Citizenship Award 2020: Waad al-Kateab

The 16th Citizenship Award was given to journalist and filmmaker Waad al-Kateab. The jury chose to reward the career of a female journalist from Syria, for her active and militant citizenship. She works passionately in favour of freedom of speech and respect for the opinion of others, human rights, the right to health care, as well as the safety of nurses and doctors.

Born in 1991 in Syria, Waad al-Kateab is a journalist, filmmaker and activist. Her last name is a pseudonym invented to protect her family when she started filming the war in 2011. In 2009, she moved to Aleppo to study marketing at Aleppo University, but her studies were interrupted by the revolution and the war which followed. She has reported on the war for Channel 4 News for 5 years. She won an international Emmy Award for her reports “Inside Aleppo”.

Since 2016, she has been living and working in the UK, where she fled with her family. She makes her first feature documentary “For Sama” with Edward Watts. “For Sama” is an intimate and epic journey into the female experience of war. As a love letter from a young mother to her daughter, the film tells the story of Waad al-Kateab’s life through five years of the uprising in Aleppo as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth to Sama. Her camera captures incredible stories of loss, laughter and survival as Waad wrestles with an impossible choice – whether or not to flee the city to protect her daughter’s life, when leaving means abandoning the struggle for freedom for which she has already sacrificed so much. “For Sama” has won several international film awards.

Waad Al-Kateab continues her fight through the “@ActionForSama #stopbombinghospitals” campaign highlighting the heroism of the doctors and nurses who continue their work despite the bombings. Waad al-Kateab encourages us to nurture and conduct humane debates on the role, responsibilities and impact of war on the lives of thousands of men and women.

  • Born in Syria in 1991.
  • Started her studies in marketing at the University of Aleppo (Syria) in 2009, had to interrupt her education due to the war.
  • From 2011, she has been capturing images of the city of Aleppo getting stuck in an endless war and freelancing for Arabic channels and Channel 4 News.
  • 2016: Forced evacuation from Aleppo, she leaves Syria with her husband Hamza and daughter Sama.
  • 2017: Receives asylum and moves to London with her family, works for Channel 4 News.
  • 2018: Resumes journalism studies in London.
  • 2019: She receives the “ Prix L’OEil d’Or ” for Best Documentary at the
  • 2019 Cannes Film Festival (with Edward Watts), it is also the most nominated documentary in the history of the British Academy Film Awards.
  • 2020 : She wins an Emmy Award for best documentary.
  • 2021: She continues her fight through the campaign “@ActionForSama #stopbombinghospitals.

(Download PDF Laureate 2020)

2 May 2020

With the support of logo pv group