Volume 20 | issue nº 3 Winter 2019

LAU Alumna Becomes a Pioneer in Her Field

By Rana Tabbara

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Weam Al Dakheel is the first woman to anchor the news on Saudi state TV.

Weam Al Dakheel has become a pioneer. In September 2018, the Saudi Arabian national appeared on Saudi TV’s Channel 1 as the first woman to anchor the evening broadcast news in the nation. Her appointment made news across the world and was celebrated as a new beginning for women in her field and in the region.

Al Dakheel’s journey to this position brought her to Lebanon for her education, and she graduated from LAU with a BA in Communication Arts in 2011. She also received a diploma in Gender in Development and Humanitarian Assistance from the Arab Institute for Women. From there, she scaled the ranks of the regional news industry, breaking a new glass ceiling and opening up opportunities for other aspiring female journalists.

Reflecting on her educational experience, her stay in Lebanon and her professional life, the LAU alumna spoke to final-year multimedia journalism student Rana Tabbara.

Why do you believe you have been so successful in you field?

I am aware of my passion, and with awareness comes responsibility. I just feel my passion, guide it and work hard to fulfill it with great responsibility. This is my purpose in life; this is who I am.

How did you climb the ladder in the media industry?

My journey in the media industry started in Beirut between 2010 and 2011 with an internship I landed at the newspaper Dar Al-Hayat.

Later in 2012 I worked as a TV reporter for CNBC Arabia in Jeddah, where I was the first Saudi holding the title. After that, I worked as a news presenter at Al-Arab News Channel, based in Bahrain, from 2014 to 2017.

Lately, I’ve been working as an operations manager for Saudi TV at the Saudi Broadcasting Authority.

As an undergraduate, did you ever consider pursuing another major?

Honestly, no. I never thought of it, because when you dream of something, you have to believe in it and know that what you are seeking in life is also seeking you.

How did coming to Lebanon for university change your life?

Living in Lebanon gave me the chance to access the world, since I was exposed to a rich culture and a diverse community. Through it, I learned to respect others’ differences, and by respecting and understanding people from different ethnicities and backgrounds, my perception in life took a different dimension. I approached life with an open mind and the belief that this experience has changed my life.

Why study at LAU?

Because it’s LAU, and because it’s Lebanon. God bless this country!

How did LAU shape who you are today?

My educational experience at LAU has impacted my life in so many ways, and absolutely LAU is a piece of me, the person I am today.

How do you feel about the new rule that permits women to appear on Saudi TV?

I see [Saudi] Vision 2030… I feel our future is bright.

Why do you believe you were chosen to be the first woman to broadcast prime news on Saudi’s Channel 1 TV?

God planned this for me. He closed a lot of doors to set me on this path, to be the first woman to anchor the evening news on Saudi TV. I’m thankful, grateful and very humble to reach where I’m today.

This interview has been condensed and edited.