Alexandra Issa El Khoury was born in Beirut in 1926. Daughter of the Marquis Jean de Freij and the Marquise Alice de Freij who were the founders of the Lebanese Red Cross.
She was raised in the Saint Joseph de l’Apparition, a reputable Catholic French school in Beirut. Then, she graduated from the French Institute for Law in Archaeology and got a degree of the Institute of Oriental Languages in Latin, French and English.
Since her parents were the founders of the national Red Cross society, it was no surprise that Alexandra Issa El Khoury started volunteering with her mother at a young age. It was there that she met Dr. Farid Issa Al-Khoury whom she married. They got two children.
After the death of her mother in 1964, Alexandra Issa el-Khoury was elected as the President of the Lebanese Red Cross. She stayed president until 1991. She worked abiding amazingly by the principles laid down by Henry Dunant, in a country in turmoil and torn apart by civil war. She triumphed of pitfall by identifying herself with the Red Cross motto: “Beyond Duty” and far beyond that, she led the National Society with firmness, courage and optimism.
She infused her passion to all the volunteers and people working around her, facing all the problems unleashed by the civil war and fighting against the wind of madness by admirable impartiality and devotion. She even became the Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent and participated in many international conferences of the movement.
Alexandra Issa El-Khoury was respected by the high authorities who gave her the nickname the Great Alexandra. She was renowned for her humanity and neutrality. Her car, flying the flag of the Lebanese Red Cross, was the sole vehicle that nonstop crossed the barricades in all parts of the country to watch over that the National Society could help the people in need during the war. To honour her memory, the Lebanese Government named a street, adjacent to the Lebanese Red Cross in Beirut, in her name and issues a stamp with her effigy.
7 young women for every 10 young men complete upper secondary school in low-income countries. If we want more future female leaders, we need to close the gender gap in education.