As the first Lebanese recipient of the Gibran Tueni human rights fellowship at
Harvard, I salute all the martyrs Lebanon lost in their struggle for
independence, democracy and freedom.
An exceptional and distinguished journalist, president and CEO
of “Annahar”, Member of
Parliament, and a pioneer in the Cedar Revolution that ended 29 years of Syrian
military presence in Lebanon, Tueni was assassinated on December 12, 2005, following
his call for a UN investigation into the killing of Premier Hariri.
This human rights fellowship at Harvard was given the name
of Gibran Tueni to symbolize the price of
democracy, freedom of the press, solidarity between Christians and Muslims, and faith
in the youth’s ability to build a better future for the region.
The program is funded by the Hariri
Foundation — an independent non-profit foundation that is widely reputed for its
philanthropy, investment in education, and support for development projects in Lebanon.
I would like to sincerely thank the Hariri Foundation for funding this fellowship, and
thank Annahar for endowing the program with Gibran’s name. It is a big honor and
responsibility to carry Gibran’s name for the rest of my life.
About Rima Merhi
Rima Merhi is a researcher, human rights activist, and freelance journalist with publications in leading newspapers and other media outlets, including BBC, Washington Post, Independent, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, Harvard Crimson, Daily Star, Sharq Awsat, Annahar, Middle East Institute and others. She recently conducted research at the Library of Congress in Washington DC, and the Middle East Institute, where she conducted research for a former advisor to the US Mission on Middle East issues before the Security Council and General Assembly. Rima holds a BA in public administration (with distinction) from the American University of Beirut, and has completed all course requirements for an MA in political science (with over 90 cumulative average and an emphasis in international affairs) from the American University of Beirut. Rima also holds an MBA (G.P.A 4.0) from the Lebanese American University. She began her career as a banker and worked for two years in HSBC bank, focusing on investment banking and the stock market. After the assassination of Premier Hariri outside HSBC, Rima led an inter-sectarian youth project initiated by the European Commission, and testified before the U.S. Congress on youth aspirations for political, economic, and social reform in Lebanon. Rima then worked for the UN to improve the humanitarian situation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and participated in the media and relief committees presided by the Lebanese Prime Minister to manage the crisis at Nahr el Bared Palestinian camp in May 2007. Rima acquired human rights education and training at Oxford and holds numerous certificates related to the field of human rights. Rima was interviewed numerous times by leading media, including CNN and BBC. At Harvard, Rima began writing a memoir, and the first chapter of her book was edited by the senior writer for the president of Harvard. Rima will be awarded a master degree in journalism. Before the age of thirty, Rima had lived and/or studied in four continents, including Africa, Europe, Middle East, and America. Rima was born in Africa, and belongs to a minority group in Lebanon.
More about Rima Merhi's work as a Fellow