Anissa Rawda Najjar
Known for Being
Pioneering Lebanese feminist and women's rights activist.
One of the first Arab women journalists.
Anissa Rawda Najjar was a pioneering Lebanese feminist and women's rights activist. She was one of the Arab world's first women journalists, writing for Al Ahliyah newsletter in 1931, and was the co-founder and longtime leader of the Village Development Association established in 1953.
Born in Beirut, she was educated at the American University of Beirut (AUB), where she completed her studies in sociology and education in 1936. Soon afterwards she was appointed editor-in-chief of Al-Urwa Al Wuthqa magazine, a significant AUB publication that she guided until 1948.
Najjar's activism focused on rural development and women's lives. She worked for the establishment of schools and clinics accessible to rural families. She created a certificate, the rural brevet, as an incentive for women to attend the society's practical workshops on literacy, child care, nutrition, hygiene, and agriculture, and the program soon expanded to include topics such as literature, politics, music and religion. She served as secretary of the Lebanese Council of Women, and as general secretary of the Druze Orphanage from 1984. Najjar was a frequent delegate to international conferences on women including UNESCO events. She helped found Lebanon's chapter of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom in 1961, and was elected vice president of the international organization in 1977 and 1983. She was also awarded the Lebanese Order of Merit, twice, and the Lebanese Army Sheild. A Lebanese postage stamp featuring Najjar was issued in 2014, soon after her 100th birthday. She passed away in 2016 at the age of 103.
Last modified: 01/09/2019