SOAS University of London

Centre for Global Media and Communications

Rima Merhi

BA (Distinction), American University of Beirut. MLA (Journalism), Harvard. Postgraduate studies, Political Science (international affairs), AUB. MBA, Lebanese American University
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Rima Merhi
Rima Merhi
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Thesis title:
News Framing in Times of Crisis: Media Representations of Palestinian Refugees in Nahr el-Bared Battle, 2007


Research interests include the role of the media in democracy, development, human rights, and cross-cultural communications, particularly between the Arab world and the West.Diverse professional experience in the fields of human rights, international affairs, media and journalism: First Lebanese recipient of the Gebran Tueini human rights fellowship at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, and former program consultant for the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research at Harvard School of Public Health, established in collaboration with the Executive Office of the United Nations Secretary-General.  Diverse research experiences, including research at a leading think tank in Washington DC for a senior advisor on the Middle East to the American government and General Assembly of the United Nations.  Senior level communications experience with the UN in the Prime Minister's Office in Lebanon, including participation in Ad Hoc communications team presided by the Prime Minister in a crisis situation. Researcher, human rights activist, and freelance journalist with publications in leading Arabic and English newspapers, media outlets and research institutions, including Independent, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe, Harvard Crimson, Daily Star, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Al-Arabiya, BBC, and Washington based Middle East Institute amongst others. Public speaking experiences range from leading media (including BBC and CNN), to numerous international conferences, and a testimony in congress. Background as a widely travelled minority woman from the Middle East, born in one of the poorest countries in Africa to a non-political Lebanese family who lived in various countries.  

Postgraduate degrees and education in international affairs, journalism, and management from America and the Middle East, with extensive human rights training and education, including an intensive training program with formal knowledge of international human rights law at Oxford in the UK.  

PhD Research

The PhD dissertation is on news framing in times of crisis, taking Nahr el Bared battle (2007) as a case study.  This is the first battle to take place in a Palestinian camp in Lebanon after the end of the Lebanese civil war in 1990. It involves a comparative news analysis of leading Arabic newspapers within a complex media landscape. In general, the research borders on the Arab Israeli conflict, the plight of Palestinian refugees and abysmal situation of the camps in Lebanon, Lebanese-Palestinian relations, as well as the history of news framing in times of crisis in the region. More specifically, it assesses the role of the media in the battle of Nahr el Bared (2007), and examines media discourses of power, propaganda models, news coverage of war and terrorism, and representations of marginalized communities, within the context of a deeply rooted and protracted conflict in Lebanon and the region.


Participation in numerous projects, workshops and conferences on human rights, development, security, international affairs, and education through the UN, European Union, Rockefeller Foundation, and German Council of Foreign Relations amongst others.

Organizer of several events, seminars, and a course for Harvard students which took place in the Middle East, in collaboration with the Middle East Institute and the Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research program at Harvard.