Renowned journalist returns to her roots

Raghida Dergham stops in at Plattsburgh State for a talk with the community

Raghida Dergham speaking to the community at Hawkins Hall at Plattsburgh State.

Raghida Dergham speaking to the community at Hawkins Hall at Plattsburgh State. Photo by Stephen Bartlett.

— Raghida Dergham came to the North Country from Lebanon to study at Plattsburgh State.

Today, she is a renowned journalist and one of the most powerful Arab women in the world.

“Plattsburgh got me thinking independently and was a major part of my education in the United States.”

Dergham, class of 1973, is a senior diplomatic correspondent for the London-based Al Hayat newspaper. She has earned more than 50 exclusive interviews with foreign ministers, U.S. presidents and other world leaders including U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, President George W. Bush, Jordanian King Abdullah, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, and U.S. General David Petraeous.

She is also a political analyst for NBC and MSNBC and is a frequent guest on networks like CNN, Fox and Al Jazeera. Dergham has had work published in the New York Times, Washington Post and Newsweek.

She was recently named to Arabian Business’s list of the 100 most powerful Arab women in the world.

She spoked to a packed room on Feb. 16 in Krinovitz Recital Hall, Hawkins Hall.

Dergham left Beirut for Plattsburgh at 16 at the urging of family.

“I thought I was coming to New York, and then I came to Plattsburgh and was stunned by how cold it was.”

She applied to Plattsburgh State and was offered a scholarship. Dergham was published in Lebanon at 15 as a short story writer and poet, but Plattsburgh State didn’t have majors in that area. The university got creative and put together an interdisciplinary major in creative writing and journalism.

She became the school’s first journalism major and later graduate.

“It mattered to them that I stayed and got an education that suited me.”

Her next stop was Boston University.

She was waiting tables in Boston when a man advised her to purchase radio air time, round up advertisers and start a news program. Dergham did, using her show for documentaries, entertainment and interviews.

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