In Memory of Dr. Nabil Al Sharif

11 Mar 2021

It is with great sadness that the Jordan Media Institute community received the news of the passing of HE Dr. Nabil Al Sharif, the Founding Chairman of the Board of JMI.

My first encounter with HE Dr. Nabil al Sharif was when he was Minister of Media Affairs. I was still a reporter with CNN and, naturally, he was a primary contact for me as he was for many local journalists and foreign correspondents here in Amman.

I knew he came from a prominent family of newspaper owners and that, as former editor in chief of the renowned Al Dustour newspaper, he had a solid knowledge and understanding of the media. He also believed in the importance of having an independent media.

In his interactions with me as a journalist, he was always professional and courteous, straightforward and honest. I interviewed him more than once, and his quotes always helped me ascertain Jordan’s official position, at a time when the country was a crucial player in the regional politics unfolding around the Iraqi invasion by the US in 2003.

I never imagined then, all the times that I interviewed him, that he would one day help me found the Jordan Media Institute as the first Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Shortly after I married and settled in Jordan, I had been asked to see how I could help develop media education in the Kingdom.

Dr. Nabil as we called him, was among those who joined the group of media experts with whom I would sit , to start the very first steps of the inception of the project and then put together a concept.

In view of his experience in government and his background with Al Dustour, he seemed to be a natural choice to become first Chairman of the Board of JMI. By that time he was no longer Minister, he was a member of the Upper House of Parliament.

He was an essential part of our little team when we first presented the project to His Majesty. He was with us when we first set up an international curriculum committee to develop JMI’s Master’s programme and, of course, he was present with us for the official launch of the institute, in 2009, as he would be every single year after that, attending every graduation of the Master’s students until last year when events caused that event to be held online.

Very soon after the creation of JMI, he called me to inform me that he would have to resign, because he had been named Minister of State of Information, and Government Spokesperson, again. I was, of course, happy for him, though selfishly not so much for JMI!

He remained however, a strong friend and ally to the work of the Institute and to myself, meeting regularly to discuss the state of the media in our country.

I remember that he was active in pushing to empower a complaints commission and make sure it played an essential role of regulator for the media.

In his latest role, as Executive Director of the Anna Lindh Foundation, I know for a fact that HE Dr. Nabil Al Sharif was appreciated by all those who worked with him and all those with whom he crossed paths. And he never forgot the Jordan Media Institute. 

We found ourselves working together again, in Brussels at a Media Conference and then again on the Euro-Med Women for Dialogue Forum that was held in Amman, at JMI, in September of 2019.

Throughout the years that we were privileged, at JMI, to call him a friend and supporter, Dr. Al Sharif never let us down and we will all miss him acutely. He will leave a gap that will be hard to fill in so many respects.

Aside from his professional engagements with us as an Institute, I will miss a friend and former colleague and someone with whom I enjoyed talking about North African food, an appreciation he had from his time as Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to Morocco.

May God rest his soul.

Rym Ali

"Dr. Nabil Al Sharif, may God rest his soul, was a free man, who carried the legacy of a journalist family. He was kind and loyal to this country", Mr. Saed D. Karajah said.

"Dr. Nabil Al Sharif was a dear friend, I knew him, at first, as a colleague in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Jordan, and then we became friends for three decades. Al Sharif, may God rest his soul, was a well-educated and moral man", Dr. Mustafa Hamarneh said.

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