Message from the New Director

Exactly 25 years after first setting foot in the Middle East, I find myself once more setting up an apartment in an Arab capital as I assume a new appointment as director of the Adham Center.

In a way, it’s a bit like coming home. I am stepping into the very large shoes the center’s founder, Abdallah Schleifer, my old colleague/competitor from the days when I was CBS News correspondent in the Arab world and he was NBC Cairo bureau chief. Numerous other center staff and associates are also old colleagues from the days before the U.S. networks largely abandoned the Arab world.

Though I have been in and out of the region frequently over the years, I had not anticipated moving back here. However, my writing and research since 9/11 has focused on the nexus between communications and policy in the Muslim world, set against the changing nature of the media in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Cairo – and the Adham Center in particular – is at the crossroads of those changes. I can think of no place better suited to witnessing firsthand – and influencing – this evolution.

My mandate involves expanding the scope of the center. In addition to working with students in AUC’s enhanced undergraduate broadcast journalism program and our new one-year graduate diploma in broadcast journalism, we will seek ways we can increase training for working journalists in Egypt and across the region.

That broader scope is also reflected in the center’s new name, the Adham Center for Electronic Journalism, substituting “electronic” for “television,” a step that recognizes the convergence of technologies in the new business.

I also hope to extend the center’s footprint deeper into policy research, initiatives that facilitate the relationship between government and journalists in a more open media environment, and a broad array of work around the dialogue between the U.S. and the Muslim world, as well as developing the center’s ties in Southeast Asia, where I lived for a number of years. I will also serve as senior editor of the Journal of Transnational Broadcasting Studies. I am pleased to say that Abdallah will continue to serve as publisher as well as a fellow of the center.

I welcome ideas for joint projects and initiatives, for hosting visiting journalists, academics and students, and for suggestions of new ways we might serve the professional journalism and academic communities.