The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) has named Noura al-Hourani, Syria Direct’s Arabic Editor, as the 2018 Middle East and North Africa Laureate for its Women in News Editorial Leadership Award.
The award recognizes an exemplary contribution of an Editor to her newsroom—and under her leadership, the contribution of her newspaper to society.
Al-Hourani, originally an English teacher from Syria’s Latakia province, first joined Syria Direct in Amman in 2014 through its training program for aspiring journalists. Later hired as a full-time reporter, she showed an innate skill in investigative reporting and writing human interest pieces, and rose quickly through the ranks.
Today, al-Hourani leads our team of Syrian and international journalists, mentors trainee reporters and continues to produce her own in-depth, groundbreaking reporting. Her work covering topics such as social stigma against detained women, Islamic State sleeper cells and grave relocations in East Aleppo has also been regularly syndicated on regional news outlets such as Middle East Eye.
“Today, we must strive to empower women at all levels,” al-Hourani said on being named the 2018 MENA Laureate, “and ensure that they are properly represented in leadership roles—politically and professionally, especially in the Middle East.”
At Syria Direct, al-Hourani is directly shaping the future of Syrian journalism by training a cohort of young journalists. Through her leadership, she models not only journalistic skills, but also critical thinking and the importance of doggedly uncovering the truth.
“I am incredibly grateful to Syria Direct for providing me with my first opportunity to lead,” says al-Hourani, “and I want to thank WAN-IFRA for your support and encouragement for women to be role models."
The Women in News Editorial Leadership Award is part of WAN-IFRA’s Women in News initiative, made possible through support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Award recognises one Laureate from MENA and one Laureate from Africa, annually.
WAN-IFRA named Barbara Kaija, Group Editor-in-Chief of New Vision Press and Publishing Company Ltd in Uganda, the 2018 Africa Laureate.
Previous Laureates include: Toyosi Ogunseye, former Editor of the Sunday Punch in Nigeria, Karima Kamal, columnist and contributing editor for the Egyptian daily Al Masry Al Yom, and Pamella Sittoni, Editor of the International Desk for the Nation Media Group and Managing Editor for The East African.
The 2018 Laureates will be honored at the WAN-IFRA World News Media Congress and World Editors’ Forum taking place in Estoril-Cascais, Portugal from 6-8 June.