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.
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.
Rasha Faek – Editor
Rasha is an experienced journalist and editor, who has joined Al-Fanar Media since its launch early in 2013. She has contributed to international publications such as USA Today and Bloomberg BAN. Rasha holds three bachelor’s degrees in English literature from Damascus University, in dramatic arts from the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Damascus, and in journalism from Damascus Open University. She was a keynote speaker at the Denver University Internationalization Summit in 2017, titled: Refugees, Migration and the Internationalization of Higher Education. Rasha contributed to a manual on Education Journalism, produced by Al-Fanar Media in 2014, and put an Arabic guideline on how to write about Women, security and peace, published by the Syrian Female Journalists Network in 2018. She has also contributed a 7,000-word chapter entitled “Syria: Educational Decline and Decimation” for the book Education in the Arab World, published by Bloomsbury in 2017.
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.
Robert Holloway – Senior Editor
Robert is an Anglo-French journalist with considerable experience of the United Nations system. He worked for 33 years for Agence France-Presse, where he held various positions including editor-in-chief, foreign editor and head of the English-language service. From 1999 to 2003 he was AFP’s correspondent at the United Nations in New York.
In 2007, he set up the AFP Foundation, a not-for-profit media training organization with a focus on development. For eight years he worked with UNDP to train journalists, notably on conflict prevention in Lebanon. After leaving AFP in 2016, Robert worked as a consultant for the European Fundamental Rights Agency to develop an online handbook for journalists on covering migration which emphasizes the importance of objectivity, impartiality and independence. He was also the founder-chairman of the board of Africa Check, the first fact-checking website in Africa, created by the AFP Foundation in 2012.
Sayed Mahmod – Arabic Senior Editor
An Egyptian journalist, poet and researcher. He previously held the position of editor-in-chief of “Al-Qahirah” newspaper, issued by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture. He won the first prize from the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate for the best literary coverage in 2001 and worked as a literature editor and freelance reporter for several Arab newspapers, including Al-Hayat, Al-Akhbar, and Reuters news agency. He also won the Dubai Prize for Arab Journalism / Cultural Journalism Branch for the year 2019. Among his publications is the collection “Shadow Recitation” (2014). He also edited the book “Fitna Al-Quest” with the Bahraini poet Qassem Haddad and the book “A New Page, Literary Forum for Arab Youth” (2005).
Nasser Zawk – Director of Communications
Nasser is a communications professional with a background in graphic arts. He has over 10 years of experience working as an art director, online marketing manager, communications manager, and scholarships manager with several international organizations, including Solidarités International and LASeR (Lebanese Association For Scientific Research). He holds a bachelor’s degree in visual communication and graphic arts from the Lebanese University.
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.