Dalia Mortada is a freelance reporter, producer, traveler and eater. A Syrian-American who spent her childhood and summers in Spain, she’s used to not quite fitting in, so she lives in Istanbul, where she definitely doesn’t belong.
In November 2011, I bid tearful farewells to my loved ones in Virginia and hopped on a one-way flight to Istanbul. Not once did it cross my mind that the job I left my life for could be a dud.
After just six weeks, I left my gig at a local English-language newspaper. I edited and wrote for local magazines before I jumped into radio in late 2012, when a wonderful friend and colleague told me, “Just do it.” My love affair with audio went from a dream to a reality.
About six months after I filed my first radio story, Turkey erupted into protests, and I was in the right place at the right time. Ever since, I’ve reported feature stories on social issues for PRI’s The World, the CBC, Deutsche Welle and others.
My choice to go abroad came from a nagging case of wanderlust as I wrapped up a six-month stint at the PBS NewsHour in their desk assistant program. Armed with the skills I learned there and my mentors’ support, I made it to Turkey on two weeks’ notice.
I chose Istanbul partly because it was the first place I got a job. But mostly, I did it to be close to aging relatives in Syria, Turkey’s neighbor to the south. Sadly, the continuing violence has made it too dangerous to visit them.
When I’m not working, I’m feeding unsuspecting loved ones and street animals my culinary experiments, improving my Turkish by watching dating TV shows, playing fetch with my cats or professing my love for all creatures awkwardly long-necked: llamas, camels, giraffes…
She says it's too late for her but some Syrian kids finally get a chance in Turkish schools.
In Beirut, most people don't just speak one language but three: English, French & Arabic. It's what many in Beirut call Lebanon's mother tongue — and speakers will often drift from one language to the next, mid-sentence.
We're always taught to be wary of street animals. But in Istanbul, they're a fixture in the city, whether locals like it or not.
The Yaybahar was created about six years ago as a mix of all sorts of instruments: the Australian didgeridoo, the Turkish Ney and, most importantly, the thunder drum, a small cylindrical instrument that has two drum-like membranes linked by a spring.
Chef Wareef Kassem Hamedo believes food isn’t just food, it has a soul. He dreamed of opening a restaurant in his hometown of Aleppo, Syria. As the conflict there rages on, Hamedo has finally opened his restaurant — but as a refugee in Gaza.
"The Wire" of Israel has finished its first season and both Israelis and Palestinians are anxiously awaiting more. The show, called "Fauda" — "chaos" in Arabic, is about Israeli spies and Palestinian terrorists, and neither side is all hero nor all villain.
In today’s Kafro, the old, decrepit houses are a reminder of the past, while a new planned community sits at the entrance to the village. The Syriac Christians of Kafro abandoned their homes decades ago during a civil war between Kurdish separatists and the Turkish government.
What happens when you find out you're not who you thought you were? One man in Turkey discovered his father was a victim of the Armenian Genocide, and he's been embracing and struggling with that identity ever since.
Married off before graduating high school, spending years in an abusive relationship, 34-year-old Berivan Elif Kilic rises to become one of 46 women appointed ''co-mayors'' of communities in Turkey. “I want other women to take over after I’m done,” she says.
Infant mortality rates have been improving greatly in Ethiopia, but hospitals are still not well-equipped to handle care for babies born prematurely. Enter "kangaroo care," a technique originally developed in South America to keep premature babies in skin-to-skin contact with an adult during early, crucial weeks or months of development.
Thousands of Turkish women took to the streets over the weekend to protest the murder of a 20-year-old woman. Özgecan Aslan was killed after fending off a bus driver who tried to rape her. #sendeanlat (#tellyourstory) began trending on Twitter as thousands of women shared their own horrific stories of sexual harassment and violence.