Karen Dabrowska

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Karen Dabrowska was born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1956. Her parents were refugees from the city of Lvov in eastern Poland, who could not return to their country at the end of the Second World War because the region was annexed by the then Soviet Union.

After completing a BA at Victoria University, Wellington in sociology and politics and a journalism course at Wellington Polytechnic, Ms Dabrowska joined the Evening Post a national daily in 1979. During her six years with the paper she worked as a business and court reporter, covered the commercial fishing and horticultural industries, wrote a series of articles on alternative medicine and welfare issues and contributed freelance articles to Commercial Fishing Magazine and the RSA Journal. She also did voluntary work for Prisoners Aid. After leaving the Evening Post she worked as press officer for the New Zealand Theatre Federation and the New Zealand Standards Association.

In 1985 she was accepted for a post-graduate course in international journalism at City University, London. Her MA thesis dealt with the effectiveness of the Polish-government-in-exile as a pressure group.

After graduating in 1986 with an MA (with distinction) she spent two months in Ethiopia researching and writing Addis Ababa: A pocket guide to Ethiopia’s capital city.

In 1987 she was appointed features editor of New Horizon, a Middle Eastern/Islamic publication dealing mainly with the politics and culture of the Islamic world. She became editor of New Horizon in 1988. After the magazine changed its focus to Islamic banking, she assisted in setting up a number of English language newsletters dealing with the Middle East such as Dialogue, Iraq Update and Kuwait Review.

She also contributed to Al-Muhajir, Gulf States Newsletter, Discourse a monthly publication promoting Muslim-Christian relations, The Yemen Times and Islamic Tourism Magazine.

From 1991 to August 2011 Ms Dabrowska worked as London correspondent for Jana News Agency. On December 19th 2004 she set up a good news website about Iraq: www.islamictourism.com. She joined the Sudanese National Council as development officer in August 2011 and is continuing with freelance writing including regular contributions to The Arab Weekly. In November 2014 she became a board member of the Kurdish Aid Foundation.

In 2002 Iraq: The Bradt Travel Guide which has been reprinted twice was published. Ms Dabrowska’s books include Iraq: Then And Now – a guide to the country and its people, Bahrain Briefing: The Struggle for Democracy (December 1994 – December 1996) and two reports on the Iraqi regime’s violations of human rights and drainage of the marshlands of southern Iraq.

She has recently completed three books: The Libyan Revolution: Diary of Qadhafi’s Newsgirl in London, Into the Abyss: Human Rights Violations and the suppression of the popular movement for change and a collection of short stories: Melancholy memories: foreign dreams.

She is updating the Bradt Guide to Iraq (the second edition will be published in August 2015) and is ghost writing the memoirs of an Iraqi anti-sanctions campaigner who was imprisoned on trumped up charges.

In the course of her work she has visited over 30 countries including Afghanistan, Australia, Fiji, Oman, Syria, Libya, Palestine, Morocco, Tunisia, Iraq, Jordan, Western Sahara, Ethiopia, USA, Iran, Yemen, St Lucia, North Cyprus, Turkey, Canada, Poland, Ukraine, Kenya and Tanzania.

Ms Dabrowska enjoys walks in London’s green spaces, travel, tai chi (she has a yellow belt) and reading mostly about politics and spiritual matters.