Alia Malek

  1. Director of the International Reporting Program
  2. Distinguished Lecturer

Alia Malek is a journalist and former civil rights lawyer whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Foreign Policy,, the Nation, the Christian Science Monitor, Jadaliyya, McSweeney’s, Guernica and other publications.

She is the author of two books: “The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria” and “A Country Called Amreeka: U.S History Re-Told Through Arab American Lives.”

She also served as the editor of “Patriot Acts: Narratives of Post 9/11 Injustices” and “EUROPA أوروپا : An Illustrated Introduction to Europe for Migrants and Refugees.”

Born in Baltimore to Syrian immigrant parents, Alia began her legal career as a trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. She has worked in the legal field in the U.S., Lebanon, and the West Bank.

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 a senior writer until October 2015. She has also been a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at the Nation Institute and in residence at the MacDowell Colony.

In November 2016, Alia 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 was a Tow Professor at the Newmark J-School from 2020-2022.

Alia has degrees from Johns Hopkins and Georgetown Universities and a Master in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.


How a Syrian War Criminal Was Brought to Justice — in Germany
(The New York Times Magazine)

‘He Didn’t Want to Lie in a Grave That Couldn’t Be Visited’

Moving Beyond the Label of ‘War Refugee’

To Stay or to Flee: A Syrian Mother’s Impossible Choice

War Made Her a Refugee. Now She’s ‘Home,’ in Amsterdam’s Counterculture.

His Family Fled Syria. He Didn’t Cry Until He Heard About His Sisters.