A PROFESSOR at King Saud University has been awarded France’s highest academic honor in recognition of her work.
Dr. Hatoun Ajwad Al-Fasi, a professor of Women’s History, has been named “Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques” (Knight in the Order of Academic Palmes), an award given by the French government for advancing French culture, education and the arts throughout the world.
“The award represents the respect of Western civilization, for all its good and evil, for knowledge, culture and outstanding achievements,” Al-Fasi said. “It represents values we seek in our contemporary heritage, and can be worn by whoever abides by these values. I thank the French government for appreciating my work.” The Palmes Académiques is one of the oldest and most prestigious decorations a scholar can receive from the French government, dating back to 1808 when Napoleon allocated the medal for professors of Paris University.
“I’m indebted to Allah Almighty first and to my parents who wanted us to develop our language skills, especially the French language, through summer vacations in language schools abroad,” Al-Fasi said. “I’m also indebted to my mother for sending us at an early age to boarding schools in Lebanon to study French, which opened up doors to many cultures, and I also owe a great debt to my husband who always supports me in all I aspire to.”
Al-Fasi began her association with French academia in the early ‘90s. She gave several lectures in Paris at the invitation of UNESCO on “Women in the Arabian Peninsula – Past and Present” for International Women’s Day in 1997.
Her book “Women in Pre-Islamic Arabia: Nabataea” was published in English last year.
A ceremony is due to be held for the official awarding of the honor. – Okaz/SG