Hadia Tajik (born 18 July 1983) is a Pakistani-Norwegian jurist, journalist and politician. On 21 September 2012, she was appointed Minister of Culture and, at 29 years of age, became the youngest minister ever to serve in the Norwegian government, as well as the first Muslim and Asian. She is a Member of Parliament for the Labour Party representing Oslo.
Unlike some of her older predecessors and colleagues, Tajik is an enthusiastic user of social media, and an avid supporter of E-books, and as a result she is often called Norway's "first digital Minister of Culture".
Hadia Tajik was born on 18 July 1983 in the village of Bjørheimsbygd in Strand, Rogaland, to Mohammad Sarwar Tajik (born 1947) and Safia Qazalbash (born 1948), emigrants from Pakistan in the early 1970s. After completing Bjørheimsbygd Primary School as one of only seven pupils, she attended Tau Lower Secondary School between 1996 and 1998 and later Strand Upper Secondary School from 1998 to 2001.
She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Stavanger University College, after which she studied human rights at Kingston University in England from 2004 to 2005, earning a Masters degree. She subsequently enrolled in and studied law at the University of Oslo receiving her Master of Law degree in 2012.
Tajik was active in politics from an early age, and was the leader of the Strand chapter of the Workers' Youth League (AUF) from 1999 to 2002, before becoming deputy leader of the Rogaland AUF from until 2003. She served as an advisor for the Minister of Labour and Social Inclusion, Bjarne Håkon Hanssen, from 2006 to 2008. In 2008 she temporarily held the position of advisor to the Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. Subsequently, from 2008 to 2009, she served as political advisor to the Minister of Justice, Knut Storberget.
While serving under Storberget, she was accused of being involved in the so-called hijab-affair. The incident occurred when the Department of Justice withdrew a proposal to allow female police officers to wear the hijab in the service, as a result of fierce uproar. The proposal was authored by Tajik and fellow state secretary Astri Aas-Hansen, and the final decision was allegedly made by them without consulting Storberget. The allegations were never confirmed, but when the Department announced its decision, the media felt the Minister left the impression that the two women were to blame. Later, in 2009, she again served as an advisor for the Minister for Labour and Social Inclusion.
On 14 September 2009, Tajik was elected Member of Parliament for the Norwegian Labour Party. Representing Oslo, she was listed as candidate number six on the Labour ticket, which was considered a safe seat. During her tenure in parliament, she was a member of the Standing Committee on Education, Research and Church Affairs as well as the Election committee. She has been nominated in second spot on the Oslo Labour party ballot for the Norwegian parliamentary election, 2013. After the 2013 parliamentary elections and the fall of the Labour-led government, Tajik retained her seat in the Storting from Oslo. She was subsequently named as leader of the Standing Committee on Justice, which is condsidered one of the most prestigious posts in the Storting.
On September 2012, as part of a larger cabinet reshuffle, prime minister Jens Stoltenberg announced that Tajik would become the new Minister of Culture. She replaced Anniken Huitfeldt who became the new Minister of Labour and Social affairs. At the time, she was the youngest ever to become a minister in Norway (at 29), and her appointment made her the first Muslim to serve in the Norwegian cabinet. She is historically the second minister with non-Caucasian ethnic background after Manuela Ramin-Osmundsen, who resigned as Minister of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion in 2008. She resigned in the fall of 2013, along with the rest of the cabinet following the electoral defeat in the 2013 parliamentary elections.
On 22 July 2011, Tajik was visiting the Workers' Youth League summer camp at Utøya together with former prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland. They left a few hours before Anders Behring Breivik arrived, thus narrowly avoiding the massacre.
Tajik has been mentioned as the "crown princess of the Labour Party" as well as a political rising star, belonging to "a new generation" of young Labour Party politicians. She has also been named as a possible future prime minister and leader of the Labour Party by Gro Harlem Brundtland and political experts. The predictions was partially fulfilled when Tajik was chosen as one of the two deputy leaders of the party at the national party congress in 2015.
Hadia Tajik was married to Stefan Heggelund, a communications consultant and politician for the Conservative Party. They decided to make their relationship public because there was a chance they would both be elected to Parliament in the Norwegian parliamentary election, 2013. Both Tajik and Heggelund were subsequently elected as MPs. On 26 June 2014, the couple announced that they were getting married, in a private wedding ceremony on 28 June 2014. Tajik and Heggelund had their wedding at the hotel The Thief in Oslo, with a number of politicians from the Labour and Conservative parties amongst the guest. They announced their divorce in February 2016.
Media related to Hadia Tajik at Wikimedia Commons
|Norwegian Minister of Culture