I am an award winning teacher and a Founding member of the Media & Digital Literacy Academy of Beirut at the Lebanese American University. I obtained two Ph.D. degrees; the first one in English literature from Baghdad University, Iraq in 2004 and the second Ph.D. in Media and Communication Research from Leicester University, the UK in 2012. I taught at various academic institutions for over a decade in the Middle East, Europe, and North America, and I supervised the studies of 10+ graduate students in the Netherlands and Canada.
I began my full time media career in 2002, by serving as a communication officer for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Iraq. I was later promoted to a senior communication officer and spokesperson which involved addressing local and international media as well as representing the ICRC in official meetings. I was also among 20 core staff members chosen to continuously work during the 2003 invasion of Iraq and was lucky to survive the attack on the ICRC headquarters in Baghdad in October 27, 2003 which was carried out with a booby trapped vehicle. I was interviewed and cited in more than 100 news stories dealing with the humanitarian situation in Iraq in 2004 and 2005 including reports by The Washington Post, The Independent, Al-Jazeera, BBC News, BBC Arabic, The Associated Press, Agence France Press, UPI…etc. I also wrote many investigative reports on the various aspects of the humanitarian situation in different parts of Iraq for the ICRC’s website and its Arabic magazine, Insani. After relocating to Jordan around 2006, I served as a Consultant for the ICRC’s head of delegation in Amman for about a year.
Before being a spokesperson for the ICRC and during my vacations, I worked in 2003-2004 as a freelance radio journalist for Pacifica Radio Network and Free Speech Radio News based in the USA during which I produced many reports and features. In another three-months break I took from the ICRC in 2005, I taught English for Special Purposes (ESP) at Skyline College in Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates. I also served for a few days as a freelance journalist for CNN Arabic bureau in Dubai during which I produced a few news reports on Iraq for its website that can be found here.
In September 2006, I started my academic career when I began teaching journalism studies and English in the Sultanate of Oman. I first served as a coordinator of the Journalism Department at Sohar University, and I served later at several other colleges and universities including as an Assistant Professor of Communication studies at Erasmus University in the Netherlands (2011-2014) and at Concordia University in Canada (2015-2018).
I am currently serving as a tenured Associate Professor of News, Social Media, and Public Communication at the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University (SFU), Canada. At SFU, I am the Director of The Disinformation Project that empirically examines fake news discourses in Canada on social media and news media. The research produced from this project was featured in more than 100 news stories including reports by the BBC, Vice, CNN, NPR, the New York Times, the Guardian, CBC, the Globe and Mail….etc (see here).
My research expertise is related to social media, news, and international communication with emphasis on Canada and the Middle East. In terms of peer reviewed publications, I have published 5 books, 2 other (co)edited books, 25+ book chapters, and more than 90 research papers. Overall, I got funding for 17 research projects mostly in Canada, and the total amount of funds that I received to cover the expenses of my research is over $750K. Currently, I serve in the editorial board of the Journal of Popular Culture (since 2009), Digital Journalism, Communication Studies, Arab Media & Society, Al-Bahith Al A’alami and I regularly blind review other journal papers. As a referee, for example, I have peer reviewed over 150 research papers submitted to more than 75 different academic journals.
As an academic, I was interviewed and cited in more than 100 news stories including local, regional and international news organizations. I also advised as well as offered expert consultancy and feedback to numerous NGOs, humanitarian and civic groups, the UN, governmental bodies, the Canadian Parliament, and non-profit organizations.