Through this training and story grant program, reporters from several countries in the Middle East and North Africa are deepening their understanding and coverage of U.S. foreign policy.
In the first stage of the program, participants hear from and engage with a wide range of U.S. foreign policy experts weekly in virtual sessions. Speakers include professors of foreign policy, think tank experts and seasoned Washington journalists.
At the close of the virtual sessions, participants develop ideas for in-depth stories based on what they learned in the program, and apply for story grants of up to $1,500.
The program is funded by U.S. Embassy Manama. The participants are:
Abdelwahab "Wahib" Ait Tayeb – Algeria
Wahib is the founder and manager of Deshell school of languages as well as the Algerian Black Pearl, a radio-web initiative that aims to promote English and bring together media and civil society through constructive discourse.
He also studied social entrepreneurship in the U.S. through the SUSI program sponsored by the U.S. State Department, and leadership in Sweden empowered by the Swedish Institute in 2018. In 2020, he was recognized by the UNAOC as one of the prominent young peacebuilders in the MENA region for the work he does with civil society.
Aya Samir – Egypt
Aya Samir is an experienced bilingual reporter covering politics and foreign affairs. She is currently working for Akhbar el Youm newspaper and Egypt Today magazine.
She founded and supervised the content of 218News-English, and previously reported for The Cairo Post and Rotana. She has covered a number of key events, including the 2018 presidential election and Egypt’s World Youth Forums in 2017 and 2018.
Binsal Abdulkader – UAE
A journalist for about 20 years, Binsal is currently the executive editor at the English Division of Emirates News Agency (WAM), the UAE’s official news agency based in Abu Dhabi, since 2019. Earlier, he was a senior reporter with Gulf News, the largest circulated English daily in the Gulf, from May 2007 to March 2019.
He was among 200 international journalists selected by the U.S. State Department's Foreign Press Centres for an eight-week long virtual tour of the U.S. presidential election process in 2020.
He has interviewed top officials, including heads of state and governments, senior ministers, diplomats, and key figures in various fields.
Raji Unnikrishnan – Bahrain
Raji is a journalist with almost 15 years of experience. Currently working as senior reporter with Bahrain’s leading English newspaper, the Gulf Daily News, reporting on regional politics, health, and social and community affairs.
Originally from India, she has been based in Bahrain for 22 years, covering many major regional and international events, including the Manama Dialogue, Gitex, and environmental and health forums.
She also has broadcast experience, and has been a moderator for webinars and hosted chat shows.
Reem Al-Daaysi – Bahrain
Reem is a Bahraini journalist working for the Gulf Daily News. She has covered multiple topics ranging from parliament, court, foreign affairs, local events and sports.
She played for the Bahrain national soccer team for around 10 years. She has travelled across the world and experienced many different cultures and represented Bahrain in various championships and tournaments.
She reports on human interest topics such as politics, humanitarian causes and animal rights, and is involved in some local charity work in Bahrain.
Samah Hassan - Egypt
Samah Hassan is a journalist from Egypt. She has been working for Al-Watan newspaper for 8 years, specializing in foreign policy, immigration, developing countries, and how foreign policies help contain global attitudes.
She has covered the United Nations General Assembly in New York and Egyptian President El-Sisi's visit to Washington to meet with former U.S. President Trump.
More about this program
Senior Program Director