I was born in Summer 1985 in a village in Qalubiya, a province in the Egyptian delta, where I lived an almost reclusive life with my family until I was 17. My parents were not exactly the social type and I was almost home-schooled and of course I had plenty of time to pursue many hobbies.I acted for sometime as a child with the community center theater group which was few foots away from our house, otherwise I would have never been allowed to join. I wrote poetry and short stories since fifth grade, published my own ‘family magazine’ for several years (where I ‘professionally’ interviewed mom and dad about our summer vacation plans and criticized their everyday decisions), did a lot of reading, pottery and gardening. I then moved to Cairo to study Mass Communication at Cairo University. I spent most of my time though at another school, Economic and Political Science, and participated in the student political activities there. I worked as a Teaching Assistant for a couple of years after my graduation in 2006, where I lectured undergraduate students in Media Law and Public Opinion. On the side, I was working with Civil Society Organization on human rights research and advocacy projects, before I decided to quit academia in 2008 and focus entirely on human rights. I did graduate studies at the American University in Cairo in International Human Rights Law (2009-2011), which helped me later focus my research interests on human rights law and freedom of expression and information. I have more than 8 years of experience in the field of research, communication and project management in human rights organizations in the Middle East. I was fortunate to be be the recipient of several awards to attend study abroad programs and conduct my own research. I am an alumna of the American Council of Young Political Leaders (USA, 2005), the International Institute for Political and Economic Sciences (Greece, 2008), International Academy for Leadership (Germany, 2008), Young Leaders Visitors Program (Sweden 2008-2009), European Journalism Institute (Czech, 2009), UNESCO-CHAIR & Institute Of Comparative Human Rights Leadership forum (Rwanda, 2010 and USA, 2011) and others. I was also awarded a grant from Ford Foundation to conduct research on freedom of expression and information in 2012 in Canada.
I currently work as an independent researcher with several local and international human rights organizations and think tanks, where I conduct research on human rights law, free speech, freedom of information, transparency, open government among other related themes. I took up contemporary dancing for sometime in my mid-twenties, but I only kept committed to writing and research and gave up all the rest.
About the website
This space started as a blog where I published my thoughts, short stories and some of my poetry as well as my Egyptian Revolution of January 2011 diary and commentary. I have published here less frequent than before in the recent years, but I have decided to revisit it and try to apply some sort of a system of categorization and organizing. I read the posts from as far as 2009 and I stop to realize how much I have developed and probably, changed. There was much passion in these posts, lots of anger and sadness too.
I am trying to go back to updating this space with my recent research and publications. I also want to keep posting my poems and prose here- until the day I decide to go published on paper.
So in brief, this space is personal, includes personal observations, political commentary, and human rights research mainly on Egypt and the Middle East-but there is also poetry and prose and sometimes translation of texts I find interesting.