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Alice Kandalaft, the first Arab woman at the UN, representing Syria in 1948

Perhaps many Syrians do not know who Alice Kandalaft is. She is a Damascene girl, who later became the first diplomatic not only in Syria and the Arab world, but also in third world countries. This great Syrian woman had a special and remarkable presence in UN in 1940s. According to the documents recorded by the United Nations, Alice was distinguished as one of those active women who had proved during working for years in UN that she was a living example for those who believe in a cause and defend it with full force and solidity.

Alice was born in Damascus in 1895 to a known family, who lived in al-Qaymariya district in old Damascus.

She completed her preparatory study at the Orthodox Patriarchate School and then moved to Beirut where she studied high school at the Syrian Protestant College.

 

Alice Kandalaft, was the first Arab woman who represented her country as an ambassador to the United Nations in the 1940s.Historical documents indicated that she participated in the first founding meeting of the Baath Arab Socialist Party and co-founded the Intellectual Forum in 1946.

The UN documented Alice's meetings with many international delegations at that time. On January 5, 1945, she attended the second UN session which was about the situation of women around the world. In this regard, Kandalaft made an intervention and spoke about the situation of women in the Arab world in general and in Syria in particular.

At that time, Alice was focusing on a major target - achieving Syria's independence from French colonialism. On the other hand she defended at the International Meeting of Women's Economic Rights during the 40th United Nations meeting the rights of women to own property.

In the midst of her preoccupation with political life, Alice didn't forget her literary interests, she founded a political literary salon in Damascus at the old Umayya Hotel in 1942, it was considered the first of its kind in the country.

This literary salon (forum) was a meeting place for many Syrian writers and politicians such as Fares Khoury, Salah al-Din al-Bitar, Omar Abo Risha, Michel Aflaq, Fakhri al-Baroudi, Muhammad Suleiman al-Ahmad, and many others.

Many political movements started from this forum, later.These movements formed several political parties that had an important role in the political life in Syria.

 

 

 

M.Wassouf

 

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