Dr. Moushira Khattab
Born in Cairo in 1944, Her Excellency Moushira Khattab is an Egyptian human rights activist, former politician, and diplomat. She has a Doctorate in International Relations and Human Rights Law from Cairo University, a Master’s degree in International Relations from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Cairo University. Dr. Khattab began her diplomatic career at the Permanent Mission of Egypt to the United Nations in New York where she sat on the General Assembly’s Third Committee on Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Issues. She also served in Egypt’s diplomatic missions in Australia, Hungary, Austria and the United Nations (New York and Vienna). Dr. Khattab’s most profound impact on diplomacy was as Ambassador to the Czech Republic and Slovakia from 1992 to 1994 during its historic dissolution, as well as ambassador to South Africa from 1994 to 1999 during the nation's transformation to democracy under Nelson Mandela.
Dr. Moushira Khattab’s impassioned advocacy for women and children's rights began at a young age. Her parents treated her and her siblings equally, and she never felt that she wasn’t entitled to the same rights as her brothers, Ambassador Moushira Khattab stated in an interview with Rangita de Silva de Alwis, the Associate Dean of International Affairs at University of Pennsylvania Law School. As such, in 1999, following her efforts in diplomacy, Ambassador Khattab shifted to the realm of Women and Children’s rights as Secretary-General of the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood. The pinnacle of this period was her heavy involvement in civil society through combating gender-based violence including female genital mutilation and child marriage. Ambassador Khattab later became the Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and served as the Minister for Family and Population of Egypt from 2009 to 2011.
Since 1999, Her Excellency Moushira Khattab has played a crucial role in the respect, protection, promotion, and monitoring the implementation of the rights of women and children in Egypt. She has established over 2000 schools that provide quality active learning for girls in governorates that possess the highest gender gaps. Also, Khattab has coordinated the formulation of national policy documents that combat issues such as child labor and violence against children.
In regards to her contributions in the United Nations, Dr. Khattab served from 2002 to 2010 as Vice Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which further strengthened her reputation as being a children’s rights expert. Ambassador Khattab represented the Committee at various meetings including those on the Reform of UN Treaty Bodies. She was also Egypt’s candidate for the UNESCO Director-General position in 2017.
Ultimately, Her Excellency Moushira Khattab has established a lifelong record working in partnerships, building consensus with diverse stakeholders including national governments, the UN, and civil society, all to deliver a real impact on those who need it the most, paving the way for a better life for individuals all over the world.