As a journalist with well over fifteen years experience in the Middle East, I know the history of the region, how it impacts current events and how social and cultural conditions shape today’s news.
Born in New Zealand, I grew up in Australia and was schooled there, but I am the daughter of Lebanese immigrants. I traveled to Beirut during its civil war for family vacations. Even in war, there was life in Beirut, a childhood lesson that guides my work.
I am a print and television journalist, fluent in Arabic. I’ve been honored with more than half a dozen journalism awards including the 2015 Michael Kelly Award, the 2014 George Polk Award for Foreign Reporting, and the 2013 Kurt Schork Award in International Journalism. My first documentary, Syria: Behind Rebel Lines, won a Canadian Screen Award. Shortlisted for more than a dozen other international accolades, including thrice a finalist for the Bayeux-Calvados Award for War Correspondents and twice for the One World Media International Journalist of the Year, I have received fellowships from the European Council on Foreign Relations (twice), New America, and the Ochberg at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. I am a class of 2020 Nieman fellow at Harvard University.
I was invited to writing residencies at Yaddo and the Carey Institute’s non-fiction program, both in New York, to work on my first book, No Turning Back. Life, Loss, and Hope in Wartime Syria. The book won the prestigious Overseas Press Club of America’s Cornelius Ryan Award for the best non-fiction book on international affairs, and was a finalist for both the Lionel Gelber Prize and NYPL’s Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism, among other honors, including being selected as a NYT Notable Book of 2018 and a Financial Times’ Best Book of 2018. It was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize, given to a work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry that invokes “the spirit of a place.”
I have written for TIME, the New Yorker, Foreign Affairs, National Geographic, Foreign Policy, Politico, The Guardian, the Los Angeles Times, The Australian, CSM, and a host of other publications, and have appeared on France 24, BBC, CBC, CBS, PBS, Al-Jazeera and Channel 4 to name a few television and radio outlets. I have given talks and participated in panel discussions at Princeton, New America, John Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies, Harvard University and many other institutions in the US and Europe.