Leon Shahabian


Name: Leon Shahabian
Organization: Layalina Productions
Website: http://www.layalina.tv
Title: Executive Vice President
Leon Shahabian serves as Executive Vice President & Executive Producer of Layalina Productions, Inc. He is currently in post-production on Yemeniettes, a feature documentary on female youth entrepreneurship in Yemen. He is also in post-production on the first season of American Caravan, a reality series featuring six young Americans traveling across five Arab countries in the footsteps of the Arab Spring. Leon has executive produced the three seasons of the hit reality series On the Road in America, Season I (2007-2008, MBC1 and the Sundance Channel, distributed by Warner Brothers and New Line Television), Season II (2010, MBC1 and MBN), and Season III (2011). Mr. Shahabian has created, written and executive produced the first season of Generation Entrepreneur, a youth entrepreneurship reality series (2012-2013, Orbit Showtime Network). He also executive produced Back from the Brink (2011), a feature documentary on countering violent extremism, and produced and executive produced the award-winning documentary Life After Death (2009, Al-Arabiya and MBN). His other credits include executive producing the Sister Cities documentary Windy City, White City (2004) as well as Araeh (2003). Leon co-founded Layalina Productions in 2002 and served as its Corporate Treasurer from 2004 through 2012. He also served from 2005 until 2011 as the Senior Editor of The Layalina Review on Public Diplomacy and Arab Media, the Google News listed bi-weekly press review. He serves since 2008 as the Senior Editor of Perspectives, a public diplomacy op-ed series. Mr. Shahabian is a frequent guest lecturer at leading universities and think thanks. He also serves as a writer, director and executive producer for a New York based video game studio. Mr. Shahabian is a stills photographer with photo credits from seventy leading newspapers and magazines, including the Associated Press, the New York Times, EMMY Magazine, the International Herald Tribune, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and the Boston Globe. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of The Pennsylvania State University with degrees in International Politics and French Literature, Leon is fluent in Armenian, Arabic and French. He is a life member of The Public Diplomacy Council and a 2013 recipient of the Penn State Alumni Achievement Award.

Challenge Entries

Layalina’s documentary shows Yemeni girls something they've rarely seen: local female role models achieving their dreams of entrepreneurship. The film's universal lessons could impact millions more viewers. It would be a shame for the movie not to be seen by audiences in the 21 other Arab countries.