Susanne Fischer is a media development and digital security specialist with 18 years of experience in designing, implementing and overseeing media and safety programs in high-risk environment. 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 from where she reported for German media before transitioning into media development. For the UK-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting she implemented media support projects in Iraq, then in the broader MENA region. 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 she managed multiple projects aimed at supporting independent media and civil society in Syria, Tunisia, Libya and Lebanon and building their capacity in reporting, advocacy and digital security. At the on-set 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 Master 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 various German 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 living in the MENA region for 12 years, she moved back to Germany to work out of Berlin in 2015.