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: http://www.bebeirut.org/walk.html
The Wall Street Journal feature: https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703440604575495354276085846
Voice of America feature: http://newsvideo.su/video/3430608
BBC Radio 4: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01j2bml
Interview with Kim Ghattas, BBC World: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01s60ww
Interview with Gad Saad, Concordia University: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gq7vsqUuByU
Sponsored by: the Arabic Flagship Program
More information: Department of Middle Eastern Studies