Jessica Dheere is co-founder and executive director of Social Media Exchange (SMEX), Beirut–based NGO that since 2008 has pioneered participatory, research-based approaches to media development and advocacy for digital rights in the Arab world. Under her leadership, SMEX has conducted the only comprehensive mapping of the legal framework for digital rights in the Arab region and regularly issues ground-breaking reports on regional and Lebanese digital rights issues. Also a journalist, she is guiding SMEX's editorial strategy to enhance coverage of internet governance and digital rights as policy (not just technology) issues in the region.
Before launching SMEX, Jessica worked as a writer and editor for art, architecture, and design magazines and as an independent multimedia journalist. She has a master’s degree in media studies from the New School in New York City and a bachelor’s degree in art history from Princeton University. In 2014 she was a Kathryn Davis Fellow for Peace at Middlebury College’s Arabic Language School.