Her Excellency Olga Zrihen is the Second Vice-President of the Senate of Belgium. Born in 1953 in Casablanca, Morocco, Ms. Zrihen’s family emigrated to France when she was six. She completed her higher studies in Lille, France, after which she moved to Belgium, where she studied foreign languages at the University of Mons.
Before her debut in politics, Ms. Zrihen was a teacher of German and English. In her various roles on the political, social and cultural stage, she has been a strong and consistent advocate for causes related to social equality, justice, inclusion and human rights. She also champions issues that affect vulnerable sections of society such as women, youth, people with disabilities, and ethnic minorities.
After her fifteen-year tenure as teacher, Ms. Zrihen led the Training Department of Cultural Affairs in the Province of Hainaut. She served as a member of the European Parliament from 2001 to 2004, during which she made significant contributions to the promotion of public services, north-south development, education, training and employment, consumer protection, health and energy.
In 2014, Ms. Zrihen was elected to the post of Vice-President of the Belgian Senate. She has been awarded with the Order of Leopold twice, one in 2007 as a Chevalier, and in 2014 as an Officer.