Farkhonda Hassan (photo courtesy of the Egyptian National Council for Women official Facebook page)
The former secretary-general of Egypt’s National Council for Women (NCW), Farkhonda Hassan, passed away on Friday, the council said in a statement.
The council’s current head, Maya Morsy, voiced her deep sorrow over the passing of the prominent feminist, expressing her condolences to her family.
"Today, we lost a unique female figure … who will remain alive in our hearts as she enriched the public and political life with her effort and broad knowledge," she said.
Morsy said Hassan was a source of inspiration for all those who were around her, noting “she took upon herself the issues of Egyptian women to remove all obstacles and challenges facing them.”
She also highlighted Hassan’s role in educating new generations as a geology professor at the American University in Cairo.
Born in 1930, Hassan graduated from Cairo University's Faculty of Science in 1952. She pursued postgraduate studies at Pittsburgh University, where she received a PhD in geology in 1970. She has been a professor of geology at AUC since 1964.
First elected to the People's Assembly, known now as the House of Representatives, in 1979, she served for four successive terms. She was then named a member of the Shura Council, the upper house, from 1986 to 1989.
During her career, Hassan held a number of posts in international institutions concerned with women, the environment and development.
She served as a short-term consultant and expert to several international and regional programmes organised by a number of UN bodies.