A native of the Sudan, Ahmed graduated from Khartoum’s Bayan College for Science and Technology with a major in information systems. He started out as the IT guy at a radio station, but was soon drawn to production, becoming production assistant, producer, senior producer, production manager, and finally radio show host at Mango FM. He presented two programs on the station: a daily morning show and a bi-weekly program of traditional and folkloric music.
He left Mango to start an advertising and publicity business with a partner, where he worked on promotions, mini-corporate documentaries, and radio ads. He worked as a sound engineer and a translator for the 2009 documentary on female genital mutilation called “The Cutting Tradition,” narrated by actress Meryl Streep.
His father studied at the American University in Cairo but transferred to the American University in Beirut, graduating in 1964 with a major in psychology. His paternal grandfather, Sheikh Obied Abd al-Nur, was a 1928 alumnus of the American University in Beirut and a leader in the independence movement against British colonization. Sheikh Babiker Badri, his paternal grandfather, founded in 1907 the Sudan’s first women’s school and later private university, Ahfad University for Women.
For a few years in his early childhood, Ahmed lived in California, where his father was completing a doctorate in psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In school he disliked math and the sciences, but loved geography and history, which he credits to a grade school history teacher who was a master storyteller.
When Ahmed visited Egypt in January 2011, he learned about the Adham Center and stayed on to witness 18 days of revolution. He returned to the Sudan in mid-February, where he still had his business and was responsible for ten employees. But he was searching for a career more than just money. “Anyone can buy a camera and push a button,” says Ahmed. Instead, he wanted to convey a message and develop his passion for journalism—pursuits he found in the Adham Center’s master’s program, where he learned to be a well-rounded video journalist. He also enrolled in the documentary course taught by award-winning filmmaker Ibrahim El Batout and offered by the Adham Center’s Professional Development Program.
In May 2012, Ahmed had a interview via Skype with veteran broadcast journalist and Adham Center director Hafez Al Mirazi as part of his application for the a graduate degree in television and digital journalism. He started his coursework the following fall and graduated in February 2016.
He’s had his share of adventures reporting throughout Egypt. While working on a tourism story in the southern town of Minya, a guard shoved his rifle against Ahmed’s chest. “People are simple and kind,” he says of his brush with danger. “One word can set them afire, and one word can quite them.”
Among Ahmed’s small claims to fame was being a model for a mobile operator in the Sudan. He loves to travel, but shuns farewells.
Check out some of his video work in the links below.