Lebanese-born Rita El-Mounayer takes over reins from visionary founder Dr. Terence Ascott, heralding “child focused” era for satellite TV ministry
EASTON, Md. — Pioneering Middle East Christian broadcaster SAT-7 has announced the appointment of Rita El-Mounayer as its new chief executive officer (CEO). She takes over from visionary SAT-7 founder and longtime CEO Terence Ascott, who will continue as president.
Raised in war-torn Lebanon, El-Mounayer – a 23-year veteran SAT-7 broadcaster, producer and administrative leader – launched the satellite television network’s hugely successful Christian children’s programming in the Middle East, and is talented both on and off camera.
“It’s been exciting to see how far (El-Mounayer) has come since the early days, when she scripted, produced and presented SAT-7’s first children’s programs,” said Ascott, who will continue to represent SAT-7 internationally. “I believe she will be exceptional in the CEO role.”
The satellite network is “bringing a voice and a message that people in the Middle East and North Africa are eager to hear: that there’s a God who loves you and forgives you and wants to give you eternal life,” said El-Mounayer, who is based on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, SAT-7’s broadcasting hub. “If we want to change the Middle East for Christ, we must focus on the children.”
Believers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are part of what El-Mounayer calls “the invisible, living room church” – Christians whose only biblical teaching comes via SAT-7 programs on their living room TV. Many Christ followers in the region have been impacted by turmoil and wars – something El-Mounayer understands from her childhood growing up in Lebanon during the country’s civil war.
“They have all this pain, all this brokenness and hurt, but God is using SAT-7 to bring the Word of God and a message of reconciliation and peace,” El-Mounayer said, adding the network also had more than 50 million YouTube hits last year.
Recently, the SAT-7 podcast Unconventional Ministry featured an interview with El-Mounayer, affirming her vision for the ministry and her heart for children. The podcast (www.sat7usa.org/
“The church in this part of the world has been behind closed doors for years, but now it’s time for the church in the Middle East and North Africa to come out of the shadows and take a stand,” El-Mounayer said. “This is when media plays such a crucial role, especially in places where there are no visible churches and believers gather around a television.”
Broadcasting in Arabic, Farsi and Turkish, SAT-7 programs reach a vast potential audience across the Middle East and North Africa, beaming the “good news” into nations such as Iran and Turkey, home to millions who have never heard the gospel.
El-Mounayer joined SAT-7 in 1996 and quickly rose through the organization’s ranks in the Middle East, presenting the flagship children’s program Bedtime Stories and going on to head all SAT-7 children’s and Arabic programming. In 2007, her vision and drive supported the launch of SAT-7 KIDS, the first independent Arabic Christian channel for children. She also spearheaded SAT-7’s educational programs targeting Syrian refugee children and their parents in Lebanon. Most recently she provided leadership to all SAT-7’s channels as Chief Channels and Communication Officer.
“I thank God because my role with SAT-7 is not simply ‘work’ – it’s a calling,” said El-Mounayer, who has a Master’s degree in communications from the University of Wales in the UK. “I see my role as encouraging and empowering SAT-7’s committed workers around the world, especially those who work so hard behind the scenes. I want them to see the long-lasting significance of what they are doing and their valuable contributions to the higher purpose of changing people’s lives.”
Launched in 1996, SAT-7 (www.sat7usa.org) – with its international headquarters in Cyprus – broadcasts Christian and educational satellite television programs to more than 25 million people in the Middle East and North Africa. Its mission is to make the gospel available to everyone, and support the church in its life, work and witness for Jesus Christ. SAT-7 broadcasts 24/7 in Arabic, Farsi (Persian) and Turkish, using multiple satellite channels and online services.
Photo Cutline: Middle East Christian broadcaster SAT-7 has appointed Lebanese-born Rita El-Mounayer as its new chief executive officer (CEO).