Dr. May Chidiac is the President and founder of May Chidiac Foundation- Media Institute (MCF-MI), Head of GROUND-0 Beirut Relief Committee, May Chidiac is a veteran Journalist, an editor, a Radio Host and a news anchor since 1985 with a career spanning for more than 25 years. She fought for the freedom of the Lebanese people when few dared to speak up against the prevailing state of tyranny, through morning political shows. Six months after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005, Chidiac was attacked by a car bomb causing her to lose her left leg and arm. She returned to the TV screen in a prime-time political talk show called “With Audacity” from 2006 till 2009.
In parallel, Chidiac published an award-winning book: “Le Ciel M’attendra”, to be followed later on by another prized book “La Télévision Mise à Nu”. She obtained her PhD in “Sciences de L’Information et de la Communication” with high distinction from Université Panthéon -Paris II Assas and also continued her teaching career as Professor of Radio/ TV at Notre Dame University-Louaize till present.
She was also the Head of the Press Division at the Lebanese Embassy in Bern-Switzerland between 1989 and 1990. May Chidiac is the recipient of several Decorations and Medals including the “Chevalier de L’ordre de la Légion D’Honneur”, decorated by the Former President of the French Republic, Jacque Chirac in May 2007 at Elysee Palace, as well as the Medal of “Dame de L’ordre de Saint Gregoire- Le- Grand” awarded by Pope Francis in 2017, that she received by the Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Rai in May 2018 at Bkerke.
Throughout her career, Chidiac received numerous international awards and prizes, of which: “Le Prix de la Francophonie pour la Liberté d’Expression”, and the “UNESCO Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Award”.
In October 2006, she was awarded the IWMF (International Women Media Foundation) “Courage in Journalism Award” delivered in Los Angeles, New York and Washington.In 2017 she was the recipient of “Minerva Anna Maria Mammoliti of Human Rights and Civil Rights Award presented in Rome.Dr Chidiac is the member and member of Jury of several organizations as well as vice president such as Member of the “High Panel for Peace and Dialogue of Cultures” UNESCO in 2010, was Honored as part of “She Made it” by the Museum of Television and Radio in 2007 in New York and the Vice president and Jury member of UNESCO for the award of Emir Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah for Empowering People with Disabilities through Digital Technologies since 2016.
She is the Member of Jury at the L’Association des Femmes Leaders Mondial de Monaco in 2017 and was the Moderator in the International Conference on Youth and Information and Communication Technologies Preventing Violent Extremism at Cyberspace UNESCO in Beirut the same year. May Chidiac was a participator in several forums and colloquiums throughout the years, she was the honorary speaker as one of the Guillermo Cano Awardees in Paris in 2006, a keynote speaker and Guest at the Women’s Forum at Deauville- France from 2007 till 2014, a key participant in the UNESCO Global Forum on Media and Gender in Thailand “Documenting Change/Empowering Media- Gender Mainstream in the Media Middle East Report in 2013 as well as an Honorary Guest and Lecturer at the University of Sydney on “The role of Women in The Media” in 2014. She was the participant in the Fourth World Conference on Women:
The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action: “Enhancing Women’s Share in Peace and Security at the 1325 UN Resolution-Vienna with the Request of the Austrian Parliament in 2015. In regards of the Foundation programs and the academia, Dr Chidiac as president of MCFMI has contributed through her foundation that is dedicated to training, research and educate on issues of Media, and democracy executed several projects on subjects such as GBV in collaboration with UNESCO and currently executing a similar project with UNWomen.
Some of the projects that MCF conducts highlighting women are Women on The Front Lines projects with panels such as “Women Fighters and Survivors of the Iraqi Conflict”, “Mother of Extremists: Stories and Recommendations” and Women of Honor” Heroines of Peace in Times of Conflict.” Politically, Dr. May Chidiac was designated Minister of State for the Administrative Reform in the government of His Excellency the President of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Saad Hariri.
- “Le Ciel M’attendra” (Heaven Can Wait) in 2007 awarded the “Prix Vérité” in Le Cannet, France.
- “La Television Mise à Nu” (Influence of politics on the television scene) in 2014. The book was awarded the “Phoenix Prize” for literature.
Awards and honors
On 27 October 2006 May Chidiac received one of the three Courage in Journalism Awards presented by the International Women’s Media Foundation.
In June 2006, she received the “CRANS Montana Foundation Award” for Freedom of Expression offered by his Royal Highness Prince Albert De Monaco, Monte Carlo.
On 3 May 2006, UNESCO awarded the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize to May Chidiac in recognition of her courage in defending and promoting freedom of the press.
In December 2007, May Chidiac was honored in the frame of “She Made It” by the Museum of Television and Radio, New York City.
In April 2006, she received an Honorary Award, presented by his Royal Highness Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.
On 3 May 2007, the former French president, Jacques Chirac awarded May Chidiac the Legion of Honour at the Elysée Palace in Paris.Chirac described Chidiac as a “symbol of free speech in Lebanon.”
In March 2008, she was honored as a prominent and audacious figure in politics and journalism during the Olympe De Gouge event, at Montauban France. In December 2010, The “Prix Verité” (“Truth Prize”) was awarded to Chidiac for Le Ciel M’attendra in 2007 in La Ville de Cannet, Cannes, France.
In 2010, Chidiac was named one of the International Press Institute’s World Press Freedom Heroes.
Chidiac has participated in significant symposiums and colloquiums such as the UN’s Resolution 1325 Symposium in Vienna, the University of Sidney Ideas Talk, the International Press Institute Congress in South Africa and Jordan, UNESCO International Colloquium in Beirut, and UNESCO’s Global Forum on Media and Gender in Thailand, its former Regional Forum for Media Development, as well as its Symposium for Freedom of Expression.
In 2016, Chidiac was awarded with an honorary doctorate from the American University of Science and Technology.