ABOUT AL-FANAR MEDIA

Al-Fanar Media is an independent nonprofit news organization. Our focus – which is unique to us – is education, research, and culture in the Arab region. All of our stories, commentary and resources are published in both Arabic and English.

In a region where the contributions and potential of education have often been neglected, we provide information and perspective about successes and challenges, models of excellence and cautionary tales. Our reporting is often the only reliable, independent reporting available on these topics, and we strive to provide our readers with rich context and analysis. Our goal is to be an essential resource for them, providing insights and information to catalyze action; bringing like-minded individuals and groups together; and holding government leaders accountable for harmful policies.

Our team commissions and edits all of our articles. We work with journalists across the region, many of whom we train and mentor, to develop story ideas and conduct reporting. We also commission and publish commentary, actively seeking out diverse voices, especially among Arab educators, researchers, and thought leaders. Our lens is wide-ranging: we’ve written about water scarcity, patterns of disease, educational programs for refugee youth, artists, musicians, university admissions policies, gender, the Arabic language, archaeology, and more.

We believe that independent, analytical journalism about these topics is vital to the foundations on which stronger and more equitable societies can be built.

Al-Fanar Media strives to be neutral and does not take positions on political or religious issues. The editors believe that freedom of speech is a fundamental building block of civil societies and that academic freedom is essential to the healthy functioning of academic institutions. We independently select topics for coverage and stories for publication, and never accept payment in exchange for publishing articles.

Al-Fanar Media has received support from the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, the Open Society Foundations, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the U.N. Democracy Fund, and other benefactors.

Al-Fanar Media was started in 2013 as a project of the Alexandria Trust, a London-based nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing educational access and quality in the Arab region.

Read our Editorial Policy on Article Review, Quote Approval & Commentaries

Our Staff

Nadia El-Gowely – Executive Director

Nadia is a seasoned Egyptian journalist who spent 35 years with the Cairo-based Reuters Arabic News Service. She joined the international news agency in 1984 as a fresh graduate to become the first woman on the then all-men team of the Arabic desk. She moved all the way up from a sub-editor to financial news editor and finally head of the whole service from February 2018 to June 2021. She also taught media translation, writing for radio and TV, and news documentaries at two Egyptian universities. Between 2006 and 2007 she was editor of the English service of the independent news agency Aswat al-Iraq, a Reuters Foundation/UNDP project. She also ran dozens of training courses in news reporting and writing in several Arab capitals.

Jo Weir – Head of Partnerships

Jo Weir works as Head of Partnerships for Al-Fanar Media.  Her expertise is in media development and the launching of news platforms.  She worked for 25 years for Reuters Foundation and Thomson Reuters Foundation where she was the Director of Journalism Training and Media Development.  During this time she directed projects which trained and mentored over 13000 journalists from over 170 countries.

Jo helped to set up the first independent news agency, Aswat al-Iraq, in post Saddam Hussein Iraq.  She directed a team of Egyptian journalists to set up Aswat Masriya (www.aswatmasriya.org)- a multimedia news and information website linked to social media – in the immediate aftermath of the Egyptian Revolution.  And she worked with a Zimbabwean team to set up The Source in Harare which provides independent business news.

Mohammad El-Hawary – Editor

Mohammad is a journalist and media development consultant. He worked as editor-on-duty of the Al-Masry Al-Youm Daily Newspaper. A journalist interested in scientific affairs, and a member of the Arab Science Journalists Association (ASJA), Mohammad covered many scientific, medical, environmental and strategic conferences and events, inside and outside Egypt, in his 17-year-long career in journalism. He has also worked as a media trainer on basics of journalistic writing, investigative journalism, features, press international standards, journalistic work ethics, local journalism, TV production, podcasts, and science journalism. He has contributed to the development of many training manuals. El-Hawary works as a consultant for media training and development, media strategies, public image management, and media content production. He has conducted workshops at a number of Egyptian and foreign universities and institutions inside and outside Egypt. In TV production, he worked as an editor-in-chief and managing editor of several talk shows and news bulletins on Egyptian and Arab TV channels. As a speaker and mentor, El-Hawary participated in many conferences and forums, besides being an analyst and commentator guest on a number of Egyptian, Arab and foreign TV channels.

Omar Mostafa – Digital Strategist

Omar Mostafa is an Egyptian journalist, trainer and an expert in digital media. He works in media since 2002 as a  journalist, product development manager, trainer and media consultant.

Omar has been working as a trainer and a consultant for digital media projects since 2009; he’s a certified trainer who trainer dozens of Egyptian and Arab journalists on the fundamentals of online journalism, as well as taking part in developing several online journalism projects in cooperation with different professional and academic organization in Egypt and the world including Thomson Reuters Foundation, BBC Media Action, Deutsche Welle Academy, The American University in Cairo, Kuwait News Agency and others.

Omar studied journalism and he holds a Media Management MBA from the German University in Cairo, in addition to many professional workshops on journalism, technology and training.

Charles Huckabee – Senior Editor

Charles is a freelance editor and writer based in Washington, DC, where he was a copy editor and news editor at The Chronicle of Higher Education for nearly 20 years. He has also served on the news and copy desks of several daily newspapers, including The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Virginian-Pilot. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of South Carolina, where he also did graduate studies in journalism. He has contributed articles about classical music to several newspapers and is an active chamber-music player in the Washington area.

Ismail Alashwal – Arabic Senior Editor

Ismail Alashwal – Arabic Senior Editor

Ismail Alashwal an Egyptian journalist and content developer who has 13 years of experience working for pan-Arab media outlets including Al Shorouk, Al Sharq Al Awsat, Russia Today, Al Jarida and Al Wasat. He also received several media workshops from prestigious media organizations like BBC, The Free Voice, UNESCO and The Egyptian Journalists Syndicate.

Ismail was awarded with 3 media awards between 2014 & 2015 from the Media Diversity Institute on covering religious minorities, press interviews and covering local affairs He also delivered different journalism workshops and he’s a published author of short stories in different publications. 

Amr El Tohamy – Staff Writer

Amr El Tohamy – Staff Writer

An Egyptian journalist based in Cairo, Amr has nearly ten years of experience in writing news and reports about politics, education, and economics. Previously, he worked for Al-Masry Al-Youm, a newspaper published in Cairo. He has worked as a writer Al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper. Amr has collaborated with international press organizations such as The New York Times, The Washington Times and The National, and holds a B.A. in Journalism from Cairo University.

Tarek Abd El-Galil – Senior Correspondent

Tarek is an Egyptian journalist. He was a deputy manager for the correspondents’ section at Tahrir newspaper and a correspondent at correspondents.org and Al-Hayat TV. Tarek has a BA in journalism.

Gilgamesh Nabeel – Translator

Gilgamesh is an Iraqi freelance writer and translator based in Turkey. He is the author of a published novel titled “The Struggle of Mask” (2016) and the translator of a book titled “Creative Industries in Syria: Changes and Adaptation” into English (2020). He writes essays and articles on Middle Eastern politics, education, art, literature, and women’s rights. Some of his essays have appeared in Al-Fanar Media, Modern Discussion, the USA Today, Washington Times, Al-Monitor, and other American newspapers. He has active Facebook pages on art and archaeology. He carries a bachelor’s degree (M.B., B. Ch.) from Egypt’s Kasr Al Ainy school of medicine.

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