Syria Direct Co-founder John DeBlasio Visits Team in Jordan
This month, John DeBlasio, Executive Director of the GPD Charitable Trust, co-founder and longtime supporter of Syria Direct visited Syria Direct’s office, headquartered in Amman, Jordan. There, DeBlasio met with the Syrian editorial team and heard firsthand about Syria Direct’s recent work and upcoming projects. DeBlasio was accompanied by fellow co-founder and Emmy Award-winning journalist, Amjad Tadros.
During the visit, DeBlasio spent time with the Syrian journalists, who discussed with him their most recent projects, as well as their ideas for Syria Direct as it continues to carry out its mission to train Syrian civilian journalists to tell their own story of the atrocities taking place in Syria.
Deblasio said, “There is no greater accomplishment than seeing the success Syria Direct has achieved. To date, this program has touched the lives of thousands — whether it be the nearly 200 Syrians who have graduated from our program, the 500+ published articles Syria Direct has produced, or the 100,000 readers who turn to them to deliver credible, timely, and valuable media coverage of Syria— there are countless ways to measure our success.”
DeBlasio and Tadros both expressed their commitment to the organisation as it begins a new phase of growth, institutional strengthening and building on the many achievements of the past 6 years.
DeBlasio is the Founder and Executive Director of the Global Peace and Development (GPD) Charitable Trust, which has committed over $15 million in charitable contributions to over 23 organizations globally, with the goal of promoting peace and democracy worldwide. GPD Charitable Trust has been a partner of Syria Direct since Syria Direct’s inception in 2013.
About Syria Direct
Founded in 2013, Syria Direct is a non-profit journalism organization that produces timely, credible coverage of Syria while training a small group of highly talented, aspiring Syrian and international journalists in professional news-gathering and accurate, in-depth reporting. Reporters cover key military developments and track the country’s shifting politics, province by province, to explain news as it unfolds, placing a particular focus on the individuals driving events on the ground. Syria Direct is committed to ensuring the highest journalistic standards for Syrians to report on their own country, to influence the wider news agenda and inculcate principles of independent, critical thinking with integrity in its reporters.
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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 as the Special US Correspondent for the Arab News at www.ArabNews.com, the TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, 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.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appeare in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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