"Between the civil wars in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Libya, Ed Sabella, has personally witnessed all sorts of war. However, he has always enjoyed covering conflicts during his 25-year career. He is currently a Lead Director at the BBC World Service, based in the United Kingdom.
Sabella, a media professional of Armenian descent, was born born and raised in Beirut. He had to drop out of his school at the age of 14, because of the Lebanese Civil War:
"It was the end of the Civil War, I was not keen on continuing my studies and therefore, I could not complete my education," Sabella explained. "When I was 16, I applied for a job at a Beirut-based television company called MTV Lebanon. I did not have relevant work experience but they accepted me and I started as an Assistant Cameraman." He was able to acquire all the professional knowledge, including journalistic best practices, camera operation and video editing skills on the job during this time, thanks to his mentor.
Posessing a good knowledge of Arabic, English, French and Armenian, Sabella received offers from leading media companies, and started working in conflict zones as a cameraman and editor. When he started directing, MTV was shut down and he received an offer to work for the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC). In 2003 he moved to Dubai to work at the Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC).
After four years, he applied for a TV Director position at the BBC World Service and moved to London. In this role he travelled often to cover stories in Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon and many other countries by setting up mobile studios. He also designed and created many programs for the BBC Arabic service.
“I always liked working in hostile zones covering live stories right from the scene," Sabella said. "When I started working in television as an assistant, I liked these kind of duties. I was learning new things every day."
Sabella confessed that he has never experienced fear when reporting from war zones and was quick-witted in tough situations as to what steps to undertake.
"To some extent, this is perhaps related to my childhood or the military service with the Lebanese army," he said. "I saw war when I was a child, and therefore, I am aware of the dangers. I am quick in deciding how to react in danger. I had lots of training on how to protect myself and the crew and I did advanced first aid courses. There are a few journalists who experience symptoms like PTSD, sometimes they don’t sleep well and have nightmares after reporting from hostile locations. I have never experienced such things. I never had any stress, fears, or bad psychological moods.”
When BBC launched its studios in Egypt and Beirut, Ed Sabella was appointed by the BBC Arabic service to lead both projects. He was involved in training staff and supervising the design of the studios. He had no issues in integrating into either society. “I am used to travelling all the time and I love it. It is easy and fun to make new friends all over the world. I have never had issues with integration, living in different cultural environments, as well as socializing," Sabella explained.
He visited Armenia for the first time in 2016 and ran a few workshops for Armenian journalists and students.
“I loved Armenians and Armenia very much. I also applied for Armenian citizenship and envisage starting a business in Armenia, as well as carrying out seminars and trainings for local media organizations,” Sabella told, adding with a a smile that he fell in love with his homeland, Armenia.