American University of Beirut

  • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Global media reporting and commentary are increasingly polarized, profit-oriented, ideologically driven, and entertainment-based -- when the world needs exactly the opposite: complete, accurate, empathetic, and non-colonial views of other cultures. AUB’s ​Global Engagement Initiative offers from March 22 to April 19, 2022, a five-session, free, and non-credit online seminar that explores why this matters and how we might achieve this goal. 

    The seminar -- De-colonized Global Media: Reporting as if Ordinary People Matter -- begins by appreciating the enduring relevance of the craft and legacy of the late Arab-American foreign correspondent Anthony Shadid. His peers repeatedly recognized the power of his conveying to the world the sentiments of ordinary people across the Middle East. These sentiments often determine the fate of entire countries – as we see in the non-stop national uprisings by bludgeoned, desperate men and women across the Middle East. 

    Each 75-minute session is led by a media scholar-activist journalist whose professional experiences across cultures bring to life the three-dimensional totality of individuals, cultures, and countries across the Global South – in contrast to fear-mongering and aggressive silhouettes of foreign societies that are often seen through prisms of war, sanctions, and threats. 

    Reporters who successfully capture human sentiments often use narrative reporting and writing techniques that mirror the work of creative artists -- novelists, painters, dramatists, poets, cinematographers, documentarians, photographers, and short story writers. Established communicators in some of these art forms who lead the seminar sessions will analyze the craft elements of people-centered reporting by Shadid and others, and why it captivates readers and editors. They will discuss with participants non-colonial journalism’s core quest for social justice at home and transnational justice among states. 

    The five instructors are:
    ​​​Seminar coordinator Rami G. Khouri, AUB director of global engagement​ and journalist-in-residence, with over 50 years of experience in journalism in the Middle East, North America and Europe. He has studied the personal papers of Shadid at the AUB Libraries Archives, analyzed all of Shadid’s books, articles, lectures, and interviews, and interviewed 50 of Shadid’s colleagues who worked with him.
    Dr. Robert Myers, professor of English and comparative literature, award-winning playwright, director of the AUB Theater Initiative​, and director of AUB’s Center for American Studies and Research. He will explain how Shadid’s texts often mirror the work of dramatists in capturing people’s emotions, in the wider context of their societies’ conditions. His new play that opens at Yale University in Spring 2022, 1000 Strange Places, brings to life episodes in Shadid’s reporting around the Middle East that simultaneously capture the complexities of U.S.-Mideast interactions.
    George Azar​, award-winning photojournalist and filmmaker, has covered the Middle East for four decades for Al Jazeera, Jadaliyya​, the New York Times, the AP and others. He is AUB’s “Photojournalist-in-Residence” and teaches documentary filmmaking and photojournalism. A book author and director of numerous documentary films, he has been awarded a Rory Peck Award for ‘extraordinary courage behind the camera’, a British Royal Television Society Award, and the Jury Prize at the Al Jazeera International Documentary Festival.
    Ken Harper, an award-winning designer, professor, photojournalist, and media educator, is associate professor and the first director of the Newhouse Center for Global Engagement at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. The center is dedicated to bringing knowledge to the world through storytelling, collaboration, and innovation. Harper has pioneered international programs that link journalism students with counterparts around the Middle East and Africa.
    ​​​ ​​Helena Cobban, founder, and director of Just World Books and p​​​resident of Just World Educational Foundation was an award-winning foreign correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor and the Sunday Times and now promotes social justice and decolonization through publishing, philanthropy, and advocacy. She focuses on the Middle East, the international system, and transitional justice, especially in the Global South. She is a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Washington DC-based Center for International Policy. 


    ​Each 75-minutes-long online session will be conducted in English, every Tuesday at 1 pm US Eastern Time, from March 22 to April 19, 2022. It is free of charge and open to students, working journalists, and interested professionals. Modest amounts of readings will be sent to participants before each session, and there are no written assignments. In-session discussion is the heart of the seminar and is highly encouraged. 

    Applicants should complete a ​short questionnaire about their professional status and their interest in the seminar topic. Spaces are limited. Accepted applicants should commit to attending all five sessions and will be sent log-in information.   ​


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