Najat Belkacem from Moroccan Shepherd Girl to French Education Minister
As trans-border terrorism becomes increasingly rampant, leaving the world indecisive about the acceptance of immigrants, especially Muslims, Moroccan-born Najat Belkacem proves that immigrants are valuable people and should not be treated with disdain.
Najat Vallaud-Belkacem was born in a poor village in Morocco, Bni Chiker in the mountainous Rif region in northern Morocco. In 1982, she migrated to France with her parents and elder sister, Fatiha.
They lived in the suburbs of the Amiens city in northern France. Najat completed her education in France, where she graduated from the Institut d’études politiques de Paris (Paris Institute of Political Studies) in 2002.
She joined the French Parti Socialiste (socialist party) in the same year but was elected for the first time in 2004 to the Regional Council of Rhone-Alpes where she assumed the duty of Advisor, responsible for Culture on Rhônalpin territory.
In 2007, she became spokeswoman for former presidential candidate, Ségolène Royal, a prominent member of the Socialist Party and first female presidential candidate to be nominated by a major party in France. She lost to ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy.
In 2012, Najat Belkacem resumed duties as spokesperson for President Francois Holland during his presidential campaign.
When President Holland assumed office, she was made the government spokesperson for the ministry of women rights. She was also given the responsibility of fighting against homophobia in September of the same year.
In April 2014, she was appointed Minister of Women Rights, City, Youth and Sports and in the same year she succeeded Beno Hamon as the Minister of national Education, higher Education and Research. With this role, she became not only the first woman to assume the office but the youngest and first Muslim to do so.
On describing her career advancement she says
Des jeunes femmes qui, comme moi, ont fait le choix des études pour exercer pleinement un métier, être autonome et accéder à assez de responsabilités pour espérer changer la soci, la rendre plus juste, plus solidaire, plus heureuse”
Which translates as, My path is similar to many young women of my generation. Young women who, like me, have chosen studies to fully exercise a profession, be independent and reach enough responsibility to hope to change society, to make it more just, more caring, more happy.”