Leigh Cuen


Tel Aviv, Israel

Leigh Cuen

Writer from California living in Tel Aviv.



Sex Workers Want This 'Sex Trafficker' Set Free

Amber Batts, a 41-year-old former sex worker and operator of a prostitution network in Alaska, was locked up for five and a half years on Monday, convicted of sex trafficking and violating probation. Batts ran a statewide prostitution network, and the women who she handled, represented and protected now want her set free.
Vocativ Link to Story

Islamic Poet of Love

Eleventh-century Córdoba was at the heart of the rich culture of Muslim Andalusia. Among its greatest creative figures was Wallada, princess, patron and poet. Leigh Cuen rediscovers one of the most influential women writers in European history. Wallada Bint-al Mustakfi may be the most influential writer that historians ever forgot.

Arabs in Jerusalem Fear Attacks, Are Scared To Speak Arabic

Arabs who live in Jerusalem say they are afraid of police, soldiers and Jewish extremists as ethnic violence continues to flare in the Old City, particularly around the Temple Mount and al-Aqsa mosque. Across the West Bank and Gaza, Palestinians have called for a “day of rage” on Friday, usually the Muslim day of prayers.
Vocativ Link to Story

The two faces of a street artist

Vandals or socially conscious, anonymous or claiming celebrity – the duality of the street artist community in Israel is always evolving. Israel’s street art scene is riddled with duality. It is a world of unknown celebrities and illegal art that is celebrated by embassies, municipalities and museums.
The Jerusalem Post Link to Story

Palestinian women visit Tel Aviv to promote peace

Parent’s Circle Family Forum enables Israelis, Palestinians to participate in exchange visit program, joint projects; events encourage reconciliation in midst of harsh reality. Official peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians have reportedly reached a dead end, while robust grassroots efforts continue to flourish.

A 'new poetry' emerges from Syria's civil war

More literal and visceral, Syrian poetry is being spread on social media and chanted in the streets.

Garden Library: Creativity and Conversation Transform Stigmatized Neighborhood

“The Garden Library is like our mother,” says Sudanese asylum seeker Najmeldien (Nadeem) Ahmed. “It felt like my life in Israel started when I found the library.”. The Garden Library is a nonprofit initiative founded by Israelis in 2009. It started with two bookcases in the center of Levinsky Garden, a public park in one of Tel Aviv’s poorest neighborhoods, now home to many African asylum seekers.
Dowser Link to Story

النزاع الفلسطيني الاسرائيلي يتجنب الوساطة النسائية

صدر قرار للأمم المتحدة منذ أكثر من عشر سنوات يطلب مشاركة المرأة في حل النزاع. ولكنّ هذا القرار ليس له تأثير كبير على النزاع الفلسطيني – الاسرائيلي حيث تبقى المرأة بعيدة عن لعب أدوار في السلطة من الجانبين. تل ابيب، اسرائيل ( أخبار المرأة) – انتقدت الهيئة المستقلة لحقوق الإنسان مؤخراً شرطة حماس لتفريق مظاهرة للنساء باستخدام القوة أثناء التظاهر سلمياً أمام المجلس التشريعي الفلسطيني في مدينة غزة في 6 نوفمبر.
Women's eNews Arabic Link to Story

Keeping Hope Alive in Somalia: Dr. Hawa Abdi

Her nicknames range from “Mama Hawa” to “Mother Theresa meets Rambo.” When the Somalian government collapsed in 1991, Dr. Hawa Abdi was a young doctor operating a small clinic on her family farm 20 miles south of Mogadishu. As war ravaged the country, Abdi’s clinic grew into a 400-bed hospital and her farm became home to thousands of refugees.
Dowser Link to Story

Afghan Women’s Powerful Poetry – Even Amidst War

Despite constant dangers, Afghan women’s poetry continues to flourish. One outlet for women’s poetry is Mirman Baheer, Afghanistan’s largest literary society for women. Mirman Baheer operates in Kabul with over 100 members. Its members are generally educated and employed; they are professors, parliamentarians, journalists and scholars.
Dowser Link to Story

Hummus with a side of harmony in Israel

Acre, Israel – Out of dozens of popular restaurants in the Old City, Hendy Sohela of Sohel Hummus is the sole woman running her own business. The restaurant’s walls are decorated with Qur’anic verses, images of the Dome of the Rock and a mounted TV screen, which broadcasts footage from the Islamic holy sites in Mecca.

Poet takes revolution from Facebook to the world

“The Internet is the only way that I have to connect to my people and my family now,” says poet Maram Al-Masri. Link to Story


Leigh Cuen

Culture writer with over five years experience in data journalism, social analysis and multimedia production. Co-founder of ONA Jerusalem, the first Online News Association group in the Middle East.

My work has been published in Spanish, French, Italian, Hebrew and Arabic.



  • Investigative Reporting
  • Book Reviews
  • Music Reviews
  • Feature Writing
  • News Reporting
  • Op-Ed Writing
  • Blogging
  • Social Media Strategy
  • Investigative Research
  • Photo Editing