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Egyptian Writer and Activist Speaks at Missouri State Public Affairs Conference

Earlier today, internationally known Egyptian writer and activist Nawal El Saawadi gave two presentations as part of the Missouri State University Public Affairs Conference. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

Earlier today, internationally known writer and activist Nawal El Saadawi gave two presentations as part of the Missouri State University Public Affairs Conference.

This was the second public presentation she's made during the conference.

I met with her to talk about what message she wants to bring to people in Southwest Missouri.

El Saadawi says she does have a question for her audience to consider.

And El Saadawi says changing the world will require people to work together to make a difference on a global scale. She encourages people to take a critical look at political and religious institutions.

El Saadawi has been practicing this message for many years herself. It landed her in jail in 1981 when she and other intellectuals were arrested under the regime of Anwar Sadat. When she was freed from prison following Sadat's death, she founded the Arab Women's Solidarity Association, a group she describes as consisting of historical socialist feminists.

Even though her ideals may be finding acceptance and enthusiasm in a variety of places around the world, those same ideals are causing El Saadawi problems in her home country.

She says she can't return to Egypt because an Islamic authority has made accusations against her following the publication of one of her books in Egypt.

In the meantime, El Saadawi says she expects to become a visiting professor at a university here in the U-S. And while she misses her family back in Egypt, she describes herself as a world citizen.

Again, El Saadawi is in Springfield for the public affairs conference, which continues through Friday.