Ourselves as Others See Us—Social Media and the Middle East
Bill and Penny Obenshain Global Affairs Program
It was the Tweet heard round the world—during the uprisings of the Arab Spring, protesters have used social media to organize and fuel political change across a region. As tools like Twitter propel eyewitness accounts to the attention of journalists and audiences around the world, important questions follow: What’s the value of social media—sometimes called “liberation technology”—and how does it circumvent censorship and fuel democracy? In a discussion moderated by Washington Post political writer Peter Slevin, a panel of foreign journalists including Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Washington Bureau Chief Abderrahim Foukara, New York Times reporter Nadim Audi, and Saudi blogger and multimedia journalist Ahmed Al Omran convene to exchange ideas about social media, revolution, and the Middle East.
This program is generously underwritten by Bill and Penny Obenshain.
The 2011 programs at the UIC Forum are sponsored in part by the Chicago Community Trust.
Speakers and Performers
Peter Slevin is a national political correspondent for The Washington Post. He has spent the past six years exploring politics and the themes and personalities that animate the national debate. In Chicago and on the campaign trial, he helped chronicle the rise of Barack Obama and he has written extensively about the home front of the Iraq and Afghan wars. Previously, Slevin covered foreign policy for The Post and spent seven years in Europe for The Miami Herald covering the collapse of the Soviet empire.
Abderrahim Foukara was born in Morocco and holds a BA English and a PhD in African studies. After nine years with the BBC World Service he, in 1999, joined The World as an Arab World affairs reporter. In 2001 he also served as a Senior Editor on All-Africa.com, the world’s largest provider of African news and analysis. He joined Al-Jazeera Satellite Channel in 2002 and is currently the Channel’s Washington Bureau Chief and host of Min Washington, a weekly roundtable show on American political and cultural affairs.
Nadim Audi has been reporting for the New York Times since 2007. While covering Egypt and the Middle East, he has contributed to 'Generation Faithful', a series that explored the intersection of youth culture and religiosity. The Arab uprisings have taken him to Jordan and Morocco where he wrote inside stories about youth movements and activism. He also extensively covered the crushed uprisings in Bahrain and Syria, where he was imprisoned by Syrian authorities, as well as the tumultuous politics of post-revolutionary
Ahmed Al Omran
Ahmed Al Omran is a Saudi blogger and multimedia journalist. His blog, Saudi Jeans, is one of the most well-known and long standing blogs in the Middle East. His writings appeared in major publications such as the New York Times and the Guardian. Born and raised in Hofuf, eastern Saudi Arabia, he recently graduated with a Master’s degree in digital media from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, New York. Currently, he is interning on the social media desk of NPR where he tweets (@ahmed) about the Arab Spring.CHF Suggests