Leigh Cuen


Leigh Cuen

Journalist from California



What It's Like to Have Your Period in a Women's Prison

Periods can turn a women's prison into a hormone-charged hell when inmates don't have access to affordable menstrual products and facilities don't enforce humane policies. The topic recently gained more attention after the launch of the fourth season of Netflix's Orange Is The New Black, which featured an episode centered around the facility's shortage of pads and tampons.

How Brexit Will Impact Mixed-Nationality Couples

"It feels like London is in shock," Asya Kovarsky, the Russian-Israeli wife of a British citizen, said in a Facebook message. "My husband is really upset about it. I don't want to move but I feel like he will not want to live here anymore." Kovarsky works in international relations and most of her London colleagues are foreign citizens.

Baltimore Riots Lead To A New Kind Of Activist Movement

The Baltimore riots have led to something previously unseen in the post-Ferguson civil rights movement: the almost immediate formation of an organized coalition of activists, with black churches at its foundation. A new grassroots group called Baltimore United for Change has been formed as a result of the current strife in Baltimore.
Vocativ Link to Story

In Iran, Instagram Provides A Platform For Women Entrepreneurs

As Iran and six nations including the United States are seeking to reach a nuclear deal, many of Tehran’s social media users are focused on fashion. Vocativ analyzed social media trends in Tehran this week using its unique geo-data technology and found that trending keywords include fashion, style and design, especially on Instagram.
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Underground Migrant Rescue: How A Facebook Network Is Saving Lives

A digital-only group is helping migrants navigate their way across the sea and to new lives in Europe. A group of Iraqi and Syrian volunteers led by a woman from Spain have banded together to run a digital network to help migrants taking to the seas to come to Europe. The group, identified by Vocativ deep web analysts, advises would-be travelers on everything from how to steer a boat to how to spot human traffickers known for threatening and abusing refugees.
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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.
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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

Inside A Women's Prison

On Friday, the fourth season of the prison drama Orange Is The New Black will debut on Netflix. Based on the eponymous memoir by former prison inmate Piper Kerman, the series explores the relationships between a diverse group of inmates at Litchfield Penitentiary in Connecticut, a minimum-security women's prison.

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.


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