Happy 80, Ada Aharoni!Posted: 2013/07/30
Text: Solveig Hansen
Today, we congratulate Prof. Ada Aharoni – the Founder and World President of IFLAC – on her 80th birthday!
Writer, poet, peace researcher… she wears so many hats. Her lifelong interest in peace – and women for peace – began when she was twelve and grew up in Egypt, she writes in her inspirational autobiographic article My Peacebuilding. She used to serve cakes at her grandmother’s “Women for Peace and Equality” meetings. At Alvernia English School for Girls in Cairo, she was taught English literature by Irish Franciscan nuns, and British Peace Poet Wilfred Owen became a source of inspiration for her own work as a Peace Poet.
Ada says she became a feminist at the age of seven, following a game of chess with her brother. She checkmated him, he slapped her across the face, and she slapped him right back. Her paternal grandmother reprimanded her and reminded her that a boy was worth sixty girls. Ada strongly disagreed, “I am worth one boy!” She tells this story in Birute Regine’s Iron Butterflies: Women Transforming Themselves and the World.
Peace and women power for peace are still on her agenda, and 2012 was a busy year for her. As the first woman, she was invited to speak in the Ahmedim Mosque in Haifa. She was awarded the Israeli President’s Award for Volunteerism, for promoting peace initiatives between Jews and Arabs. She published Rare Flower, a collection of Life, Love and Peace Poems, and recorded a YouTube video lecture, The Second Exodus: A New Way to Peace Between Israelis and Palestinians, on the uprooting of Jews from Arab countries.
Of course, in 2012 she was only 79. At 80, will she retire? I doubt it. At the moment, she is completing a new book on the Second Exodus.
I predict 2013 will be another busy year for this 80 year young Peace Poet.
Happy Birthday! You are a true inspiration.