Waad al-Kateab

Waad al-Kateab is a Syrian activist and award-winning filmmaker. She became a citizen journalist in 2011, after protests broke out across Syria against the Assad regime, and in January 2016 she began documenting the horrors of Aleppo for Channel 4 News in a series that received an International Emmy for breaking news coverage. 

Waad’s first feature documentary, For Sama, documented her life over five years in Aleppo, combining a firsthand witness account of the appalling atrocities in Aleppo with an intimate human insight into the everyday existence of her family against the backdrop of the conflict in Syria. Waad was eventually forced to flee, reaching Turkey before seeking asylum in the UK. 

The film, directed with Edward Watts, received worldwide critical acclaim, winning numerous awards, including the Prix L’Œil d’Or for best documentary at Cannes Film Festival, Best Documentary at the BAFTAs and a nomination for Best Documentary Feature at the 2020 Academy Awards. Waad has also received several personal recognitions for her work as an activist and filmmaker, including the IDA Courage Under Fire Award and a place in the 2020 TIME 100 List of Most Influential People. 

As of 2021 Waad continues to work with Channel 4 News, mentor for the Marie Colvin Journalist Network and the International Center for Journalists, and dedicate time to her advocacy campaign, Action For Sama, which seeks to end the targeting of healthcare facilities in Syria. 

She lives in the U.K. with her husband and two daughters.



Surviving the Siege of Aleppo with Waad Al-Kateab

Waad Al-Kateab, Syrian refugee, activist and award-winning filmmaker, addresses the 13th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see quotes below, followed by full prepared remarks. On eruption of 2011 Arab Spring in Syria: “The idea that people would fight back was something I’d always dreamed of, but