Leila Shahid (born in Beirut in 1949) is a Palestinian diplomat.
She is the daughter of Munib Shahid and Serene Husseini Shahid and thus related to the Al-Husayni clan. Shahid's parents were from Acre and Jerusalem, but she grew up with her two sisters in exile in Lebanon. Studied anthropology and psychology at the American University of Beirut. After studying in Beirut, Leila worked in the Palestinian refugee camps until 1974 when she began her doctorate in anthropology in Paris -- where she met Jean Genet, who later accompanied her back to Beirut in 1982. In 1976 she was elected president of the Union of Palestinian students in France.
In September 1982, Shahid and Jean Genet went to Beirut. They arrived during the Sabra and Shatila massacres. Genet's account was published in "La revue d'études palestiniennes", in an article entitled Quatre heures à Chatila (Four Hours at Chatila) -- Catherine Biscovitch's film "Dancing Among the Dead" was based on this article by Genet.
In 1977 she married the Moroccan writer Mohammed Berrada and settled in Morocco until 1986.
Leila Shahid is the first woman ambassador of Palestine; Shahid was the official representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Ireland from 1989, in Netherlands (1990), then the PA in France where she had taken office in Paris in 1993 for 13 years.
Shahid is, since 2006, the General Delegate of Palestine to the EU, Belgium and Luxembourg.
She was a longtime director of "La revue d'études palestiniennes" (The Review of Palestinian Studies), while serving as a board member right now.
The Russell Tribunal on Palestine was established in response to a call by Leila Shahid and Ken Coates (Chairperson of the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation), Nurit Peled (Israeli, Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Speech 2001).