New presenters for BBC World Service series, The Conversation

Ella Al-Shamahi and Datshiane Navanayagam are the new hosts of the BBC World Service’s The Conversation.

The Conversation features women in different counties sharing their personal experiences and insights, from what it’s like to be a woman in the music industry, to promoting women’s rights through sport, or working with local communities to fight climate change.

In the latest series, Ella meets two women taking part in the Dakar race, an off-road endurance rally, which since its inception in 1978 only one woman has won. Meanwhile, Datshiane speaks to two women from East Timor and Finland who are fighting to eradicate homelessness.

Ella Al-Shamahi is an explorer, palaeoanthropologist, evolutionary biologist and stand-up comic who has fronted science and archaeology programmes on the BBC and beyond.

Datshiane Navanayagam is an award-winning investigative journalist and broadcaster, who reports for BBC One’s Countryfile and has fronted investigations for BBC Panorama, ITV’s Tonight, and Channel 4’s Dispatches and Unreported World.  She also regularly reports for Radio 4’s File on 4, and has guest-presented Weekend Breakfast on BBC Radio 5 Live, and BBC Radio 4’s The Media Show.

Datshiane Navanayagam, says: “It’s a delight and a privilege to present The Conversation. Every woman has a story to tell and The Conversation is a real gem on the World Service, celebrating the experiences, achievements and wisdom of women.

“Where else do you have the space for women, from around the world, to talk intimately and candidly to one another about the hurdles and barriers that many of us face in all their nuances?

“While the world is still a hostile and volatile place for many women and girls, ‘The Conversation’ champions women’s stories, proving that no woman has an ordinary life and that all of us have something to learn from each other.”

Ella Al-Shamahi, says: “Every week on this show the listeners get to meet two exceptional women, often strangers, but who share an expertise – from malaria specialists, to race car drivers and everything in between – and we get to listen in on them having a conversation.

“To be asked to host and facilitate these conversations is incredible and to be around so many amazing women – what a dream. For over 20 years I’ve been fascinated with this interview style and now, to be doing ‘THE Conversation’ with the one and only BBC World Service – pinch me.”

Gwenan Roberts, BBC World Service Commissioning Editor adds: “The Conversation has grown a trusted reputation for bringing listeners the voices of inspiring women doing extraordinary things in different parts of the world. The series continues with this fantastic presenting duo, we are so pleased to have Ella and Datshiane on board.”