Posted by Arab American Institute on June 25, 2015 in Blog

Hoda_Kotb.jpgAmericans love nothing more than morning news shows, and Hoda Kotb is a star on one of the nation’s finest. Born to Egyptian parents, Kotb is a hero to many Americans, and not just because of the charming smile that greets us each morning. Hoda’s fearless battle with – and victory over – breast cancer has captivated people across the country.

Hoda Kotb was born in a small Oklahoman town, though she considers herself a true West Virginian, having spent most of her childhood in Morgantown. But Hoda has never forgotten her Egyptian roots, and has nothing but love for Arab culture. Having spent a good portion of her working life in Egypt, she once labeled the society as “very gentle.” Hoda described the welcoming culture of the Arab world during one of her shows, remarking that if a person were to drop a basket of oranges in the street, five people would immediately assemble to help pick them off of the ground.

After receiving a B.A. in broadcast journalism from Virginia Tech, Kotb took her first professional job as a CBS news assistant in Egypt, and lived for a year with her family in Cairo. Kotb continued in the field of broadcast journalism, and despite facing hurdles as a young Arab American reporter, she would go on to have an extremely illustrious and successful career at NBC, where she has been since 1992. Kotb currently hosts the Today Show’s fourth hour alongside Kathie Lee Gifford, while she has also worked as a correspondent on the popular television program Dateline NBC.

In 2010 Hoda was graced with a Daytime Emmy award alongside her team at the Today Show, and she has been nominated three other times for the prestigious honor. Kotb has received a multitude of additional journalistic awards, including the Edward R. Murrow Award, the Gracie Award, the Headliner Award, the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award, and the distinguished Peabody in 2006 for her Dateline NBC report, “The Education of Ms. Groves.”

In 2007, Kotb publically revealed that she had been battling breast cancer, and despite this incredibly difficult setback – which included a mastectomy the same year – she persevered with characteristic determination. When describing the seemingly nightmarish situation, Kotb remarked that cancer “gave [her] the gift of being fearless. What I get from this whole horrible ordeal is ‘you can’t scare me.’” Hoda has been a prominent advocate for breast cancer awareness ever since, tirelessly striving to help find a cure for the disease.

Kotb’s 2010 New York Times bestseller, Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee, has been an inspiration to people everywhere. In 2013, Kotb came out with her second book, Ten Years Later: Six People Who Faced Adversity and Transformed Their Lives, which tells remarkable stories of human resolve in the face of hardship. Kotb also posts inspirational quotes on her Twitter feed each and every day.

Fans of Hoda are far and wide, and are delighted that in addition to the Today Show, she has launched an all new new radio show on Sirius XM, where she addresses topics mainly related to American pop-culture. Hoda, though, is much more than a television and radio personality, as she has used her fame and incredible story as a tool to help individuals going through difficult times in their lives.

Read more stories about Arab immigrants and their descendants on the "Together We Came" main page.