Interview With New SAT-7 CEO Shatters Stereotypes
In a gender-bias-breaking television moment, Rita El-Mounayer appeared on the SAT-7 ARABIC show Is it Important to be Christian?, representing the entire SAT-7 network as its CEO and sharing a powerful message of Christian unity and tolerance.
Rita El-Mounayer appeared on the teaching talk show shortly after taking over the CEO role on 1 April. She discussed SAT-7’s vital impact in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), helping SAT-7 ARABIC viewers feel closer to the network’s ministry.
“We aim to give hope to those without hope,” she says. “To give love to those who have lost love. And to deliver the voice of the local church to the whole world.”
Rita spoke alongside Is it Important to be Christian? host Father Ramzi Jreij and Archbishop Boulos Sayah, the Maronite Patriarchal Vicar for Legal Affairs and a SAT-7 board member.
While the inclusion of a high-profile female leader is far from unusual for SAT-7 ARABIC programs, Rita’s appearance – especially alongside a prominent church leader – offered a strong model of equality for millions of viewers in a conservative region.
“WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE”
Rita, who has worked with SAT-7 for 23 years, encouraged believers to feel part of a region-wide Christian community with a long, rich history.
“The Middle East also includes Turkey and Iran,” she says. “When we look around us, we will find Christian minorities in all these countries. But I don’t like to use the word ‘minorities’, because even if we are small in numbers, we can still make a difference.”
A CHURCH FOR ALL
She also highlights that while Christians in Lebanon – where the show is filmed – have freedom of worship, many believers in the MENA do not.
“In some places, even if churches exist, people are afraid to go and pray because of a lack of security. Places such as Iraq, Syria, and others. Viewers tell us that SAT-7 is like a church in their home. When they can’t go and pray, they pray with us.”
“THE WORLD NEEDS LOVE”
Echoing Rita’s message, the Archbishop spoke movingly about SAT-7’s importance. He says:
“The message of Jesus is the most important message for the Middle East at this time. Because the world always needs love. However, we live in a world where television and newspapers only show violence, killing, and rejection of the other.
“But the main message and motto of SAT-7’s four channels is to make God’s love visible. To make His love seen and touched – to make it a reality felt by everyone. This is a very big goal, and a very noble one. That is what the world needs now.”
TOGETHER TOWARDS JESUS
Asked his views on female leadership, the archbishop stressed the importance of representation and praised the contribution made by Rita and others.
“It is important for us to walk towards Jesus together. Together as churches of the Middle East, together as denominations, together as Christians and Muslims, and together as men and women,” he says.
“SAT-7 IS MY CALLING”
As for Rita, asked how she feels about her new position, she says:
“Just as someone is called to be a priest or an archbishop, SAT-7 is my calling… I know in my heart that SAT-7 isn’t just a job – it’s my life’s ministry. And when there’s a ministry, a message or a calling, we do what we are called to do, and Jesus does the rest.”