Al-Fanar Media provides balanced, accurate and independent coverage of all aspects of academic life in the Arab world. Dedicated to illuminating key issues in Arab higher education and encouraging dialogue among institutions, leaders, and other stakeholders both within and beyond the region, Al-Fanar Media serves as a platform for open and critical discussion. The publication, bilingual in English and Arabic, features new articles in a biweekly newsletter. Al-Fanar Media also works to inspire journalists in the region to cover education.
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 a necessity for 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 receives generous funding support from the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, and the Open Society Foundations. Past donors include the U.N. Democracy Fund. Al-Fanar Media was launched in 2013 as a project of the Alexandria Trust, a London-based nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing educational access and quality in the Arab world.
David Wheeler – Editor, London
For more than 25 years, David worked as a science writer, international editor, and managing editor at the Chronicle of Higher Education, the leading education publication in the world. He led the Chronicle’s efforts to serve readers outside the United States, organized events and panels at higher education conferences, and reported articles in more than 30 countries. David has written for numerous other publications, including the Boston Globe and The Washington Post, and has received awards from the New England Press Association and the Education Writers Association. David has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and was awarded a Vannevar Bush Fellowship in science journalism at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Contact David
Rasha Faek – Managing Editor, Amman
Rasha is an experienced journalist who has covered a diverse range of issues ranging from business and youth to citizenship and culture. She has contributed to international publications such as USA Today and Bloomberg BAN. Rasha holds 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 has trained at a number of prestigious organizations such as the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the BBC, Deutsche Welle, the United Nation University-International Leadership Institute, and the Foreign Press Center of Japan. She 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. Contact Rasha
Shady Arafa – Operations Manager, London
From 2002 to 2011, Shady was special aide to the director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Dr. Ismail Serageldin, with whom he worked from the opening of the institution through its development as a major Egyptian and international facility. In 2008, he left for one year to acquire some exposure to private-sector public relation in the Gulf, but returned to the Library for another stretch of three years. Shady holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Westminster, where he was a Chevening scholar. Contact Shady
Tarek is an Egyptian journalist with more than 10 years of experience in reporting on science, economy, environment, culture and immigration. He works as a correspondent at correspondents.org and other TV channels. Tarek has a BA in journalism from Minya University and was trained at a number of prestigious organizations such as the Thomson Reuters Foundation, AUC, GIZ, ARIJ and Al-Fanar Media. Contact Tarek
Edward Fox – Associate Managing Editor, London
Edward is a journalist and author. He has worked as a daily newspaper reporter and as a magazine writer in the United States and the United Kingdom. His books include Palestine Twilight: The Archaeology of the Holy Land and the Murder of Dr. Albert Glock. He has a degree in English from the University of Cambridge, a master’s degree in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures from Columbia University and a diploma in Arabic from SOAS, University of London. He has worked for Saudi Aramco in Dhahran and is an associate lecturer in creative writing at the Open University. Contact Edward
Charles Huckabee – Senior Editor, Washington, DC
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. Contact Charles
Ursula Lindsey – Senior Correspondent, Rabat, Morocco
Ursula Lindsey has lived in the Middle East since 2002, reporting on culture, media, politics and education in the Arab world. She covered the Arab Spring from Cairo and currently lives in Rabat, Morocco. She has worked as a reporter and editor with local independent media in the region as well as contributed to international publications such as The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Nation and The Economist. From 2009 to 2015, she was the middle east correspondent of The Chronicle of Higher Education. She speaks Arabic and French and has a master’s degree in Near East Studies from New York University. Contact Ursula
Nadia Montasser – Community Editor, London
Nadia has spent more than 13 years working with nonprofit organizations in project and event management. During her time at the British Council in Egypt, she led projects that helped the organization expand on and maintain successful relationships with various partner organizations. Nadia has rich experience in managing multi-lingual websites and social-media platforms. An Egyptian satirical blog she co-founded in 2011 with two friends received half a million views less than three months after launch. Nadia has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Cairo University, and a master’s degree in charity management from St. Mary’s University College in London.
Ursula Oaks – Managing Director of External Relations, Washington, DC
Ursula has more than 15 years of experience working with global organizations and initiatives dedicated to improving educational access, quality, and opportunity. She previously directed communications for NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the world’s largest professional association dedicated to international education. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s in international studies from the University of Washington. Contact Ursula
Benjamin Plackett – Senior Editor for Research, London
Benjamin was previously editor of an online technology news magazine called The Connectivist, for which he executed a successful editorial strategy that expanded readership, established that publication within the technology world, and ensured high quality. Benjamin’s work has been published by Wired Magazine, CNN Health and Scientific American. He has a master’s degree in journalism from New York University with an advanced certificate in science, health and environmental reporting and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Imperial College, London. Contact Benjamin