Beirut Syndrome: Lebanon's Garbage Protests and the Rise of Grassroots Media

Discussion Tue 15 Mar 2016 6.30PM-8.30PM The New School, Orozco Room (A 712)
66 West 12th Street
New York City
Free Admission. Registration requested; please RSVP at
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Beirut Syndrome is a new independent media platform offering an alternative perspective on current issues affecting Beirut and the region at large. Writers Kareem Chehayeb and Sarah Shmaitilly founded Beirut Syndrome in response to what they felt was an inadequate, political, and corporate-biased representation of Lebanon within their mainstream media. Since the website's inception in April 2015, Beirut Syndrome has been at the forefront in documenting the protest movements in Lebanon as well as highlighting other far-reaching issues such as police brutality, the abundance of NGO's in Lebanon and emerging alignments between Palestinians and Native Americans.

The discussion focuses on how Beirut Syndrome and similar independent media sources challenge traditional mainstream reporting and the struggles they face by doing so. Founders Kareem Chehayeb and Sarah Shmaitilly discuss the implications of media representation and reporting strategies in politically tense climates with filmmaker and New School professor Peter Lucas.
      • K Resource Guide For Beirut Syndrome Download - pdf (288 kB)
Kareem Chehayeb, Beirut Syndrome, co-founder, writer
Sarah Shmaitilly, Beirut Syndrome, co-founder, photographer, writer
Peter Lucas, filmmaker and New School professor, moderator

Kareem Chehayeb is a co-founder and writer for Beirut Syndrome. Chehayeb earned his Bachelor's Degree in International Relations at Boston University. He is a writer and musician and his work has been published on websites such as The Huffington Post andMiddle East Monitor. Chehayeb is also a co-founder of Books for Lebanon, a national book drive.

Peter Lucas teaches in the Graduate Program of International Affairs at The New School. He received his Ph.D. from NYU in 1996. His teaching and scholarly writing focuses on human rights with an emphasis on participatory media, documentary practice, photography, the poetics of witnessing, human rights education, and youth media. He also directs the International Field Program for Brazil. His publications include, Viva Favela: Photojournalism, Visual Inclusion, and Human Rights in Brazil and Action for Disarmament: Ten Things you Can Do on United Nations Publications. In 2012, Peter Lucas was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for his documentary film projects.

Sarah Shmaitilly is a co-founder, writer and photographer for Beirut Syndrome. She studied Psychology and Political Science at Haigazian University in Beirut, Lebanon. She is currently a program manager at a youth empowerment organization that supports disadvantaged youth across Lebanon. She co-founded Books for Lebanon.

This event is co-sponsored by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics and the Julian J. Studley Graduate Program in International Affairs. It is curated by Bianca Rogers, VLC Graduate Student Fellow, International Affairs, Media and Culture.