Dunja Hayali

Dunja Hayali (born 6 June 1974 in Datteln, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany) is a German journalist and television presenter.

Dunja Hayali
Hayali in 2013
Born (1974-06-06) 6 June 1974 (age 46)
Datteln,  Germany
Partner(s)Mareike Arning (2007–2011)

Early life and educationEdit

Hayali is the daughter of Iraqi Christians from Mosul. Her mother is Chaldean Catholic, and her father is Syrian Orthodox. Hayali herself was a Catholic and was an altar server when she was young.[1] However, she has left the church.[2] Her parents initially moved from Baghdad to Vienna to study medicine and pharmacy. At the time of Hayali's birth, her father ran his own practice in Datteln, where her mother helped out.[3] Hayali's older brother is also a doctor, and her older sister first worked as a physician's assistant and later in a hospital. In her youth, Dunja Hayali intensively pursued various sports. She played volleyball and soccer, trained judo and played tennis as a competitive sport until the age of 15.[4]

Hayali studied at the German Sport University in Cologne from 1995 to 1999, majoring in "Media and Communication."[5] During her studies, she completed internships at German radio and television stations.


After graduation, Hayali worked as a sports presenter for Deutsche Welle in Cologne and Bonn, as a freelancer for the private station Radio Cologne and as a presenter of the news program Journal on DW-TV in Berlin. Additionally, she presented some sports and news broadcasts on tv.nrw, a regional TV station in North Rhine-Westphalia that ceased operations in mid-2005.

In April 2007, Hayali became the presenter of ZDF's daily news programme heute, especially the weekday heute – in Deutschland news block and the weekend editions, and co-anchor of the Heute Journal, usually with chief anchor Steffen Seibert. Since October 2007, she has also hosted the ZDF Morning Magazine [de];[6] in October 2010 she succeeded Patricia Schäfer [de] as chief anchor of the second half of the programme, from 7 to 9 am. Her last appearance as co-host on Heute Journal was on 21 September 2010.

Among other international leaders, Hayali has interviewed Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz of Austria. In addition to her work for ZDF, she has also been a presenter at events such as the 2012 Berlin Conference on Renewable Energy, organised by the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (Bundesverband der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft).[7]

In summer 2015 and 2016, Hayali stood in for Maybrit Illner as host of the ZDF program ZDFdonnerstalk. The talk magazine was broadcast seven times in 2017 under the new title Dunja Hayali. Since July 2018, it has been broadcast once a month.

Hayali also hosted events such as the Renewable Energies Congress.[8]

Public engagementEdit

Commitment to Open DialogueEdit

In March 2017, Hayali gave an interview to the weekly newspaper Junge Freiheit.[9] In it, she pleaded for open dialogue regardless of political positions: "We must be able to put up with each other's opinions without immediately denigrating them or getting personal." She called for journalists to treat citizens with understanding and respect and vice versa. Journalists would make mistakes, but that was not yet fake news.[10] The interview led to controversial reactions. Heribert Prantl, German journalist and jurist, spoke of a mistake, since Hayali was paving the way for a new readership for the newspaper that "does not necessarily feel at home on the far right. Jan Fleischhauer, also a German journalist, countered that anyone who was not a politician did not have to worry about driving up the newspaper's circulation: "They do their thing. They ask me, I give them an answer."[11] Hayali commented on the criticism on Twitter.[12]

Commitment to children and young peopleEdit

Dunja Hayali has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the DFL Foundation, a charitable foundation dedicated to social projects since 2017.[13]

Commitment against hate speechEdit

In her speech at the awards ceremony of the Goldene Kamera award on February 6, 2016, she also addressed the hatred she has been facing for some time. She said, among other things: "In a country where freedom of expression is such a high good, everyone is allowed and must be able to express their concerns and their fears without immediately being put in the right-wing Nazi corner. However, if you make racist comments, then you are a racist, dammit." She received a standing ovation in the hall for her speech.[14]

Commitment against racism and xenophobiaEdit

Hayali is a supporter of the association Gesicht Zeigen![15] As an ambassador, she supports the initiative Respekt! Kein Platz für Rassismus.[16] In 2018, Hayali was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit on Ribbon for her commitment against racism and xenophobia.[17]

Criticism and orders from the industryEdit

Dunja Hayali was criticized because, in addition to her job as a journalist, she also moderated trade conventions for companies and events in the gambling industry. She received money from Amazon and BMW, among others. This was reported in 2018 by the media magazine Zapp from NDR.[18][19] She herself does not see this as a loss of impartiality in her critical work as a professional journalist, as it is not a matter of advertising appearances. "I often make myself available on a voluntary basis or ask to donate the intended honorarium," she emphasized. "Just as, by the way, I donate any prize money I receive through awards."[20]

Volker Lilienthal, professor of journalism, criticized that Hayali might not be able to report neutrally about her clients in the future. Furthermore, in contrast to commissioned moderations, good journalism includes being able to choose topics and interviewees oneself. The appearances were not to be regarded as journalistic services, but as PR for companies and associations in the private sector.[21]


  • 2016: Goldene Kamera in the category Best Information
  • 2016: Robert-Geisendörfer-Preis: Special jury prize for exemplary journalistic or artistic achievements
  • 2016: Order of Merit of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia[22]
  • 2016: Annemarie Renger Award of the Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund Deutschland[23]
  • 2017: Radio Regenbogen Award for Media Woman 2016
  • 2017: Theodor Heuss Medal of the Theodor Heuss Foundation
  • 2018: Benedict Prize of Mönchengladbach for value-oriented and against the background of the Christian-occidental experiences in a special way outstanding action
  • 2018: Federal Cross of Merit with Ribbon
  • 2019: „Die Blaue Zunge“
  • 2020: Tolerance Award of the Protestant Academy of Tutzing in the category Civil Courage[24]
  • 2020: Walter Lübcke Democracy Award (together with Robert Erkan and the "Mobile Counseling System against Right-Wing Extremism and Racism - for Democratic Culture in Hesse")[25]

Personal lifeEdit

Hayali has extensive tattoos on her right arm and back; these were first seen at the presentation of the Deutscher Fernsehpreis on 9 October 2010 in Cologne; on television they had always been covered.[26][27]

Hayali is lesbian;[26] in 2008 she announced that since 2007 she had been in a relationship with Mareike Arning, the vocalist of the punk-pop band Uschi's Orchester.[28] The couple separated in 2011.[29]

In February 2016, the State Court of Hamburg issued a preliminary injunction forbidding a Facebook user from making offensive hate comments on Hayali's Facebook page and setting a fine of up to 250,000 euros for any violations of the injunction.[30]


  • with Elena Senft. Is’ was, Dog? Mein Leben mit Hund und Haaren. Berlin: Ullstein, 2014, ISBN 978-3-86493-021-8; 2015, ISBN 978-3-548-37592-2 (in German).
  • Haymatland: Wie wollen wir zusammenleben?. Berlin: Ullstein, 2018 ISBN 978-3-550-20017-5


  1. ^ "Die katholische Araberin". Die Zeit (in German). 2010-04-29. Retrieved 2016-07-26.
  2. ^ "Dunja Hayalis Glaubenssuche hat Mario-Barth-Niveau". Thomas Schmoll. welt.de. 2016-05-16. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  3. ^ "Dunja Hayali" (08.10.2010). FBI zum Morgenmagazin. 2010-10-08. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  4. ^ "DUNJA HAYALI: ICH LIEBE MENSCHEN". Chantal Louis. emma.de. 2009-03-01. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  5. ^ "Bekannte Studierende und Alumni". Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  6. ^ "ZDF-Morgenmagazin: Vor der Kamera" (in German). ZDF.
  7. ^ "Programm: BDEW-Kongress 2012" (PDF) (pdf, 3.9 MB) (in German). Bundesverband der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-05-23. Retrieved 2016-07-26.
  8. ^ "BDEW Kongress 2012" (PDF). Archive.org. BDEW. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  9. ^ "„Wenn der Dialog endet, können wir alle einpacken"". Moritz Schwarz. Junge Freiheit. 2017-03-23. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  10. ^ "„Wir müssen die Meinung des anderen aushalten können"". Welt. 2017-03-23. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  11. ^ "Wirbel um Hayalis "Junge Freiheit"-Interview". Caroline Schmidt. NDR.de. 2017-04-05. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  12. ^ "Ein Besuch im „ideologischen Mutterschiff" des Rechtspopulismus". Gaby Mahlberg. Welt. 2017-03-31. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  13. ^ "DUNJA HAYALI Mitglied des Kuratoriums". DFL Stiftung. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  14. ^ "Goldene Kamera: Dunja Hayali sorgt für großen TV-Moment". news.de. 2016-02-07. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  15. ^ "Prominente Unterstützer". Gesicht Zeigen!. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  16. ^ "Botschafter - Kultur und TV Dunja Hayali". Respekt.tv. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  17. ^ "Ordensverleihung zum Verfassungstag". Bundespräsident.de. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  18. ^ "Prominent präsentiert - Hayalis Nebentätigkeiten". Robert Bongen and Sinje Stadtlich. NDR.de. 2018-08-15. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  19. ^ "Dunja Hayali will „noch selbstkritischer prüfen"". Frankfurter Allgemeine. 2018-08-20. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  20. ^ "„Das bedaure ich sehr" – Hayali rechtfertigt sich für Nebentätigkeiten". Welt. 2018-08-20. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  21. ^ "Dunja Hayali: Journalismus, Aktivismus und bezahlte PR für Glückspiel oder Big Pharma gehen zusammen". RT.com. 2018-08-17. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  22. ^ "Verleihung des Verdienstordens des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen". land.nrw.de. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  23. ^ "Dunja Hayali erhält Annemarie-Renger-Preis des ASB". Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  24. ^ "Journalistin Dunja Hayali erhält den Toleranz-Preis für Zivilcourage". Evangelische Akademie Tutzing. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  25. ^ "Dunja Hayali erhält Walter-Lübcke-Demokratie-Preis". Welt. 2020-09-22. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  26. ^ a b "Dunja Hayali, die volltätowierte ZDF-Moderatorin". Die Welt (in German). 2010-10-11. Retrieved 2016-07-26.
  27. ^ "ZDF-Moderatorin Dunja Hayali erklärt ihre Tattoos". Bild (in German). 2010-11-23.
  28. ^ "Moderatorin Dunja Hayali outet sich als lesbisch". Die Welt (in German). 2008-10-20. Retrieved 2016-07-26.
  29. ^ "Dunja Hayali und die rothaarige Punk-Rock-Sängerin getrennt". Die Welt. 2011-12-08. Retrieved 2016-07-26.
  30. ^ "Gericht: Hasskommentare gegen Dunja Hayali verboten". Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). DPA. 2016-02-09. Retrieved 2016-07-26.


External linksEdit