Designation:Former Vice President
Masoumeh Ebtekar (21 September 1960) is an Iranian activist and politician who is a prominent figure in the Iranian Revolution. She is the former Vice President of Iran for Women and Family Affairs from August 2017 to September 2021.
Ebtekar was born in Tehran. Her father studied at the University of Pennsylvania, where she lived with her parents in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. She returned to Iran after six years and attended Tehran International School. She later graduated and obtained her BSc degree in laboratory science from Shahid Beheshti University and also pursued MSc and Ph.D. in immunology from Tarbiat Modares University in 1995.
In 1981, Ebtekar became the editor-in-chief of Kayhan International newspaper and served until 1983. She was the co-founder of the Institute for Women’s Studies and Research in 1991 and has been a license holder and managing director of the Farzaneh Journal for Women’s Studies and Research.
In the Iran hostage crisis of 1979, Ebtekar served as spokeswoman for the students and made regular appearances on American television as a translator and spokeswoman. She became advisor of Shahla Habibi, head of the ‘Bureau of Women’s Affairs in the 1990s, and was said to be the main driving force behind the office.
Ebtekar became the first woman to become Vice-President of Iran when the reformists had come to power. She took part in the first cabinet since the Islamic Revolution with a goal to include women. She has also headed the Department of Environment for eight years, introducing significant structural, organizational, and directional changes in the government body. During her tenure, support for civil society activism and environmental awareness in this area was enhanced.
Ebtekar was named one of the seven 2006 Champions of the Earth by the UN Environment Program as an inspirational and prominent environmental leader who has made an impact at the policy level in a region of the world. In January 2014 in Tehran, Ebtekar was awarded the Energy Globe Foundation Honorary Lifetime Achievement Award. She was given an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Political Science by the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, Korea, in 2016.
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