Journalism Opportunity: The Launch of a Middle East Online Magazine

I have an idea to launch a student-led online magazine that focuses on the stories of women from the MENA region and lies at the intersection of politics, feminism, art, and culture. But I need your help.

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Hi to anyone reading this 😊

This summer I researched the militarization of law enforcement in the Middle East, looking at how (1) militaries have taken over law enforcement responsibilities and (2) how the police have become more militarized. Specifically, I documented the consequences of this process on human rights abuses - and unsurprisingly, many of the people directly affected are women. 

Throughout my research, I always felt like what I was reading was deeply personal. My mom is Iraqi, and my grandparents were forced to leave their home in Iraq, eventually making their way to Israel. Although I lived most of my life in New York, my identity and culture will always be tied to the experience of my mom and grandma. Last semester and this summer I researched and read the stories of many women from across the Middle East, including (but not limited to!!) Palestinians, Yazidis, Kurds, Mizrahi Jews, and  Armenians. I was intrigued and daunted by how much I didn't know. I realized how too often the media labels the Middle East as "complicated," and too often the voices of women are overcome with stories of violence and terror.

That’s when I started developing an idea for an approachable blog/online magazine that focuses on empowering women from the Middle East and from other Middle Eastern communities around the world. The magazine lies at the intersection of journalism and academia, and we would publish content that focuses on politics, culture, art, and identity. Our articles would be written by students, informed by academics, based on stories of real people. We will offer nuance and authenticity while not shying away from political issues. 

I took the time to research journals and blogs from the Middle East, and while there are many, I couldn’t seem to find one that focuses exclusively on empowering women voices while also being approachable. Many of the academic journals are impressive (check out the Baker Institute journal and another published by Duke University Press), but I would want to create articles that are both scholarly and journalistic by nature, and also extend our platform to social media. I could see there being interviews of middle-eastern based artists or creators, students, or perhaps social justice activists. I could see writers interviewing family members who immigrated from a country in the MENA region who can tell their story. I could see historical "deep-dive" articles of the role of women in specific communities, and interviewing Professors from around the world who specialize in gender/middle east studies. 

Part of the goal of being a Laidlaw Scholar is to develop leadership skills. Throughout the summer, while I’ve enjoyed my research, I always felt like I should be doing more. More importantly, I wanted to talk to people and hear their stories. It felt off-putting to be sitting in my bedroom, so removed from the things I was reading about. 

As you can see, this is only the start of an idea. There are many, many details that still need to be established and specified. There are also endless possibilities to what we can create. 

If you have an interest in any of the following, then this just might be the project you’ve been waiting for. 

(1) Journalism - you have a passion for storytelling and interviewing 📝 ✨

(2) Research - you love to research niche topics and dig through books at the library or online sources ✍️

(3) Start-up culture - having the ability to create something from scratch, and see it grow ⚡ 

(4) Marketing and Branding - you want to develop a brand and grow an audience on social media; develop graphics and engaging content that is meaningful and informative📱

(5) You are passionate about - Middle Eastern politics, Human Rights, Feminism, Art, Culture, etc. 💭

Please feel free to reach out to me either on this network or via my email, Even if you have a friend who you think might be interested, please pass along this message! Part of this project idea would be to form a community - internationally. Thank you!

Ainav Rabinowitz

Laidlaw Undergraduate Scholar, Cornell University

Hi! My name is Ainav Rabinowitz, and I’m a rising Junior at Cornell University. I’m planning to double-major in Government and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and minor in Near Eastern Studies and Public Policy. My research project investigates the militarization of law enforcement in the Middle East, analyzing the way in which civilian police forces have become more militarized and the way militaries have taken on law enforcement responsibilities. My research will more specifically focus on the consequences of militarization on human rights over the past two decades, offering a broad overview of the Middle East as well as a closer analysis of 2-3 countries across the political spectrum. I will be working with Professor Flores-Macías, who focuses on the consequences of militarization in Latin America.

Feel free to reach out! Some other facts about me: I love anything art-related (I primarily create digital illustration and acrylic paintings), and also always love sharing my favorite books:)


Go to the profile of Sarina Zhou
4 months ago

That's a wonderful idea Ainav! Kudos for being so innovative and daring! I'm definitely interested in this. Now that I think about it, I don't believe I've seen anything like this before where students are leading the research and journalism on Middle Eastern studies. 

Go to the profile of Ainav Rabinowitz
4 months ago

Sarina, thanks so much! I'm so glad you're interested, I will be in touch:)