NAYA | Woman of the Month: Raghida Dergham, a Lebanese journalist beyond borders

Her contributions to the world of columnists and political affairs are widely read recognized on an international level.
by Vanessa Ghanem

27 June 2019 | 11:00

Source: by Annahar

  • by Vanessa Ghanem
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 27 June 2019 | 11:00

Photo of Raghida Dergham. (Photo taken by Stephanie Pierre Youssef).

BEIRUT: Feisty journalist and political analyst, Raghida Dergham earned her status as an international correspondent.

Her career is marked by what she offers to her audiences and how she makes sense out of the news.

Her analyses and opinions have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Huffington Post, Arab News, Al Arabiya, and she is currently a columnist for The National.

A successful career in journalism: But with ups and downs

She attributes her success to her curiosity.

“Curiosity is never-ending in journalism. We, as journalists, have to be curious on behalf of our readers and followers in order for them to be interested in what we are saying,” the Lebanese-American Journalist told Annahar.

Before becoming a Senior Diplomatic Correspondent and Specialist on global strategy, Dergham made sure to complete all her homework.

She competed with wire services and sometimes corrected their stories. Today, she is an opinion writer who’s read in the different corners of the world including: Washington, Moscow, and Beijing.

All of this, however, did not happen in a blink of an eye. She entered the geopolitical field at a very young age, 23.

“I was a young woman entering international political affairs, a field that was thought to be reserved for men who neither welcomed nor embraced the idea of me joining their domain,” she said. “They ganged up on me, tried to overshadow me, and pushed my stories back. To get my own column was not an easy accomplishment either; I had to fight for it.”

She added, “I am here. I am going to do the right job, and I will do it so well that you won’t be able to dismiss me.”

She added, “I just ignored anything and learned to disregard the negative vibes coming my way. And most importantly, I didn’t let anything break me or else I wouldn’t have been where I am now." 

Women are always going to face battles as she thinks we still live in a man’s world. The ultimate solution for this, according to her, is the need for women to support, back up, and empower each other.

“You will always have people pushing you out. Don’t let anyone break you. Fight,” Dergham said. “Sometimes you go one hill at a time, while some other times you make sure that you want to win the war, so it’s ‘okay’ to lose a battle. But sometimes, you just scream in their faces and say: ‘I won’t allow you.’”

Dergham emphasized the importance of having mentors and building a support system in life.

“I raised a daughter and made sure to always have her back, and now, luckily, she has my back. That’s so important in young women’s relations,” she highlighted. “We got to have each other’s back. We have to build resilience so that we can guard our places.”

Dergham’s self-reinvention: Beirut Institute

As part of reinventing herself to feel even more challenged, Dergham founded the Beirut Institute and initially lead it alone since till it became a well-known global brand. The Institute aims to contribute to the process of finding solutions by bringing together forward-looking and action-oriented moderates and modernists.

Its  theme-oriented Councils include Global Policy, Governance, Innovation, Women, Youth Aspirations and Education.The Institute aims to contribute to the process of finding solutions to diverse global issues bringing together action-oriented moderates and modernists.

Dergham proposed the addition of a professionally organized women’s political party to act as a rally point on the many political lists that would work more exclusively on women’s issues, equity, and change in cultural perception from the stereotype view of second class citizen.

Dergham through her journey as a journalist, broke the glass ceiling multiple times and inspired young women to become political commentators and analysts.

Today, she is armed with experience, contacts, and credibility.

Her regular written contributions to the world of columnists and political affairs enjoys a wide readership recognized on an international level. 

“Of course I still have dreams,” she exclaimed. “I am a woman who doesn’t settle easily. I would become stale if I settle. I need to always challenge myself, work hard, keep on moving forward,” Dergham told Annahar. “And to every girl who dreams to be in my place: Dare to dream and don’t be afraid to venture.”

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Welcome to “Naya,” the newest addition to Annahar’s coverage. This section aims at fortifying Lebanese women’s voices by highlighting their talents, challenges, innovations, and women’s empowerment. We will also be reporting on the world of work, family, style, health, and culture. Naya is devoted to women of all generations. Naya Editor, Sally Farhat: Sally.farhat@annahar.com.lb

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