About myself

I am an award winning teacher and an Assistant Professor of Communication studies at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. I also hold the position of a research fellow at the Media & Communication Department of Erasmus University in the Netherlands, and I am  a senior research fellow in Middle Eastern and Islamic studies at the Universities of Leiden and McGill and a founding member of the Media & Digital Literacy Academy in Beirut. I am also a senior research affiliate at the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security, and Society.

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 which involved addressing local and international media as well as representing the ICRC in official meetings. This was the first time a local staff member was allowed by the ICRC in Iraq to conduct interviews with the media (some of the interviews can be found on this webpage). I was also among 20 core staff members chosen to continuously work during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Trying to meet the humanitarian needs of civilians during and after the war is still one the proud achievements of my life especially that I faced numerous life threatening experiences during that time. I wrote many investigative reports on the humanitarian situation in Iraq for the ICRC 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 correspondent 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 as a freelance journalist for CNN Arabic bureau in Dubai during which I produced several news reports on Iraq for its website that can be found here.

In September 2006, I began my academic career when I started teaching in the Sultanate of Oman. After less than two years, I applied to study for a second Ph.D. in media and communication and got enrolled in late 2008 in a Ph.D. program at Leicester University in the UK under the supervision of Professor Barrie Gunter. The Communication and media department at Leicester University is one of the oldest and most established programs in the UK. Shortly before finalizing my viva, I joined the Communication Department at Erasmus University (EUR) in the Netherlands. EUR ranks among the top 100 universities in the world and its communication program is among the top 50 globally. After staying there for three years and serving as an Assistant Professor, I left and settled in Canada.

In terms of research, I have published 50+ papers and book chapters. My research interests are focused on social media and global communication as well as popular culture. I have some main research contributions such as news organizations 2.0, online religion, and Iraqi media. One of my research studies on news values and social media which was published in the journal of Journalism has been among the top 10 most read articles in the field of media and communication in the year 2016.

I have published several empirical studies on the Arab Spring in Bahrain, Syria, Oman, and Iraq as well as on women’s social movements, news on social media, and Jihad 3.0. Most of these studies appeared in top ISI ranked journals in their respective fields like Information, Communication & Society, Public Relations Review, Terrorism & Political Violence, Social Science Computer Review, and Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. Also, I have been an editorial board member in the Journal of Popular Culture since 2009, reviewing 20+ papers for this journal. I have also blind reviewed research papers for 30+ academic journals in different disciplines.

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