Covid, Conflict & Corruption

Covid,Conflict &Corruption

in the Middle East

Book Your Place

Covid, Conflict & Corruption in the Middle East

In this virtual panel chaired by the BBC’s Chief International Correspondent, Lyse Doucet, we present a conversation full of insights and stories from Lebanon, Syria, and beyond about how women, families and vulnerable communities are coping in the face of multiple crises.

This is a fundraising event and all money raised from the evening will go equally towards the work of the Marie Colvin Journalists’ Network (MCJN) and the Hands Up Foundation.

August’s devastating explosion in Beirut brought to a head the fury and helplessness felt by many people in the Middle East. COVID-19, protests and collapsing economies from Syria, to Iraq and Lebanon, present unparalleled challenges; how do you feed your family, hold on to your job, educate yourself and your children, while staying healthy and safe? Yet consistently there are stories of hope and resilience from people who deal with unimaginable difficulties head-on. Join us on the 7th October to hear from some of the women on the front line of reporting and response.


We expect the conversation to take 1 hour and 15 minutes, with:

  • An introduction from representatives of the Marie Colvin Journalists’ Network and Hands Up
  • A conversation between the panellists, chaired by Lyse Doucet
  • A Q&A session where guests can submit their questions to the panel

The panel will include:

Lyse Doucet (Chair)
Canadian-born Lyse Doucet is the BBC’s award-winning Chief International Correspondent and BBC World TV presenter. She has covered the Middle East and beyond for more than 30 years, with postings in Amman, Jerusalem, Tehran, Islamabad, Kabul and Abidjan. In 1999, she joined the BBC’s team of presenters. Lyse has been awarded honorary doctorates from leading British and Canadian universities, was awarded an OBE in 2014 for her services to broadcasting, and the Order of Canada in 2019.

Maya Gebeily
Maya Gebeily is a reporter with Agence France-Presse in Baghdad, where she has covered Iraqi politics, security, economics, and societal developments since 2018. She spent five years based in Beirut reporting on the Syrian conflict and Lebanon for various local and international outlets. In her various posts, she has focused on stories that highlight the agency, resilience and determination of women and girls.

Dr Zahera Harb
Dr Zahera Harb is Director of MA International Journalism and MA Media and Globalisation (Erasmus Mundus) at City, University of London and is a MCJN mentor. Her many publications on journalism and politics include an edited collection titled ‘Reporting the Middle East: The Practice of News in the Twenty-First Century’ (IB Tauris 2017). She is co-editor of the Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication and associate editor of the internationally renowned academic journal, Journalism Practice. Zahera sits on MCJN’s steering committee, as well as the boards of the Ethical Journalism Network, Dart Centre Europe, and Thomson Foundation’s consultancy board. Previously, she was a broadcast journalist in her native country Lebanon, where she worked for local and international news organisations. She was in Beirut at the time of the August explosion and is recovering from her injuries.

Waad al-Kateab
Waad is an award-winning Syrian filmmaker and a MCJN mentor. She became a citizen journalist in 2011 after protests broke out across Syria against the Assad regime, and in January 2016 she began documenting the horrors of Aleppo for Channel 4 News in a series titled, ‘Inside Aleppo’. Waad’s first feature documentary, For Sama, documented her life over five years in Aleppo. The film, directed with Edward Watts, received worldwide critical acclaim, winning numerous awards, including the Prix L’Œil d’or for best documentary at Cannes Film Festival, Best Documentary at the BAFTAs and a nomination for Best Documentary Feature at the 2020 Academy Awards. After fleeing Aleppo in December 2016, Waad, her husband, and their two daughters now reside in London, UK. Waad continues to work with Channel 4 News and dedicates time to her advocacy campaign, Action For Sama.

Dr Rouba Mhaissen
Rouba is a Syrian-Lebanese economist, activist and development practitioner who works on development issues in the MENA region, particularly forced migration and the Syrian refugee crisis. She is the founder and director of Sawa for Development and Aid, a civil society organisation supporting Syrian refugees in Lebanon and the internally displaced in Syria, and Sawa Foundation UK, supporting forced migrants in Europe and the Middle East. As well as a BA in Economics, Rouba has an MSc in Development from the London School of Economics and an MPhil/PhD in Gender and Economic Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies. She is the recipient of numerous awards relating to her work; these include the FCO Marsh Award for Peacemaking and Peacekeeping (2016), and the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for Policy and Law (2017), as well as the Rafto Prize for Human Rights (2019).

If you are unable to attend but would like to support the Marie Colvin Journalists’ Network and the Hands Up Foundation, you can donate instead of buying a ticket.