By Nazira Ahmed
“We have today in 2013 the biggest number of slaves in history. You cannot stay indifferent, you have to take action” Monique Villa, Chief Executive of the Thomson Reuters Foundation passionately states.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation provides training for journalists in developing countries, media training for non-government organisations (NGOs) and runs Trust Law, which works with law firms to provide free legal advice to NGOs and social entrepreneurs.
Since coming to Reuters 5 years ago Monique has taken Reuters to new heights. Her achievements include expanding the business worldwide and introducing Trust Law, which works with 300 law firms and continues to grow.
“I want it to grow bigger. We had three journalists when I started. We have 26 now around the world.” explains Monique on expanding Reuters.
Monique Villa’s drive comes from the issues that she cares about, which are human trafficking, slavery and women’s rights. Whilst still being passionate about the issues she feels the strongest about Monique tries to give people a safe platform for their voice to be heard.
Monique believes that it’s important that, “We tell stories about people who need to have a voice and we try to give them a voice.”
Monique was a journalist for 20 years, a manager at Agence-France Press (AFP) and Reuters and for the past 5 years she has headed up the Foundation. She is known for her business-like approach to charity and promoting the reporting of underreported issues around the world. In 2011 Monique was ranked 43 of the world’s 100 most influential people in business ethics by the Think-Tank Ethisphere.
One of the ways that Reuters is worlds above many is because they put many topics under the spotlight that aren’t covered in the mainstream media. “We try to come out with news stories that no-one else is reporting.” Explains Monique.
In 2010 Monique Villa created Aswat Masriya, which is an independent and unbiased Arabic news website. She set it up to ensure fair and unbiased reporting of the Egyptian elections which followed the Arab Spring. It is now an authoritative mainstream source of information across Egypt and has expanded coverage into business news.
Having worked so hard to make such a large impact on Thomson Reuters Foundation, Monique’s vision for the future is to continue to grow larger and to find news stories that no one else is reporting.
“Reuters aim is to make a difference.” Finishes Monique
To find out more about The Thomson Reuters Foundation do visit their website.