The Team

Team Members

Jessica Dheere, Co-Director

A former journalist, Jessica is co-founder and co-director at SMEX. In addition to day-to-day management of the organization, she has led the design and delivery of innovative media development programs in strategic social media, digital advocacy, and digital journalism. Currently, she researches the emerging legal framework for Internet rights in the Arab region and its contribution to the rising tensions between states, corporations, and citizens, security and human rights. She is a member of the Digital Development and Openness working group of the Freedom Online Coalition. Before launching SMEX, she worked as a magazine editor and independent journalist in New York and Lebanon, respectively. She has a master’s degree in media studies from the New School in New York City and a bachelor’s degree in art history from Princeton University. In 2014 she was a Kathryn Davis Fellow for Peace at Middlebury College’s Arabic Language School. She tweets at @jessdheere.

Mohamad_NajemMohamad Najem, Co-Director

Mohamad is an advocacy and policy director at Social Media Exchange (SMEX). He has initiated and contributed to several successful online campaigns, such as #stopthislaw and Protect Privacy, and is currently focused on bringing together knowledgeable and progressive voices to push for sound Internet governance in the Arab region. He tweets as @MoNajem and blogs for SMEX and Global Voices Advocacy. He previously worked as a fixer and translator for journalists and activists covering the aftermath of the 2006 war and as a staffer with the French NGO Architectes de l’Urgence.

2Mariam Al Shafie, Senior Project Specialist

Mariam is a senior project specialist at SMEX and leads programs with a strong training or online learning component. Previously, she worked as an online tutor and a technology trainer with Digital Opportunity Trust. She has also volunteered as an ambassador of the global youth program “A World At School.” Mariam has a master’s degree in chemistry from Beirut Arab University. Follow @mariamshaffie on Twitter.

Jad Shokor, Multimedia Manager

Jad is a multimedia manager at SMEX. He holds a BSc in Information Technology from the Arab Open University in Beirut and is an aspiring game developer. He plays electric guitar and video games. His favorite franchises include Uncharted, Grand Theft Auto, and Assassin’s Creed. You can follow @jadshokor7x on Twitter.


Afef AbrouguiAfef Abrougui, Researcher

Afef is a Tunis–based freelance journalist. She develops content for and writes about the Internet in Tunisia. Over the last year, she has been reporting on free expression issues and censorship cases in Tunisia for the Index on Censorship. She also contributes to Global Voices Online.



michael_fuchsMichael Fuchs, Researcher

Michael is currently working with SMEX on content development and data visualization with the hope of expanding his knowledge base in digital rights in the Arab region. He is completing his master’s in International Relations at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. Michael is a passionate volunteer who has worked with several NGOs throughout Europe, where he coordinated various projects focused on migrant communities.


rayane-abou-jaoudeRayane Abou Jaoude, Editor

Rayane’s passion lies in reporting, social media, and human rights advocacy, making it inevitable that she would become a supporter of SMEX. With an M.A. in English literature from the American University of Beirut, she now works in the humanitarian sector, and has previously worked in the daily star, as a freelance journalist, teacher, and Model United Nations director, as well as having volunteered with a number of NGOs.


mikepizzi-sqAlaa Sayegh, Trainer

Alaa Sayegh is an entrepreneur. In 2014, he founded, a platform that rewards users for their social activities. Through Karmit, Alaa aims to take part of re-designing the way brands communicate with their audience and help brands value users’ moments and be part of their users’ achievements. Alaa is also a trainer on social media for entrepreneurship and digital advocacy at SMEX and mentors social entrepreneurs. You can keep up with Alaa on twitter @AlaaSayeg.

Nisan AhmadoNisan Ahmado, Translator

Nisan is a translator, blogger and women rights activist, currently working at an Arabic-language TV station in Dubai. She holds a master’s degree in Translation and Interpretation from ISIT in Syria. Ms Ahmado is a contributing writer to the anthology: Demanding Dignity: Young Voices from the Front Lines of the Arab Revolutions.

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