Susanne Fischer

Regional Director for Middle East & North Africa Programs


Susanne Fischer is a media development and digital security specialist with 12 years experience in designing, implementing and overseeing media and safety programs in high-risk environments. A journalist by trade, she left her home country Germany in 2003 to report about the war in Iraq. In an old Volkswagen Passat she drove from Hamburg to Baghdad where she had planned to stay for three months. She ended up staying five years in Iraq, first in Baghdad, then in Suleimania.

In March 2005 Susanne joined the Institute for War and Peace Reporting as a journalism trainer but quickly took over programmatic responsibility as Country Director in Iraq. In 2008 she moved to Lebanon to set up a new country office in Beirut as a regional hub for programs in the MENA region.

Between 2007 and 2015 Susanne managed multiple projects aimed at supporting independent media and civil society in Syria and building their capacity in reporting, advocacy and digital security. At the onset of the Arab Spring, she started the Cyber Arabs Program, an initiative to provide digital security support to activists and journalists across the MENA region. Under her guidance, more than 400 human rights defenders, journalists, LGBTI and women’s rights activists from 17 Arabic countries received training and mentoring in digital security.

Susanne has a Masters in political science and history from the University of Münster and graduated from the prestigious Henri-Nannen-School of Journalism in Hamburg. She worked for numerous media outlets, among them Der Spiegel, Die Zeit, Süddeutsche Zeitung and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. She published five books, two of them on Iraq and one on the Arab Spring. After 12 years in the MENA region she moved back to Germany to work out of Berlin.