Dr. Terence Ascott
Founder & CEO
Terence “Terry” Ascott has lived in the Middle East and served as the leader for indigenous media ministries for more than 40 years. In 1973 Terry moved to Beirut, Lebanon and worked to launch an Arabic Christian publishing ministry. After the start of the Lebanese Civil War, Terry and his family evacuated to Egypt. In Egypt Terry launched an Arabic youth magazine called “Magalla”. This was the first Christian magazine to be successfully distributed on newsstands, in more than a dozen Arab counties. “Magalla” was published for over two decades and was, for many, their first exposure to the Christian faith.
While working on the magazine, Terry’s ministry became involved in other media projects including video production. In 1995 he, along with Middle Eastern Christian leaders and around twenty partner organizations working in the region, launched SAT-7: The first Arabic language Christian satellite television channel. The channel was a pioneer in many areas, breaking ground for other ministries to follow. In the years since its launch, SAT-7 has grown from a two-hour a week broadcast, to a network of five 24-hour channels: SAT-7 ARABIC (Arabic Christian programming for every age group), SAT-7 KIDS (the first and currently the only Arabic Christian channel for children), SAT-7 PLUS (The best Arabic programming from the other channels, broadcast to a different audience, over a different satellite), SAT-7 PARS (a 24 hour channel in Farsi/Persian, with some programming in Dari for Afghanistan) and SAT-7 TÜRK (Christian programming for 100 million Turkish-speakers in the region).
SAT-7 has more than 170 employees, mostly Middle Eastern nationals, who work in its offices and studios in Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, Cyprus and the UK.
Terry holds a first class B.Sc. in Civil Engineering, with Honours, from Middlesex University, England. In December 2011, he was awarded the Honorary Doctor of Christian Ministries degree from Belhaven University “for extraordinary work and achievements in promoting Christianity throughout the Middle East and North Africa.”
He and his wife Jacqueline live in Nicosia, Cyprus and have three grown children and two grandchildren.
Rita El Mounayer
Executive Director, SAT-7 ARABIC and SAT-7 KIDS
Rita began her media career as a radio host and producer with Far Eastern Broadcasting Associates radio in 1992. She joined SAT-7 in 1995, before it had broadcast a single program. When the channel launched, Rita hosted its first program, Ears of Wheat (in Arabic, Assanabel). This program ran for 12 years and became one of the channel's most successful programs.
Initially serving as host and producer, Rita's role soon expanded to programming director for all children's programs on SAT-7. In 2004, she also became programming director for all of the Arabic programs at SAT-7. Then, with the launch of SAT-7 KIDS in 2007, her dream of launching the first independent, Arabic Christian channel for children became a reality. In 2008, Rita was named executive director for SAT-7 ARABIC and SAT-7 KIDS, followed by SAT-7 PLUS in 2010.
Rita also plays a key role in mentoring new TV producers and continues to host two programs -- Bedtime Stories, a children's program, and My Story, a live talk show.
Born in Lebanon, Rita lived through the violence of the Lebanese Civil War as a young girl. During that time, she and her sister found refuge, from the horrors going on around them, in television cartoons. She hoped someday to become involved in media to bring joy to children -- just as cartoons had done for her -- while broadcasting hope in Christ.
Rita first served SAT-7 in Lebanon, and since 2005, she has served SAT-7 in Cyprus. Rita holds an M.A. in communications from Cardiff University, Wales.
Rev. Mansour Khajehpour
Executive Director, SAT-7 PARS
Mansour comes to SAT-7 with a background in both business and ministry. He was born in Mash’had, Iran and in 1981 God used three Catholic nuns to ignite a fire in Mansour’s heart that turned him into a passionate follower of Jesus Christ.
In 1991, Mansour received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Tehran University. While studying there, he became a member and, later, an elected Elder of St. Peter’s Presbyterian Church in Tehran. Also while at Tehran University, he participated in the Certificate Program of the Board of Christian Education of the Presbyterian Church of Iran. This three-year program equipped him for teaching and preaching as a youth leader of the church.
In 1996, following a period of imprisonment and ongoing harassment, the Khajehpours discerned it was time to leave their home in Iran and relocate. They moved to the United States in 1997, where Mansour took up employment in the banking sector. In 2002, Mansour entered the ministry on a full-time basis and has been serving in different pastoral capacities, both among congregations of expatriate Iranians and local Americans - most recently in Seattle, WA.
In 2008, Mansour graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary where he received his Master of Divinity.
Mansour joins SAT-7 PARS recognizing the tremendous importance of the media, and television ministry in particular. In his own words, “Such a tool, in God’s hands, can both make the Gospel available to millions as well as lift up and encourage the many new believers across the Persian-speaking world.” Click here to find out more.
Executive Director, SAT-7 TÜRK
Melih Ekener is a renowned figure in the Turkish media industry. After studying at the State Conservatory in 1980, Melih was the principal performer in the Turkish private theater, "Kenterler." He later worked for the American company, "Fremantle," as writer, producer, executive producer, and senior creative executive producer.
Melih participated in the founding of KANAL 6, one of the first Turkish private television channels. Over the course of his career, he has filmed 8 movies, acted in many serials, and was among the most-listened-to national radio broadcasters in Turkey for 14 years.
Joining SAT-7 in 2012 was a major transition from a secular career to ministry. Melih sees the career change as part of God's plan to use him in ministry, and says: "I hope that my political and professional contacts will carry SAT-7 TÜRK to the place it merits...Now I am excited, because I will be able to transmit the Truth of Christianity by my knowledge and experiences."