Casablanca - A Tunisian woman aged 85 years old has obtained a doctorate degree, with distinction, in French Literature after successfully defending her thesis last April.
Casablanca – A Tunisian woman aged 85 years old has obtained a doctorate degree, with distinction, in French Literature after successfully defending her thesis last April.
Munira Hamza is the only Tunisian and Arab woman to have attained such an achievement at such an advanced age. Munira is currently working on a series of stories to be entered into a literary contest in France.
In an interview with the Huffington Post Arabic, Munira said, “I believe that God created people to work and to achieve things, and as long as I am alive and well, I will continue to be ambitious about my academic goals.” Focussing on such goals, she adds, is not limited to youth.
Munira, who was honored by Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, was born on March 11, 1930, and spent 40 years as a French language teacher. When she retired, she “could not stand the void and emptiness” of retirement and decided to continue working in private schools. Then, she considered earning a doctorate in French literature.
Munira’s doctoral thesis was about the French novelist Nathalie Sarraute whom she was “familiar with” by dint of her “immense love of the French novelists.
Sarraute devoted her life to research and writing and was dubbed “The leader of the modern novel.” She was highly praised by many critics such as the famous French Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre.
Munira told The Huffington Post Arabic that her husband and four married daughters had found it difficult to fathom her decision, especially because “the subject of the thesis is not an easy one.” However, her passion to earn the doctorate helped her resist many setbacks, including occasional health problems.
As to the secret of her never-fading passion, Munira said that she is committed to sports, healthy diets, and attending conferences and literary salons.
“I would love to serve as a model for youngsters,” concluded Munira, and to inspire young Tunisians with academic aspirations to remain hopeful and optimistic despite the dire political and economic hardship that Tunisia has faced.