March 3, 2012
By Brittney Richerson | Ranger Editor
“My message is one of peace,” said Dr. Jehan Sadat, widow of former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, professor, author, women’s rights activist and peace advocate, among a number of other credentials.
She shared her story and message with an audience at the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts Thursday evening as part of Amarillo College’s Distinguished Lecture Series, sponsored by Student Government Association.
Sadat’s lecture covered the history of the conflicts in the Middle East, international humanitarianism issues and civil rights. She also shared the story of her husband’s fight for peace and his assassination in October 1981. After his death, Sadat said she took a year to herself and to be with her family before picking up where he left off with his work.
“Anwar Sadat was more than my husband,” she said. “He was my hero. What I loved and respected about him was how he always put others above himself. He fought for his country and for his people and he would always tell me he knew it would cost him his life.”
Heather Atchley, director of student life, said she felt Sadat was an appropriate speaker this year because AC’s institutional theme this academic year is “Reconstructing 9/11.” Sadat’s story, Atchley said, is relatable to the events of 9/11 because she pulled the pieces of her life back together after a tragedy and carried on, just as Americans have had to do.
“She is such an amazing, accomplished but down-to-earth woman,” Atchley said. “I just think it is so cool that our students have the opportunity to hear her speak.”
In a question and answer session with The Ranger after her lecture, Sadat said she began pursuing her college degree when she was 40 years old. She married Anwar Sadat at the age of 15 and raised four children before going back to school.
Sadat received her master’s and doctorate, with honors, from Cairo University after attending for about eight years.
“She was incredible to listen to,” said Bruce Moseley, paralegal studies coordinator. “What a wonderful story and message, especially for our students to hear.”
Jo Beth Hill, an administrative assistant, also said she was excited that the AC community was given the opportunity to hear such an influential woman speak.
“Madame Sadat is so elegant and well-spoken,” Hill said. “What an incredible story.”
Sadat said she hopes her story inspires college students and young adults to pursue their education and help establish peace.
“When I speak about peace, a lot of people think I mean only world peace,” she said. “But it all begins with making peace with our friends and neighbors. We also must understand and learn to forgive and love our enemies. That is how peace begins.”
Sadat’s advice to college students is to find something that they are passionate about.
“It is so important to find something to do that you love,” Sadat said. She said her motivation has been her respect and love for her husband and how strongly she feels about his cause – fighting for peace.