American University of Beirut

Exhibit: Anissa Rawda Najjar Memories, Achievements, Recommendations

​The AUB University LibrariesPresident Fadlo Khuri, MD. and  Mrs. Mona Najjar Halabi invite you to an exhibit

"Anissa Rawda Najjar (AUB, B.A. 1936): Memories - Achievements - Recommendations"

  • Date: May 11th to June 7th , 2022
  • Place: Jafet Memorial Library- Lobby

This exhibit was planned on the occasion of the receipt of the personal papers of the late social activist and feminist Mrs. Anissa Rawda Najjar. 

The archival collection includes her correspondence with eminent figures: mentors, peers and students; her memoirs, addresses and speeches; in addition to the records of the Village Welfare Society, the minutes of meetings of the Lebanese Women's Council, and photographs on various occasions depicting her drive for social service and her dedication to defending women's rights. 

The collection is of interest to researchers in rural development studies, social work, and gender in Lebanon and will be added to salient collections of prominent Lebanese and Arab scholars, artists and politicians that shaped the history of the Lebanon, Middle East and beyond, such as the collections of PM Saeb Salam, Shafiq Wazan, Abdallah al Yafi, Etel Adnan, Zahia Qaddoura, Evelyne Bustrus , Jamil Hammoudi, and Genevive Maxwell. 

You can read about the launching event that was held on May 10th  here, in an article written by the AUB Office of Communications. 

For more information, contact the Archives and Special Collections Department by email: or via extensions 2609/2613/2611. 

About Anissa Rawda Najjar 

Anissa was a leading Lebanese activist in the field of rural development and women's rights. She began as one of the first female journalists in the Arab world, where she edited the newsletter of the National School in 1931 and rose as one of the founders and prominent members of several women's associations. She actively represented Lebanon in international forums and conferences. 

Anissa Rawda al-Balah was born in Ain al-Mraisseh in Beirut in 1913. She received her education at some of Beirut's most notable schools, culminating in a sociology and education degree in 1936 at the American University of Beirut. She was appointed editor-in-chief of the AUB student magazine, Al-Urwa Al-Wuthqa, and went on to supervise it until 1948.  

After graduating from AUB, Anissa moved to Iraq where she held several positions in the educational field, reaching the position of school principal in Iraq. 

After her return from Iraq, "Sitt Anissa" became interested in rural development and activating the role of women in society. She created the Rural Prep Certificate as an incentive for women to get involved in the work field, with the curriculum including topics on literacy, agriculture, childcare, nutrition, hygiene, and so on. 

Mrs. Najjar held the position of Secretary of the Lebanese Women's Council and Secretary General of the Druze Orphan Home. She developed the orphanage in 1948 and worked on setting up the Village Welfare Society in 1953, the Children's International Summer Villages in 1975, and the Lebanese branch of the International Women's League for Peace and Freedom in 1983. She received several local and international awards throughout her distinguished career. ​​

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