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Lebanese women conquer abroad, suffer at home

Successful Lebanese women abroad are making international headlines, but Lebanese women at home continue to face legal and social discrimination, impeding them from similar success.
U.S. actor George Clooney and his wife Amal Alamuddin arrive at Venice city hall for a civil ceremony to formalize their wedding in Venice September 29, 2014. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi (ITALY - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT) - RTR485U1

The actor George Clooney’s marriage to British-Lebanese lawyer Amal Alamuddin is not the first time the world has been preoccupied with a Lebanese woman. A few days ago, the entire Islamic world, especially Afghanistan, was buzzing with news of another such woman: Roula Saade, wife of the new Afghani president, Ashraf Ghani. A Lebanese Christian is now the first lady of Afghanistan, a predominantly Muslim country with a population of 32 million.

The local and international media are intrigued by Saade's past. It turns out that Ghani had met her at the American University of Beirut, where she had began studying anthropology in 1969. Fouad Saade, Roula’s brother and a prominent Marxist, was tutoring the Afghani student who would later succeed Hamid Karzai as president. That is the short version of how Roula Saade became the first lady of Shash Darak Palace in Kabul, a Greek Orthodox woman from Koura, north of Lebanon, and mother of two: Mariam (whose name is common among Christians and Muslims) and Tareq.

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