Readings from Tales of a Tour Guide (With Ronnie Chatah)

November 14, 2017 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
CLA 0.112
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Ronnie Chatah is a current Master of Science candidate in literature and creative writing at the University of Edinburgh. His previous degrees include a Master of Arts in Middle East Studies from the American University of Beirut and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Psychology from George Mason University.

Ronnie conducted a history and political walking tour of Beirut called WalkBeirut (see link below), which ran from 2009 – 2013. The tour was featured in The Wall Street Journal, Voice of America and BBC Radio 4 (see links below), and navigated Beirut’s recent past while unraveling more complicated episodes – including Lebanon’s civil war – through storytelling. The tour remained popular among tourists and Lebanese alike, and functioned as the only walking tour of Beirut during those years.

WalkBeirut was brought to a halt when Ronnie’s father, Mohamad Chatah – a career diplomat, International Monetary Fund senior official, Lebanese finance minister and senior advisor to former prime minister Fouad Seniora and Saad Hariri – was assassinated in a car bombing in Beirut on December 27, 2013. Ronnie left Lebanon in the immediate aftermath, and decided to pursue his father’s legacy in print. The culmination of that work is a manuscript currently under review, titled ‘Tales of a Tour Guide’.

Ronnie was interviewed by BBC’s Kim Ghattas (see link below) about coping with his father’s murder while gauging its impact on local and regional politics. He was also interviewed by Lebanese-Canadian professor Gad Saad in his chat series ‘The Saad Truth’ (see link below) on the assassination’s implications as well as other security issues affecting Lebanon.

Currently traveling in the US, Ronnie is scheduled to give several readings from ‘Tales of a Tour Guide’ and attend panel discussions on topics related to Lebanese affairs.



WalkBeirut website:


The Wall Street Journal feature:


Voice of America feature:


BBC Radio 4:


Interview with Kim Ghattas, BBC World:


Interview with Gad Saad, Concordia University:


Sponsored by: the Arabic Flagship Program

More information: Department of Middle Eastern Studies