Najm (11 September 2014). "Najat Vallaud-Belkacem: France's Rising Star". Asharq Al-Awsat. Archived from the original on 27 November 2014. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
  5. ^ Jacques Bertoin, "Najat Belkacem, la vie en rose",, 18.
  6. ^ "".
  7. ^ Cécile Amar (3 January 2018). "Najat Vallaud-Belkacem ne briguera pas la tête du PS : "Je ne veux pas d'une vie réduite à la politique"". L'Obs. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Najat Vallaud-Belkacem embauchée chez Ipsos". Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  9. ^ "Certificat Égalité femmes-hommes (École d'affaires publiques)".
  10. ^ "Raison de plus - Une collection dirigée par Najat Vallaud-Belkacem". Fayard. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
  11. ^ Farago, Jason (2 January 2013). "In praise of Vallaud-Belkacem, or why not to tolerate hate speech on Twitter". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  12. ^ "France and gay marriage: Pink pride in Paris - The Economist". The Economist.
  13. ^ "Muslim Minister in French Government Calls for Twitter to Censor Tweets that Don't Respect Human Rights". Retrieved 24 January 2013.
Political offices
Preceded by
Benoît Hamon
Minister of National Education
Succeeded by
Jean-Michel Blanquer