Syrian Arab Republic: Najwa Hassan

At the age of 11 I recognized the central goal in my life: I wanted to change the perception of Syrians about women’s role in society. It thrills me to see that change in less than half a century.

— Najwa Hassan

Najwa Kassab Hassan (born 1943) is former Syrian Minister of Culture and Professor of Sociology at Damascus University. She began her activities at Damascus University, advocating the importance of civil society institutions and the provision of social services for the less-privileged members of society, particularly the disabled and residents of under-developed rural areas. She devoted her life and research to supporting the rights of women and people with special needs.

Born in Damascus, Najwa Hassan was raised in a culturally influential family in Syria, whose diverse political and cultural currents helped to shape her profound views on issues about women's rights and gender equality. Her first PhD thesis is titled "The Concept of Man in Islamic Philosophy". For over 20 years she was an active member in the Syrian Parliament, benefiting from this position to defend the rights of the disabled and to give them access to public facilities. Along with her parliamentarian duties, she was also involved in the activities of the General Women’s Union (GWU), the most important NGO in Syria working for women’s issues. Her second PhD thesis, "Social Change in Syria", reflected her interest and is an outstandingly comprehensive study. Dr Najwa Hassan has covered all aspects of social change in Syria over a period of 30 years.

General Women's Union (GWU) Union of Arab Writers (UAW) Arab Union for Deaf Care Institutions