The passing last month of Magda Moussa, the doyenne of quality education in Egypt, was met with deep sorrow by her numerous friends and students and indeed by all Egyptians who knew of her tireless efforts in the field of education.

The Misr Language School, which Moussa founded and ran, is at the forefront of high quality private education, providing a modern education while preserving the students’ mastery of the Arabic language and culture.

Moussa was also especially admired for being an indefatigable advocate of children with special needs, whom she often called her “sons and daughters.” She was a champion of their cause and strongly believed that every effort should be made to integrate them into society. She put her vision into practice at the Misr Language School, which she founded, by enrolling dozens of disabled students into the school’s regular classes, making them feel welcome and loved by their able peers. She also introduced a ‘buddy’ system whereby each special needs student had an assigned friend to turn to for support. The experience proved to be an enriching experience for all.

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Moussa’s devotion to “her children” was the driving force behind the establishment of Egypt’s Special Olympics Organization in 1994, whose Honorary Chairperson is Egypt’s First Lady, Suzanne Mubarak. The Special Olympics gave the opportunity for these special young people to participate in sporting activities in Egypt and to compete against their peers all over the world. By 2007, Egypt’s Special Olympics teams had garnered 45 gold and silver medals and the number of athletes had surpassed 4,500.

Ayman A. Wahab, Moussa’s nephew and Special Olympics International’s Regional Managing Director for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), who joined Moussa’s struggle to create a better world for the disabled, called her “a great lady, a leader, a friend and a soul of enormous love. We will not and cannot ever be the same. She was God’s gift to the world and we will all suffer without her.”

Moussa is survived by her husband, Dr. Ismail Osman, the Chairman of Special Olympics Egypt, and former Chairman of the Special Olympics Middle East and North Africa Regional Advisory Council, as well as her two sons, Amr and Mohamed El Asfoury and six grandchildren.

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