ACI Mena, Mr. Warsaw further said, “is an important milestone in the growth of EWTN News around the globe, and I am pleased that we are taking this significant step to better serve our courageous brothers and sisters in the region who have endured so much."
Set to operate from the Catholic University of Erbil (CUE), ACI Mena is expected to engage a network of correspondents across the Middle East and North Africa under the leadership of Bashar Jameel Hanna, the agency’s Editor-in-Chief.
Editor-in-Chief of ACI Mena, Bashar Jameel Hanna. He is a Chaldean Catholic layman originally from Baghdad. Credit: ACI Mena
Speaking at the ceremony marking the launch of ACI Mena March 25, Mr. Hanna who studied philosophy and theology for nine years at Babel College in Iraq and graduated with a degree in civil engineering from the University of Nantes in France recalled his background.
He said, “When war came around to Iraq, I lost friends and relatives and became a political refugee in Europe.”
“Ten years later, I received a call to work on the reconstruction in the Nineveh plains, to rebuild the church of Mosul. Then, late last year, I received a call for the position of Editor-in-Chief with ACI MENA. And I heard the Lord say: ‘I took you from the ends of the earth; from its farthest corners I called you. I said, you are my servant; I have chosen you and have not rejected you,'” he added making reference to the Prophet Isaiah.
Mr. Hanna who speaks Arabic, French, English, and Aramaic fluently, and has a significant understanding of classic Arabic further said, "Becoming ACI Mena’s Editor-in-Chief, to carry the message of love to the Arabic world still submerged in conflicts and persecution, may be a heavy cross … but He has risen!”
The Executive Director of ACI Group, of which ACI Mena is now a part, described the launch of the news agency "a major step forward for the ACI Group as well as for the larger EWTN News family."
Executive Director of ACI Group, Alejandro Bermudez. Credit: ACI Mena
"We are honored to expand our news coverage of the ancient and heroic communities in this region, providing them local, Vatican and world news in Arabic," Mr. Bermudez said at the March 25 event that was graced by Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda of the Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese of Erbil.