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Rand El Zein

American University of Beirut, Lebanon

Rand El Zein is a 22 year-old Lebanese graduate student majoring in Media Studies at the American University of Beirut. Rand was brought up in Beirut, the city of contrast. Rand believes Beirut has closely collided with her personality and upbringing. She was born and raised in a place that coincides love and war, refugees and snobs, extreme poverty and flamboyant wealth, as well as, bohemian lifestyles and fundamentalist norms. One of the most tragic experiences she in Beirut was the Israeli-Hezbollah war in 2006 that struck Lebanon, unannounced, during the month of July. She and her family had to desert their home, as they previously been residing in a strictly Shi'te area in the north suburbs of Beirut. She describes her memories of the war as short glimpses of herself lying on a yellow mattress trying to catch some sleep, while her step-father is sitting in front of the television, watching the live war coverage on Al-Jazeera Arabia. Rand believes the summer war -precisely the media war of July 2006 - was one of the most significant conflicts that strived her ambitions to join the media communication discourse. She personally encourages media literacy among Lebanese citizens. As she believes it's a significant competence for hindering the political and sectarian tensions within Lebanese society. Professionally, she aims on pursuing her thesis topic on the roles of traditional and contemporary media towards Arab women empowerment.