Alberto Fernandez named to head outreach to Arab World

Alberto Fernandez named to head outreach to Arab World
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Alberto Fernandez named to head outreach to Arab World

Fernandez formerly served as a U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea. He will become President of the Middle East Broadcasting Network, which is run by the US Broadcasting Board of Directors. MBN broadcasts news and features in Arabic to Arab World countries

The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) today announced that Ambassador Alberto M. Fernandez will join the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc. (MBN) as its new president beginning July 17, 2017.

In this role, he will oversee MBN’s multimedia operations in the U.S. and across the Middle East, including its digital properties, Alhurra Television networks and Radio Sawa.

MBN is a private, not for profit, multimedia corporation funded by the BBG that provides news and information to the 22 Arabic speaking countries across the Middle East and North Africa. With a weekly audience of more than 27.5 million people, MBN supports democratic values by expanding the spectrum of ideas in the region and producing accurate, professional and independent news and information on all media platforms; and is a trailblazer in audience engagement.

Control room of Arabic-language satellite TV channel Alhurra, June 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Control room of Arabic-language satellite TV channel Alhurra, June 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ambassador Fernandez, a fluent Arabic speaker, will join BBG from the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), where he served as Vice President from 2015 to 2017. During his Foreign Service career, he was widely regarded as one of the most knowledgeable and impactful U.S. Foreign Service voices in the Arabic-language media. Ambassador Fernandez held numerous roles at the U.S. Department of State, including the Department’s Coordinator for the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Chief of Mission in Sudan, Director for Near East Public Diplomacy and Director for Iraq Public Diplomacy. He was a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counselor and was a recipient of a 2008 Presidential Meritorious Service Award, the 2006 Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Public Diplomacy, and a 2003 Superior Honor Award for his work in Afghanistan, among other awards. He also served as a Foreign Service Officer in Iraq, Kuwait, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and the United Arab Emirates, and as USIA desk officer for Egypt, Yemen, and Sudan.

Ambassador Fernandez is a graduate of the University of Arizona and the Defense Language Institute. Ambassador Fernandez has also lectured and debated on U.S. foreign policy in numerous public venues, and has published in several publications, including Brookings Institution publications, the Foreign Service Journal, Journal of International Security Affairs, Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Cipher Brief, Providence, the Harvard Review of Latin America, Middle East Quarterly and the Journal of the Assyrian Academic Society (JAAS). He is also a Non-Resident Fellow in Middle East Media and Politics at the TRENDS Foundation in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Kenneth Weinstein, Chairman of the Board for the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, conveyed the Board’s support for the selection, “Ambassador Fernandez shares our values and focus on long-term growth,” he said. “He has the perfect combination of skill, experience, and regional expertise that we need to continue driving forward at MBN. We are pleased that he accepted this challenge and look forward to working with him. The Board and I are also very grateful to Brian Conniff for his passion and leadership, and thank him for his accomplishments over many years of dedicated service to the agency.”

“I am truly honored and humbled to join the Broadcasting Board of Governors as the President of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks,” said Fernandez. “I am delighted to have an opportunity to contribute to the impact the BBG’s networks have on millions of lives around the world. MBN is a media leader in the region, and I look forward to joining with its dedicated and accomplished staff to continue its growth momentum in new and creative ways.”

About MBN

The Middle East Broadcasting Networks is a non-profit corporation financed by the U.S. Government through a grant from the BBG.

MBN operates Alhurra Television, an Arabic-language television network that broadcasts to 22 countries in the Middle East and North Africa via satellite, as well as Alhurra-Iraq Television. MBN also operates Radio Sawa, an Arabic-language radio network that broadcasts music and news 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with more than 370 newscasts per week.

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RAY HANANIA — Columnist

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at, and at, and at He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper,, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

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