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Interview with Zahra Rasool,
A Beneficiary of The World Federation Education Loan
Zahra Rasool, the Head of Al Jazeera’s Contrast VR, recently benefited from The World Federation Higher Education loan. She appeared on the Alternate Realities Summit 2018 and presented an impassioned keynote about the path to authentic storytelling through diversity and collaboration. View her inspiring story here.
We managed to catch a quick tea break with her. Read our short interview below.
Thanks, Zahra Rasool for taking some time out to chat to us. It’s great to see the amount of success and work you’ve been involved in. We’d like to share your story with The World Federation community. Right, let’s get started!
Let’s start off with your studies. Tell us a bit how you ended up studying in London?
I started off studying at the University of Missouri in Columbia, The Missouri School of Journalism in the United States. During the time my university was advertising an exchange program with the University of Westminster in London. I really wanted to experience studying in London and therefore approached The World Federation for the Higher Education Loan. Luckily I was accepted and I was on the way for a semester-long study abroad program at the University of Westminster in London.
What course did you apply for and how long was the course?
The course that I studied was TV Production. It was only for a semester which means in total I was studying abroad for 4-5 months.
How did you feel about studying London?
I remember being excited and I enjoyed the course. Looking back, I was pretty young when I was in London, this shaped me for what was to come and I made some good friends, I passed with good grades and it was a great experience to be part of.
Thanks for that Zahra. Can you let us know what was your objectives when applying for the course and did you manage to meet them?
My main passion and drive was to always to be involved in Media. This course gave me that stepping stone to gain a grasp of the Media Landscape in the UK. Since I started off studying in the US and had a slight idea of what I wanted to get into, I just wanted to experience it from the other side of the pond. Understanding the key differences in Media in the US and Europe was key for me.
Your YouTube clip which we saw during Authenticity and Diversity in storytelling – Alternate realities Summit 2018 (and prompted this interview with you) can you tells us a bit more about this event?
I was excited to be part of the event: Authenticity and Diversity in storytelling. I was actually nominated to give a keynote presentation at the Sheffield documentary film festival in the UK which took place earlier this year.
Congratulations on that by the way, do you mind lets us know what your speech was about?
My speech resonates with authenticity. Often our stories are not heard, or even if they heard they are mis-communicated. The purpose of my speech is to be able to tell my story. The importance of it, the authenticity of it and the truth of it to everyone involved in it.
What are your future aspirations you would like to achieve?
Currently, I’m working as the head of contrast which is Al-Jazeera’s in-house innovations. Our mandate is to look at new and emerging tech and how we can use that to find new ways for storytelling. As for my future aspiration, I would love to be able to continue to create more innovative storytelling ways which enables me to push the boundaries of what immersive, what emerging tech and powerful storytelling combined can achieve.
And finally, do you have any advice you can give to someone with similar interests to you
My advice for people who have similar interest to me would be, is focus on your education, I don’t think that there is a substitute to getting the best education you possibly can and travelling, the knowledge and the exposure you get when you meet people from different parts of the world from different cultures is something that’s invaluable and I think especially if you’re in the media, it’s important to have those diversity views and experiences.
And that’s all we have time for today. Thanks so much Zahra Rasool for giving us a brief insight into your creative life.
We at The World Federation wish you all the success in your future and look forward to all the new story-telling methods you will create!
Incase you've missed Zahra Rasool KeyNote Lecture you can view it here.
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