Firas Shamsan is a Yemeni journalist, photographer, blogger and peace activist. He was born in Jeddah city and studied media in the Faculty of Mass Communication of Sana'a University.
Shamsan started working as a journalist in Yemen in 2008. After taking active part in Arab Spring demonstrations that resulted in the overthrow of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, he focused on political and social reporting and participated in a campaign to encourage youth to study instead of joining violent groups. Through this work, Shamsan founded the media platform fantime.net, a website that focuses on cultural development and countering extremism by art, that he still runs to this day.
As a result of his reporting and commitment to non-violence, he was attacked and was forced to flee to Egypt at the end of 2013. The following year, however he was arrested at the Cairo Book Fair, accused of jeapordizing public peace and of publishin fake news, and tortured in prison.
Shamsan’s body of work is multidisciplinary, as he uses different mediums and platforms to tell stories that need to be urgently told. In 2019, he produced the short documentary Qanbūs:The absent voice of Yemen and he was the director for the documentary film A Crime in Book Fair about his experience being arrested at the Cairo Book Fair to shed light on issues of free expression and the challenges most film participants faced to find asylum. His poetry was included in the anthology of Yemeni voices Touches of Memory published in 2021. In the same year, a photography series by Shamsan that focused on people who are change makers in their community, was included in the exhibition Kornhausforum. His book One way ticket is planned to be published soon.
In 2019, Firas Shamsan was welcomed as an ICORN writer in residence by the Swiss city of Bern, supported by the Swiss-German PEN center. To learn more about his work you can visit his website, or follow him on his Youtube account and Twitter.