LYNCHBURG, Va. — Jehan Sadat, internationally recognized advocate for women’s rights and peace and widow of assassinated Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, accepted the 2001 Pearl S. Buck Award in a ceremony on campus of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College on October 27th. Sadat has long championed the causes of education and economic opportunity for women, particularly in the Moslem world, and she returned to these themes in her acceptance speech.
“We must not forget that no country, large or small, rich or poor, can ever be a strong democracy without peace and the full participation of women,” she told the capacity crowd in the Smith Hall Theatre.
In her opening remarks, R-MWC president Kathleen Gill Bowman noted that R-MWC graduates are going forth into a world that needs the leadership skills of women. “It is a world in which women must learn to lead from their strengths as bridge-builders and coalition-makers and peaceful visionaries,” she noted. “At such a time, there could be no more fitting award recipient than Jehan Sadat, who is all of those things.”
Mrs. Sadat joins former Philippine President Corazon C. Aquino and Sheikh Hasina, former Prime Minister of Bangladesh as winners of the award, named in honor of Pearl S. Buck, a member of the Class of 1914, and the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.