Giselle Khoury was one of the Arab world’s most prominent TV anchors. AFP

Giselle Khoury an unparalleled journalist with the Arab world at her heart

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Few journalists have left their mark on the Arab world like Giselle Khoury. Known as one of the best interviewers and the sharpest analysts, Giselle was a force to be reckoned with when she hosted a guest on her TV shows over the past three decades.

Giselle was one of the most recognised and beloved television personalities in the Arab world, and that love came through as her friends in the media and many fans around the world mourned her death, which was announced on Sunday morning.

Giselle began her journey in journalism at Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC) in 1986. At LBC, she hosted Hiwar al-Omar (Talk of my Life) which became a talk show of incredible reach.

In 2002, Giselle joined MBC Group, and was part of the launch team of Al Arabiya, where she hosted a weekly show interviewing leading politicians and newsmakers.

In 2013, she moved to BBC Arabic where she anchored the weekly Al Mashad show, again interviewing world leaders including former President of France Jacques Chirac and former President of Turkey Abdullah Gul.

In 2020, Giselle moved to Abu Dhabi to launch her talk show, With Giselle, on Sky News Arabia, where she interviewed global leaders. She remained at Sky News Arabia until her death.

Giselle was incredibly elegant in her approach to tackling tough topics, earning the respect of interviewees and viewers alike.

While she was a pan-Arab nationalist in the classical sense of the term, caring for the entire Arab world, her constant source of inspiration and anxiety was her beloved Lebanon. She knew every detail of the country, its politics, heritage and society.

Giselle lived through the horrors of the Lebanon Civil War and resented the warlords who destroyed the country. In contrast, she felt pride in the young people of her country and the multifaceted cosmopolitanism of Beirut.

Giselle also suffered much loss in her life, and the events of Lebanon reverberated through her personal life. The love of her life, the well-known journalist and writer Samir Kassir, was assassinated in June 2005. She pledged to keep alive her husband’s memory and fight for freedom of expression and civic activism, establishing the Samir Kassir Foundation in 2006. The foundation is among the most respected in the region.

Despite the sadness at the loss of her husband, she loved life and lived it to the full. She gathered friends around her wherever she went.

An avid reader and lover of film and music, she kept up with the latest celebrity news, movies and entertainment. While Giselle knew all the stories of high society and the corridors of power, she was a trusted keeper of secrets for her friends.

The one role Giselle cherished most was that of a mother and grandmother. She often referred to her grandchildren as “my love”, while her daughter Rana and son Marwan were a constant source of pride.

After years of battling cancer, Giselle, 62, died peacefully in her home in Beirut, surrounded by her family.

News of her death was covered across the Arab world, as journalism in the Middle East lost one of its leading lights. Giselle is survived by her son and daughter and her grandchildren Kayan, Sasha and Rayan.

Updated: October 15, 2023, 4:26 PM