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RANA ALSABBAGH

WOMEN INSPIRING WOMEN

Finalist of the EPIC Awards 2019

"Brave, hard-working and a true force of nature who will do everything possible to hold those in power to account through high-quality, fact-based journalism."

Executive Director of Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism. EXMPLS 2018.

Born in Amman, Jordan, in 1963, to a Jordanian father and a German mother. I hold a BA from the Lebanese American University in Communication Arts, Drama and Journalism and an Executive Master in Positive Leadership and Strategy (EXMPLS) from IE in Madrid (2017/2018). I am the Founder and Executive Director at the award-winning Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) since its creation in 2005. I have dedicated the last 36 years of my career as a journalist, columnist, and media trainer, to promote free speech, independent media, and human rights. ARIJ is a pioneering media support network, promoting the hitherto unknown culture of “accountability journalism” among editors, journalists, media professors, and students. I became the first woman in the history of the Levant to run a daily political newspaper, The Jordan Times (1999-2002). I was sacked by the then government of Ali Abu El Ragheb for commissioning reports on rioting in southern Jordan and calling for a review into allegations of torture at Jordanian police stations. Before that, I served as a correspondent for the Reuters International News Agency, covering much of the region’s social, economic and political turning points like the two Gulf Wars, and the 1994 peace treaty between Jordan and Israel. I also served as Jordan Correspondent for The Times (of London) for 10 years and helped found al-Ghad newspaper in 2004 — what should have been the latest independent newspaper in Jordan before leaving it in May 2005 over severe editorial differences. I am a regular columnist on www.daraj.com, and I represent the Middle East and North Africa on the board of directors at the Global Investigative Journalism Network.

How did IE help you get to where you are today?

Since attending the EXMPLS, my life-transformation journey is a work in progress. IE helped hone my research skills, especially in the areas of strategy and innovation. It opened new venues — other things in life that are as important as what I am doing now. It also helped me realize the need to strike a balance between work and life. Overall, it allowed me to be better equipped to cultivate new tools, skills, and techniques to help build new perspectives, and in the process, optimize my performance, that of my team and the results of my organization in service of the public.

In which way do you think your work is impacting women’s lives?

By becoming the first Arab female Chief Editor running a daily political newspaper, I broke the glass ceiling in a male-dominated business and society. By leading by example and showing everyone that I am not a male or female but a professional journalist who never takes no as an answer. By showing a new generation of professional women and leaders that a combination of hard work, humility, demonstrated and accumulated business expertise and professional development and leadership abilities learned on the job, pays off — though it might take more time for women to finally get there as the challenges they face are huge and sometimes debilitating, compared to men in the same situation.

Where do you see the future of women?

The sky is the limit, and if you believe in yourself, you will fulfill your desires and wishes.

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