Rula Jebreal is an Italian-Palestinian journalist, who has worked in Italy, Egypt and, now, the United States, where she is a frequent contributor for MSNBC.
Jebreal was born in Haifa, Israel; however, she was raised in East Jerusalem. After her mother committed suicide when she was 5, Rula and her sister were put in a Palestinian orphanage by her father. Jebreal eventually left the turmoil of East Jerusalem when she was awarded a scholarship by the Italian government to study at the University of Bologna. She went on to earn a masters in Journalism and Political Science.
Jebreal immediately began working for Italian newspapers. Her area of expertise is foreign affairs related to the Arab-Israeli conflict and the uprising of Islamic movements, having lived at the center of it for so many years in East Jersualem.
In 2000, the combination of her strong personality and charisma led to her first job as an on-air reporter, and she quickly became a sensation in Italy as the first foreign anchorwoman broadcasting the 8pm news in the history of Italian television.
In 2004, Jebreal started her own daily talk show for Italian television, Ominibus, where she interviewed such prestigious global personalities as Silvio Berlusconi, Bill Gates, ex-prime minister Massimo D’Alema, president of the Italian Parliament Lamberto Dini, French minister of foreign affairs Bernard Kouchner, Palestinian President Abu Mazen, and Nobel Prize winner El Baradei.
By age 33, Jebreal earned the highest journalism award, the International Ischia Award for Best Journalist of the Year.
Having had a news show in Egypt and now having made the move to the U.S., Jebreal frequently contributes to MSNBC as a foreign policy expert.
Jebreal also authored the autobiographical novel Miral, which was made into a controversial and widely-publicized 2010 film starring Freida Pinto.
I moved in my 20s many times. But that was not a big issue.
Wherever my career took me I followed it. That was, that was important to me.
when I arrived to Italy, in the beginning I was not sure about the reality of the place and the ground and the culture. Well it was traumatic at first. I think 2 months I didn’t speak a word and I just kept listening. Fortunately the Italians, they speak so much, that it was easier for me to listen. Two months after I realized perfectly where I was, I was comfortable with it, and I was handling something that was you know as if I was in a, coming from a crisis zone where there’s crisis permanently to a place where it’s so comfortable, it was, it’s like going from a cold pool to a warm pool, it was not an issue.
I just worked hard and studied hard. And there is no shortcuts and I don’t think there’s a lot of shortcuts…Just study hard non stop. Don’t give up before you start.
Cinematography: Ian McAlpin
Edited by: Bowie Alexander
Interviewed by: Laura Lehmann
Produced by: Laura Lehmann
Story by: Danielle Calodney