To create a global community where we are our own megaphone. A community where we can turn up the volume on those voices that need to be heard, stories that need to be remembered, experienced that need to be shared.
I am a former senior international correspondent with CNN. I’ve been all over the world with the network, and parting ways after 17 years at CNN was both tough and exhilarating. I left the network in June 2022 to pursue other forms of storytelling (I’m working on a documentary) and just see where my “crazy” brain spin ideas would land me. This is one of them.
Throughout the course of my life, personal and professional I’ve met people whose stories have moved and galvanized me. Some because of the hardships they face, some because of the extraordinary strength they’ve portrayed, and some because they are just awesome. At times a story has resonated with me, but it just didn’t fit into what would “make air”. Or the media focus had moved away. This is not a criticism of the TV news or other media, but rather a recognition that so many of us have stories to tell, we just need a different space to tell them. So I decided to try to create that space.
As journalists some of us often say or are often described as giving voice to the voiceless. I get the intent behind that categorization, but I’ve never found it to be accurate. What media outlets do is give those voices a platform, but its finite, sometimes it ends after a day cycle, sometimes months, sometimes longer. But it ends. The suffering and the struggle most often do not. I see this every day in my work as a journalist and I’m even more aware of it through my charity INARA (www.inara.org) that I founded in 2014.
I hope to see it grow into a space where those voices that have “fallen away” or perhaps were never heard can exist and be amplified. If nothing than to serve as a reminder that they are still there.
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I’m an advocacy expert currently working for the International Network for Aid, Relief and Assistance – INARA as a Communications Manager.
In 1998 I was detained by the secret services over a comment i made in public, two months later I was detained again for an article I wrote at a student bulletin, the officer counted the lines and condemned me to receive an equal number of slaps and kicks. Later that year internet became available in Lebanon and to me it was like magic! They say “necessity is the mother of all inventions”, with barely zero knowledge in coding I started a page where I used to post anonymously creating a safety net and hiding behind the pseudo name “Trella”, little did I know that few years later such pages will be called blogs and it will become the next big thing.
I’ve used the blog to document and expose violations of human rights in Lebanon and to my surprise people started to interact and lobby against violations, and out of simple requests for information i used to post, I figured a golden equation! Message > Carrier > Platform & Internet > Call to action > Change! and that changed everything, my political awareness, my life, my career and my dreams.
I was recognized by Foreign Policy Magazine as one of 7 most influential figures online in the Middle East, Nominated twice for the Deutsche Welle – Reporters Without Boarders BoBs Award and the Brass Crescent Award.
After graduation I dropped out of medical school and went “cause hunting”, I got a diploma in advocacy and as an advocacy expert I have roamed conflict zones around the world starting with Burkina Faso, Egypt, Tunisia, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya.
I have worked for the United Nations, Greenpeace, Institute for War and Peace Reporting, the Sustainable Democracy Center and several Television networks where I always ended up taken off-air.
In 2019 I joined INARA, this is where I met Arwa Damon, between her brain spins and my lines of code AVA was born.
This is a space to amplify the voices so we can keep changing the world… one MB at a time.