Kerning Cultures | Middle East

Kerning Cultures | Middle East


Middle East radio documentaries. Stories of culture, history, current affairs, science, and entrepreneurship produced by Alex Atack, Razan Alzayani, Dana Ballout, Ramzi Bashour, Alexandra Chaves, Lilly Crown, Hebah Fisher, Mohamed Khreizat, Jacqueli...Show More

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KC Short: Break the Cycle

12:54 | Mar 17th

We asked women to tell us about their first periods and how that set a tone for how they view their bodies today. A tribute to International Women’s Day. --

The Perfect Renaissance Man

24:20 | Mar 2nd

In the 1930s, the architect Nasri Khattar tried to completely overhaul the Arabic script – singlehandedly. For the next 47 years, he worked day and night to implement his writing system, Unified Arabic. Ultimately, he failed. This is his story. --...Show More

Lebanon, USA

28:43 | Feb 16th

In 2016, Fadi Boukaram planned to visit 47 American towns named Lebanon by road. Then, in Lebanon South Dakota, he discovered that all these other Lebanons have more in common with the country than anybody realised. This week on Kerning Cultures, a s...Show More

أسيرات محررات: ضجيج الشهرة

25:58 | Jan 31st

لينا خطاب وعهد التميمي ٬أسيرتان  محررتان٬ ترويان لنا ظروف التحقيق والاعتقال القاسية٬ كما تحكيان لنا عن معاناة تجاوزت حدود السجن  Lina Khattab and Ahed Tamimi were arrested as teenagers. Their stories are years apart, but at the time of their impri...Show More

Reviving Hamra Street

17:31 | Jan 15th

In the heart of Lebanon’s capital city, Beirut, Hamra Street once stood as one of the preeminent cultural, economic, and intellectual center of Arab world. Hamra Street housed journalists, politicians, and leaders who were exiled from other nations, ...Show More

Not Just My Hijab

28:05 | Dec 31st, 2018

Often the hijab is perceived as this static, monolithic thing. But of course, it's not that simple – every Muslim woman who chooses to wear, or not to wear the hijab has a different understanding and experience of it, and in these stories we're going...Show More

Faraj, Part II: The USA

28:01 | Dec 14th, 2018

In part one of this series, we told the story of Faraj Al Baadani’s family, which unveiled a little-known history between Yemen and Vietnam. Now, over 40 years later, Faraj continues his family’s history of migration as he leaves his home in Yemen fo...Show More

Faraj, Part I: Saigon to Sana'a

21:19 | Dec 1st, 2018

The little-known, intertwining of history between Yemen and Vietnam, told through the lens of a single family. Part one of a story told in two parts.

78 Degrees North

18:31 | Nov 16th, 2018

Short stories about passports, visas, and making “home”. And, the KC team challenge themselves to find a place in the world where visas don’t matter.

A Cinema, Demolished

24:30 | Oct 30th, 2018

When demolition began on the Plaza Cinema in 2015, something unusual happened; Dubai residents began visiting the site to collect mementos from the building’s rubble. The cinema was almost as old as the UAE itself – a place which many people held an ...Show More

Featuring Eib: إعتناق ديانة أخرى من أجل الحب

16:40 | Oct 16th, 2018

From Arabic podcast Eib, the story of a boy who falls in love with a girl... and then, they realise, they're from different religions. From Season 1, Episode 5 of Eib, by the Sowt podcast network.  Original episode description: القانون في الارد...Show More

Open Sesame

44:25 | Sep 30th, 2018

In 1979, Iftah Ya Simsim - the Arabic version of Sesame Street - aired for the first time. Over the next ten years, the show was loved by children across the Arab world, until 1990, when the show was pulled off the air as a result of the Gulf War. ...Show More

The Descent

19:24 | Sep 17th, 2018

“I still believe this is the scariest moment of my entire life. My face is white, I’m shaking and I'm terrified. I'm frozen––I can't do anything.” In July 2016, Toufic Abou Nader set off on a journey to the bottom of the Krubera cave––the deepest ...Show More

The Things That Can't Speak

20:01 | Aug 31st, 2018

Ronnie Chatah started giving his walking tours of Beirut in 2008, during a period of stability for the city. He would guide tourists through the city, telling stories of Phoenician ruins, French architecture and Ottoman houses. He’d also talk about L...Show More

Update: Love in 56KB

29:44 | Aug 16th, 2018

It’s been two years since our story about Rami and Marinka, the Dutch-Lebanese couple who fell in love over MSN Messenger during the Lebanon-Israel war. Not once, but twice, chance brought them together online, sparking an epic modern love story. Sin...Show More

Her Side of the Story

27:37 | Jul 30th, 2018

Ghada and Ranyah don’t know each other, but their stories have a lot in common. When they each married their husbands, everybody around them assumed they’d live happily ever after. But it didn’t turn out that way, for either of them. They were both l...Show More

The Curse of the Pharaohs

27:44 | Jul 11th, 2018

This year, the Egyptian national football team ended a 28-year streak of bad luck when they qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. But their road to the tournament wasn’t an easy one. It’s a story of heroism, revolution and disappointment. This ...Show More

None of the Above

22:04 | Jun 30th, 2018

Every 10 years, the United States Census counts and categorises every person living in America. But for Middle Easterners in America, there has never been a category option. And now, for the first time, there might be.

To Oslo, With Love

54:11 | May 30th, 2018

Elie was a journalist looking for her next story when she met Ziad at a party in Istanbul. Ziad was a Syrian refugee hoping to travel to Europe and apply for asylum. Elie asked Ziad if she could follow him to Norway, his final destination, and docume...Show More

Resettled (English)

28:05 | Apr 30th, 2018

From Iraq to Texas: a doctor’s chronicle of rebuilding life from the ground up as a refugee. (English, dubbed version)


27:34 | Apr 30th, 2018

From Iraq to Texas: a doctor’s chronicle of rebuilding life from the ground up as a refugee. (Original, Arabic)

Where the Heart Is

49:23 | Mar 28th, 2018

(Censored) A story of where we're from - when it's not straightforward. For his entire life, Maysam has lived in Dubai. His parents are from Syria, a place  he hasn’t visited since he was a young child. If you ask him, the UAE is his home. But on pa...Show More

KC Listener Mashup: What's in Your Name?

06:28 | Mar 20th, 2018

A mashup from our listening community exploring the literal meanings and experiences of Arabic, Farsi, and Hebrew names.

The Mountain

38:54 | Feb 28th, 2018

"Without the female building block, there will be no security." Ch 2 in our mini-series on women and deradicalisation efforts, in partnership with Women’s Advancement Deeply.

At the Feet of the Mother

29:46 | Dec 30th, 2017

"How would you like to remember your son?" Ch 1 in a mini-series on women and deradicalisation. 

What's in a Name?

28:09 | Oct 19th, 2017

'Yasir?' That's too difficult. I'll just call you Tony.

Startup Series: Tunis

41:15 | Sep 5th, 2017

6 years after a revolution, what is it like starting a business in the new Tunisia?

These Two Lanes Could Take Us Anywhere

38:56 | Jul 28th, 2017

4,000 miles, a bike trip, an Armenian, a Turk, and a history that doesn't match up. ​​​​​​​

Not Just My Hijab (Ch 2)

21:04 | Jun 7th, 2017

4 women, and their hijabs. Chapter 2 of a 2-part series.   

Not Just My Hijab (Ch 1)

24:45 | Jun 1st, 2017

4 women. And their hijabs. Chapter 1 in a 2-part series, Not Just My Hijab.  Have you rated us yet? Consider rating us on whatever platform you're listening to this podcast on! It really helps boost our rankings so other listeners can find out about...Show More

KC Soundboard: We're Listening to You

16:32 | May 1st, 2017

Behind the scenes of our startup Kerning Cultures. 

Serious Jolt

27:11 | Mar 29th, 2017

One man's mission to revive Yemeni coffee for global markets. 

Where Do We Go From Here?

24:13 | Feb 8th, 2017

A look at (the first) Trump travel ban and its effects. 

Fight or Flight

30:19 | Jan 23rd, 2017

When you're forced to leave your home, what traditions do you take with you? A journey with an Afghani kite fighting master.  Credit to The Kite Runner film, a 2007 production by Dreamworks Pictures and Paramount Classics, for some of the audio we...Show More

Birthplace of the UAE

26:31 | Dec 3rd, 2016

The year is 1959, and 1 in every 2 babies are dying in childbirth in the United Arab Emirates.

KC Short: Mid East for Trump

14:04 | Oct 10th, 2016

A US election special: meet the Americans of Middle Eastern descent supporting Trump.    For more, visit our episode page. Produced by Hebah Fisher, Razan Alzayani, Fact Checking by Lilly Crown, with sound design by Mohamed Khreizat.

Reconciliation, a Tale of Two Seas

42:12 | Aug 27th, 2016

It's 2011, and Bahrain is a divided society. Can they reconcile?   -- For more, visit this episode's page. Produced by Hebah Fisher, Razan Alzayani, and Lilly Crown, with sound design by Ramzi Bashour.   Update 29 August 2016: The episode erroneou...Show More


1:01:01 | Jul 21st, 2016

How do you lose a family member in Europe's elusive borders? And as a refugee how do you navigate the world of smugglers when crossing the English Channel? At a time when nations are sealing off their borders, we explore the nuances of migration, bor...Show More

Love in 56KB

22:24 | May 31st, 2016

An epic modern love story. He was in Beirut during the Lebanon-Israel war; she was in a small village outside of Rotterdam. They met on MSN Messenger. Produced by Alex Atack, Razan Alzayani, and Hebah Fisher, with sound design by Ramzi Bashour.

My Mother's Country, Mother Of The World (Ch 2)

22:20 | Mar 23rd, 2016

"No one believed I was moving back to Cairo; it's a jungle there."Chapter 2 finalises our exploration into Egyptian brain drain. Featuring guests Sylvia, Alaa Shaker, and Tarek Hosny. Produced by Razan Alzayani and Hebah Fisher, with editorial suppor...Show More

My Mother's Country, Mother Of The World (Ch 1)

29:45 | Mar 17th, 2016

What do we owe the places that raised us? Egypt has the highest rate of voluntary emigration in MENA, and we wanted to know why. Chapter 1 in a two-part series on emigration from Egypt. Featuring guests Ahmed Yossef, Abdelrahman Erlebach, and Iman Da...Show More

Poetry, Deconstructed.

19:35 | Dec 17th, 2015

The creative process, deconstructed. This episode we take you behind the scenes to capture raw human talent: the intimate brainstorming, trials, and experimentation of 3 musicians and a poet preparing for a spoken word performance. What's more, is th...Show More

Finding Center

27:10 | Dec 1st, 2015

Finding center: physical, spiritual, mentally.Story I: [0:00-6:57] Finding Yourself in the Reflection of a HorseStory II: [6:58-13:36] Finding Peace in a Hula HoopStory III: [13:37-26:37] Reconciling Islam and AstronomyFeaturing Kelly Eide, Teeba Alk...Show More

Reviving Hamra Street

15:55 | Oct 26th, 2015

Painting Beirut's diaries on its walls.  Featuring Yazan Halwani and Maria Abunnasr. Produced by Dana Ballout with editorial support by Hebah Fisher.

Startup Series: UAE

27:54 | Oct 19th, 2015

Is Dubai the next Silicon Valley of the Middle East? Startup stories from the United Arab Emirates. Featuring Alborz Toofani of Snappcard, Elissa Freiha of WOMENA, and Baher Alhakim of Cloudappers. Brought to you by Impact Hub Dubai.Produced by He...Show More

Startup Series: Egypt

25:48 | Oct 11th, 2015

Egyptian startups: a different kind of revolution. This episode features Mahmoud Abdelfattah, founder of, Con O'Donnell, co-founder and BizDev Lead at Rise Up Summit, Gamal Sadek, co-founder of Bey2ollak, and Dina Sherif, co-founder of Ah...Show More

Startup Series: Lebanon

20:47 | Sep 23rd, 2015

Water and electricity cut daily, and yet $400M for startups. Our first episode of Kerning Cultures! Today's show describes what it's like starting a company in Lebanon, through the lens of a startup that graduated from Lebanon's first accelerator ...Show More