Abed E. Younis passed away in Saipan on April 18, at the age of 83.
Originally born in Israel, Younis was the founder and first publisher of Younis Art Studio Inc., which does business as the Marianas Variety News & Views. The Variety began publishing in Saipan on March 16, 1972.
Other publications – the Palau Horizon began publishing in Koror in August 1998 and the Guam Variety in February 1999.
In an interview on the Variety’s 30th anniversary, Younis told Guam Business Magazine that his goal was to establish “a reliable, independent source of news for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the region. The success of Marianas Variety prompted us to offer quality news coverage on other islands as well,” he said.
As to broadening coverage into the other islands, Younis said, “We would like to serve as a regional link and promote awareness of current, important issues between island governments and communities.”
In 2002, the Marianas Variety had risen to a readership of 20,000; a readership of 10,000 for the Guam Variety and 8,000 for the weekly Palau Horizon. The Horizon closed in 2010, due to economic challenges at the time.
Younis did not shy away from controversy and would sometimes have contentious relationships with government and the business establishment. “We present facts,” he said.
Other challenges were with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (known as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today), when Younis wanted to bring in skilled operators of new press machines he had invested in, to the tune of $5 million.
Many of the journalists that he originally brought to the region are still active in the media profession today. Marvic Cagurangan is now the publisher of Pacific Island Times in Guam, Gerry Partido is the digital and social media editor for the Pacific News Center in Guam. Several of the Younis children have held or hold top management positions at the Art Studio publications. Guam Times LLC – a Core Tech subsidiary – purchased the Guam Variety in February 2015.
Bernadette H. Carreon is the Journal’s correspondent in Palau.
She was hired for the Palau Horizon in 2001. “It’s truly a sad day,” she said of the passing of Younis. “He changed the landscape of journalism in Micronesia. … I am forever grateful for the opportunity. I learned a lot from him.”
In 2016, Younis opened the Caravan of Food restaurant in Saipan, which he drew on his background to run.
Younis is survived by his former wife, Maria Paz Tudela Castro, and six children —Banny, Laila, Amier, Farah, Suaad, and Salam.