Journalist Alia Malek Presents “The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria”


Syrian-American Alia Malek will speak at Harford Community College about her experiences working as a journalist in Syria during the early years of the Civil War. She will appear on March 5, 12:30-1:30 PM, in Edgewood Hall, Room 132. Malek’s book, The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria, will be available for purchase, and a book signing will follow the presentation.

Her reportage has appeared in The New York Times, Foreign Policy,, The Nation, The Christian Science Monitor, Jadaliyya, McSweeney’s, Guernica and other publications. She currently directs the International Reporting Concentration at the Newmark School for Journalism at CUNY.

Born in Baltimore to Syrian immigrant parents, she began her legal career as a trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. After working in the legal field in the U.S., Lebanon, and the West Bank, Malek, who holds degrees from Johns Hopkins and Georgetown universities, earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

In April 2011, she moved to Damascus, Syria and wrote anonymously for several outlets from inside the country as it began to disintegrate. Her reporting from Syria earned her the Marie Colvin Award in November 2013.

She returned to the U.S. in May 2013 for the launch of Al Jazeera America, where she was Senior Writer until October 2015. After her departure, she was a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute and in residence at the MacDowell Colony.

In November 2016, she was honored with the 12th annual Hiett Prize in the Humanities. The New York Foundation for the Arts named her a fellow in Nonfiction Literature in the summer of 2017.

She is the author of A Country Called Amreeka: US History Re-Told Through Arab American Lives and editor of Patriot Acts: Narratives of Post 9/11 Injustices.  With collaborators the Magnum Foundation and Al Liquidoi, Alia edited and co-conceived EUROPA أوروپا  : An Illustrated Introduction to Europe for Migrants and Refugees.

The program is presented by Harford Community College’s Cultural Diversity Committee as part of its Country of Focus program, which highlights a different country, its culture, history, and politics, each academic year.

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