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Wellesley Centers for Women 

is a research and action institute at Wellesley College that is focused on women and gender and driven by social change.
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Moushira Khattab

Minister of State for Family and Population of Egypt


Due to current events in Cairo, the roundtable program is being rescheduled; more details will be posted in the near future.

Moushira Khattab is the Minister of State for Family and Population of Egypt and the Special Representative of the President of Egypt on children’s issues.  She also serves as the Vice President of the International Bureau for Children’s Rights (IBCR) and chairs both the National Committee and the Steering Committee of Middle East and North Africa on Violence against Children. Minister Khattab served as a vice chair, rapporteur and member of U.N. Committee on the Convention on the Rights of the Child 2002-2010.  She is also a member of several associations such as the Women Leadership Council to combat trafficking in persons including children, UNGIFT – Vienna 2008.  She chaired the ad hoc UN intergovernmental expert group that formulated the UN Guidelines on Justice Matters related to Children Victims and Witnesses to Crime.

Minister Khattab has engineered a paradigm shift in the respect, protection, promotion and monitoring of implementation of the rights of the child in Egypt, MENA region and the world at large.  She coordinated national efforts targeting the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against children including the girl child.  Combating gender based violence including female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage are some of the achievements Minister Khattab engineered with heavy involvement of the civil society.  This was brought about through a number of interventions including the Girl’s Education Initiative, adolescents’ reproductive rights and combating child labor and child abuse and neglect.  All her efforts since 1999 targeted upholding the rights of marginalized children, namely from discrimination and violence.  She initiated and coordinated a national movement to support a most comprehensive rights based legal reform for children, crowned by the adoption of Law 126 in 2008, bringing it in close harmony with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  The amended law criminalized trafficking in children, FGM and other forms of violence against children.  Moreover, it raised the minimum age for criminal responsibility from 7 to 12 years old, establishing a new system of child protection including a restorative juvenile justice system.  As a Moslem woman, she played a very active role in bringing Moslem countries to support the global movement for children adopting a human rights approach.  A highlight of such efforts was realized by the conference she organized in Cairo November 2009 in cooperation with OIC Organization of Islamic States on Islamic Shariaa and the Rights of the Child.

Minister Khattab coordinated the formulation of key national policy documents including national strategies for the protection, rehabilitation and reintegration of street children; the elimination of Child Labor; and the Strategy to Empower Youth to Say No to Tobacco and Drugs.  Key action plans were formulated including Girls’ Education, Combat Violence against Children, “Egypt Fit for Children”, Right’s Based Tracking of Public Budgeting for Children (first time in Egypt) and the National Survey on Street Children.  Minister Khattab was keen to see that all the policy documents were developed in a participatory manner involving the civil society and children themselves.

Minister Khattab’s efforts have been recognized internationally.  She received three decorations, two of which are among the highest that are awarded to a foreign national:  “The Order of Good Hope” from the President of the Republic of South Africa, “The Night of the Grand Cross of the Republic of Italy” and the Decoration of “Commendatore” of the Order of Merit by the President of the Italian Republic.

Minister Khattab holds an M.A. in International Relations from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, U.S.A. and a B.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Cairo University, Faculty of Economics and Political Science.

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