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Meet Farah Dakhlallah, NATO's first spokesperson of Arab descent

A British-Lebanese citizen, Dakhlallah will make history this Friday as NATO's first spokesperson from the region, which could boost the alliance's outreach to the Arab-speaking world.
Farah Dakhlallah will be the first spokesperson for NATO of Arab descent.

Farah Dakhlallah of Lebanon will serve as spokesperson for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) starting on Friday.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made the announcement this week, marking the first time a woman of Arab descent will serve in the position. Dakhlallah brings years of experience in international organizations to the post and could help the alliance in its outreach to the Arabic-speaking world. 

Dakhlallah is replacing Oana Lungescu, who has served in the position since 2010, according to NATO.

Who is Dakhlallah? Dakhlallah, 40, is originally from Lebanon but also holds British citizenship. She studied at Saint Joseph University of Beirut before attending the London School of Economics and Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, according to a 2016 interview with the London-based organization Women in Foreign Policy.

She worked for the UK Foreign Office from 2014 to 2016, serving as an Arabic-language spokesperson. In that capacity, Dakhlallah gave interviews to regional media on the conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Libya and Ukraine as well as on the Iran nuclear issue and other topics.

In the years that followed, Dakhlallah served in communications positions for two United Nations organizations before becoming communications manager for the World Health Organization in 2017, a position she held until 2021. Most recently, she served as Middle East media relations director for AstraZeneca from 2022 until December of last year, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Why it matters: Dakhlallah’s tenure comes at a critical time for NATO as it navigates the wars in Ukraine and backlash from the war in Gaza. Her appointment could help NATO in its outreach to the Arab world. Stoltenberg visited Saudi Arabia for the first time in December in an effort to boost cooperation with the kingdom. 

Last month, Morocco and Algeria participated in a NATO security patrol in the western Mediterranean.

Know more: Dakhlallah's appointment was praised by many on social media, including journalists from her country of origin, Lebanon.

The British embassy in Lebanon called her appointment "A proud moment for the UK and Lebanon" in a post on X.