Jump to Footer

SUNY Plattsburgh Journalism Alumna Named Among Most Powerful Arab Women

A SUNY Plattsburgh graduate has landed on an Arab business magazine’s list of the most powerful Arab women in the world.

Arabian Business ranked 1973 graduate Raghida Dergham No. 42 on its list.

Helping Lay the Groundwork for the Journalism Program

Now a columnist and senior diplomatic correspondent for the London-based Al Hayat newspaper, Dergham came to SUNY Plattsburgh before the college had a journalism program.

College officials worked together, helping Dergham create her own major in creative writing and journalism.

“They went out of the way to accommodate me,” Dergham said.

This effort helped lay the groundwork for the college’s current journalism department with its award-winning Cardinal Points newspaper, and that makes Dergham very proud.

Covering International Politics

Now, Dergham’s beat is the United Nations, but she also reports from locations around the world four or five months out of the year, covering international politics, interviewing many of the word’s top newsmakers and writing a column.

“In my culture, for a woman to enter the field of politics, in terms of journalism, this is not the norm,” Dergham told Arabian Business. “A woman cannot think this way. A woman cannot do this.”

Yet, Dergham has.

Great Moments of Fear and Courage

Her line of work has sometimes put her in dangerous positions, interviewing heads of state from countries where women have few rights and where the media is censored. Dergham admits that she would never have been able to ask some of the questions she has if the interviews had taken place in the officials’ home countries.

“There were many moments of great fear,” she said. “Anyone with courage will understand the meaning of fear.”

Back to top