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Madiha Didi Khayatt was born in Egypt and spent her early years in Cairo. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the American University in Cairo before emigrating to Canada in 1967. Khayatt became a secondary school teacher, and continued her education by earning a Master of Arts degree from McMaster University, and a Master of Education degree from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto. She quit teaching to pursue her doctorate at the University of Toronto, where her course work awakened a commitment to feminism. Khayatt's thesis examined the lives of nineteen lesbian teachers within the context of an education system intended to deliver mainstream societal values, as well as issues of sexual identity within public and private spheres and protection of equal rights to employment. This work was published by the State University of New York Press in 1992 as "Lesbian teachers : an invisible presence." Khayatt was appointed to York University's Faculty of Education with a cross appointment with Women's Studies. Her teaching focused on feminist pedagogy, and her research included topics such as race, class, sexuality, social justice, and same sex love between women in Egypt. Khayatt served as Co-ordinator of the Women's Studies Programme at Glendon College from 1991 to 1993, Director of the Centre for Feminist Research from 1998 to 2001, and Advisor to the President on gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, and queer issues from 2002 to 2005. Professor Khayatt received the Canadian Association for the Study of Women and Education Achievement Award in 2008 her her contributions to feminist education and theoretical knowledge production.