Jehan Sadat was born in Cairo, Egypt. When she was 15, she met Anwar Sadat who had been recently released from prison where he had been confined for many years because of his fierce resistance to the British occupation of Egypt. On May 29, 1949, the two were married, thus beginning a journey that would last for more than 32 years with a man who would become the president of Egypt and would change the course of history not just for the Middle East, but also for the world. Read More >
One of Sadat's first projects was Talla Society, a cooperative which made it possible for village women to learn skills to enable them to earn their own money, which in turn paved the way to becoming more self-sufficient and able to contribute to the financial welfare of their families.
Upon the assassination of President Sadat on October 6, 1981, the she retreated from public life, her beloved projects, and her teaching position at Cairo University. Following a period of grief and uncertainty, she resumed her role as educator, lecturer, and social activist, promoting women’s rights and international peace. Currently, Sadat is associate resident scholar at the University of Maryland where the Anwar Sadat Chair for Development and Peace was established and fully endowed in 1997 to honor her husband's legacy.
Her first book, A Woman of Egypt, recounts her notable life as the First Lady of Egypt and her life and marriage to a global peacemaker. Today, Jehan Sadat’s mission is to maintain her husband’s legacy, keeping his memory alive so future generations may know that Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat was a “man of peace.” At the same time, she continues to deliver her own views concerning the rights of women, the importance of the family, and world peace.
Sadat received a baccalaureate degree with honors in Arabic literature, a master’s degree with honors, and a doctorate degree in comparative literature from Cairo University.
In 1975, she was head of the Egyptian delegation to the United Nations International Women’s Conference in Mexico City and later, the Egyptian delegations to the UN Women’s Conference in Copenhagen, and the UN Decade of Women in New York. She founded the African-Arab Women’s League and has hosted, participated in, and is still participating in, countless conferences and seminars concerning women’s issues, children’s welfare, literacy, and peace in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America.
Sadat established the Wafa’ Wal Amal (Faith and Hope) Society in Egypt in 1972, which has constructed and now operates a fully integrated city for handicapped war veterans and civilians, complete with clinics, rehabilitation centers, national training programs, and recreation areas. Wafa' Wal Amal is the first and largest rehabilitation center of its kind in the Middle East.
In 1977, after visiting several SOS Villages in Austria, Sadat initiated the idea of SOS Children's Villages in Egypt, offering needy orphans the opportunities to lead normal family lives. She is a longtime national and international advocate of legal reform on behalf of family issues and women's equality and has founded or headed many organizations and charitable associations, including the Egyptian Blood Bank and the Egyptian Society for Cancer patients. She promotes education and learning in all aspects and stages of life, particularly for women, as the major way for any nation to achieve lasting economic, social, and political equality. Read Less ^