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Rice Launches Partnership for International Journalism Program

The exchange program aims at promoting journalistic excellence around the world

Posted: December 13, 2005 AUDIO   VIDEO (DSL/cable)   VIDEO (dial up)  

Secretary Rice announces the Launch of Partnership for International Journalism Program at the Department of State. (State Department photo by Michael Gross)
Secretary Rice announces the Launch of Partnership for International Journalism Program on Tuesday, December 13, 2005, in the Benjamin Franklin Room of the U.S. Department of State.

Washington -- A new public-private partnership will enable up to 100 foreign journalists to study and examine U.S. journalistic practices, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced December 13.

The Edward R. Murrow Journalism Program will engage overseas media professionals with their American peers through seminars at six leading U.S. journalism schools, visits to state capitals and an International Symposium for Journalists, hosted by the Colorado-based, nonprofit Aspen Institute.

Rice said the program will emphasize the journalistic values -- "integrity and ethics and courage and social responsibility" -- practiced by Murrow, a leading broadcast journalist from 1935 to 1960, and head of the United States Information Agency from 1961 to 1963.

"We all know," Rice added, "that the bedrock pillar of a free society is a free press and that it is crucial for the foundation of any democracy."

Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen Hughes praised the Murrow Program for addressing the new challenges facing U.S. public diplomacy.

During the Cold War, Hughes said, the nation’s public diplomats worked to inject information into closed societies. Today, with information more readily available, there is a greater need to help foreign journalists hone their skills, and to afford them the opportunity to travel in the United States and meet individual Americans, she said.

Geoffrey Cowen, dean of the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication, a Murrow partner institution, echoed Hughes’ remarks, stressing the need for well-trained journalists in an era where, more than ever, people and nations need better understanding of other cultures.

Aspen Institute President Walter Isaacson suggested that the Murrow Program successfully would weave together American interests and ideals in the fashion of the 1948–1951 U.S. Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II.

The State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), which administers the program, anticipates the arrival of the first Murrow Program participants in April 2006.

The Edward R. Murrow Journalism Program was developed by ECA as part of its International Visitor Leadership Program.

Partner institutions include the journalism schools at the universities of Oklahoma; Texas (Austin); Minnesota; North Carolina (Chapel Hill); Kentucky and Southern California. The Aspen Institute was founded in 1950 to foster enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue through seminars, policy programs, conferences and leadership development initiatives.

Additional information on the ECA International Visitor Leadership Program is available on the State Department Web site.

Michael Jay Friedman
Washington File Staff Writer

Following is a transcript of Secretary Rice's announcement:

The Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
December 13, 2005

Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. Before I welcome our visitors and talk a little bit about this remarkable program, I'd like to make a brief statement concerning events in Lebanon.

Yesterday, the Lebanese journalist, Gebran Tueni, a brave voice for press freedom and for Lebanon's liberation from foreign domination, was murdered in a cowardly fashion in Beirut. Today, I want to express my condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Tueni and express America's continued support for the democratic aspirations of the Lebanese people. We know that An-Nahar newspaper as well as the brave citizens of Lebanon will continue this struggle. We know that they know that the United States stands clearly and forcefully with the Lebanese people and that the international community must do so as well.

Today, I'm pleased to announce the launch of an innovative State Department exchange program for international journalists. I'm particularly honored to be a part of this launch. And as Dina just revealed, I was indeed an intern in Educational and Cultural Affairs in 1977 when many of the people that we all teach were not even alive. (Laughter.)

In April 2006, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Aspen Institute and six leading American universities will begin working together to promote journalistic excellence around the world. Our Edward R. Murrow Journalism Fellows Program will invite 100 international media professionals to engage with journalists and participate in leading journalism schools here in the United States.

Named after the renowned journalist and former director of the United States Information Agency, Edward R. Murrow, this program emphasizes many of the democratic principles that guided Mr. Murrow's practice of his craft: integrity and ethics and courage and social responsibility. We all know that the bedrock pillar of a free society is a free press and that it is crucial for the foundation of any democracy.

Our new journalism program is an innovative public-private partnership, led by the State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program and supported by seven important partners and they are all represented here today, and I want to thank them very much.

I especially want to thank and recognize Walter Isaacson of the Aspen Institute and also Geoff Cowan of USC for your tremendous leadership. I'm tempted at this point to note that here on the stage we have the BCS match-up -- (laughter) -- the University of Texas and USC -- but I think I'll pass on that for now and move back to the program.

The universities that are gathered here are going to conduct academic seminars on journalistic principles to be enhanced by opportunities for the international journalists to observe the U.S. press in action. The Aspen Institute will organize an international symposium for journalists, highlighting curriculum and trends that challenge journalists here in this contemporary circumstance and that are facing media here in America and in the world.

I want to sincerely thank these leaders for their valuable and generous contributions to this undertaking. We all recognize that public diplomacy is not just the job of government. It is, indeed, the job of every American. And the Department of State is determined to forge partnerships with our private sector so that Americans of all stripes, all traditions, all ethnic groups and also all walks of life might be able to help to carry the story of democratic progress and the progress of liberty. We look forward to this excellent program in April, but we especially look forward to working with our partners.

Thank you very much.





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