Narjat Belkcem is a living example of determination and success.
Second in a family of seven children, Najat Belkacem was born in the Moroccan countryside in 1977 in Bni Chiker, a village near Nador in the Rif region. In 1982, she joined her father, a building worker, with her mother and elder sister Fatiha, and grew up in the suburbs of Amiens. She had an interest in politics from her early age. She graduated from the Institut d’études Politiques de Paris (Paris Institute of Political Studies) in 2002. She met Boris Vallaud, in the same institute and got married to him on 27 August 2005.
She joined the Socialist Party in 2002, leading actions to strengthen local democracy, the fight against discrimination, promotion of citizen rights, and access to employment and housing. Later in 2004 she was elected to the Regional Council of Rhone-Alpes where she chaired the Culture Commission, resigning after four years in 2008.
In the year 2005, she became an adviser to the Socialist Party. In 2005 and 2006 she was a columnist for the cultural programme C’est tout du on Télé Lyon Municipale alongside Stéphane Cayrol. In February 2007, she joined Ségolène Royal’s campaign team as a spokeswoman, alongside Vincent Peillon and Arnaud Montebourg.
On 16 May 2012, she was appointed to French President François Hollande’s cabinet as Minister of Women’s Rights and spokeswoman for the government. And finally on August 25, 2014, she became the first female and the youngest person ever, to be appointed as Minister of Education & Research, in France.
While some are still busy shouting ‘ban migrants’ she quietly reminds us that immigrants like her are an asset!