AMMAN – Media person and social activist Nisreen Abusalha looked back on her Master’s thesis titled ‘The Image of persons with Disabilities in Arabic drama: A case study TV series “Wara’ Al-Shams”’, which she defended at Middle East University in 2011, to reassure her audience and herself that, nine years later, she remains a devoted advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities and a voice for community’s concerns and struggles.
Abusalha, who is also a member of the Higher Council for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ Media Committee, based her study on the Arabic drama ‘Behind the Sun’, which revolved around the life and struggles of persons with disabilities. She chose to conduct a thorough study and criticism of the said series to touch on media’s role in changing society’s cultural and philosophical conceptualisations, and to raise awareness of persons with disabilities’ needs and rights.
Abusalha said that her collaboration with various entities and parties has resulted in a tangible, positive change in persons with disabilities’ lives and day-to-day experiences. She highlighted that the efforts exerted towards bettering the lives of persons with disabilities has changed the stereotypes surrounding them within the Jordanian society. She also pointed out that Jordan was one of the first Arab countries to ratify the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Abusalha is committed to dedicating her skills and expertise towards establishing good standards of living for members of her community, specifically persons with disabilities, whom she believes must also be made aware of their own rights and encouraged to fight for equal opportunities.
Abusalha received her Master’s degree in Media from Middle East University, after defending her Master’s thesis before the thesis defence committee, which consisted back then of Prof. Hameeda Smeisem as the head of the committee, Dr Kamel Khurshied as Ms Abusalha’s supervisor, and Dr Mohanad al-Azza as a member.
The thesis defence was attended by his Royal Highness Prince Raad Zeid al-Hussein, then President of the Higher Council for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Commissioner General for Human Rights in Jordan. The list of attendees also included distinguished academics, representatives of organisations advocating for persons with disabilities’ rights, media persons and students. The thesis defence was also translated into sign language.