By Reem Fakhri
Media specialists, academics, AUS students and alumni will interact through several discussion panels at the GCC Media Education Congress: Education for Employment—Realizing Youth Potential in the Arab Media, which will be held on February 19 at the American University of Sharjah (AUS).
The conference, which is organized by the Department of Mass Communication and the Strategic Communication and Media Department at AUS, will shed light on important ideas that could bridge the gap between academic media education training and industry practices in the mass communication market.
When asked about the importance of the conference, Dr. Mohammad Ayish, Head of the Department of Mass Communication at AUS, stated, “The main issue here is to try to critically think about the relationship between academia and the industry. This is a very important point because the curriculum in universities should be built around market needs … and that requires some sort of feedback from the market, from employers about what we teach in the classroom here.”
Miriam Kiwan, Director of Strategic Communications and Media at AUS, called the event an “opportunity for academics, industry practitioners, students and recent graduates to openly discuss issues relating to the gap between media education and practice and to collectively engage in finding solutions to help prepare students to have relevant knowledge and experience to meet the current and future needs of the market.”
Keynote speaker Dr. Philip Seib, Professor of Journalism and Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California, will provide a comparative perspective of North American and Middle Eastern Media Education Models.
Among the many media experts speaking at the conference are Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmed Al Qassimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Corporation; Ali Jaber, Group TV Director of MBC Group; Caroline Faraj, CNN Arabic Digital Services Director and CNN Dubai Chief Operation Director; and David Butorac, Chief Executive Officer of Orbit Showtime Network.
Dr. Hania Nashef, Dr. Mahboub Hashem, Dr. Ilhem Allagui and Dr. Ralph Berenger from the Department of Mass Communication will be speaking at the conference.
Panels scheduled for the event include “The Media Personality of Tomorrow in the GCC/MENA Region,” “Bridging the Gap Between Academia and Industry,” “Arabic as a Language of Media Production and Education,” “Digital Media Opportunities and Challenges,” and “Talk Shows’ Role in Arab Media.”
AUS alumni Iman Fawaz, Saud Al Kaabi, Haneen Al Hassan and Nadia Saleem have been invited to participate in the discussion panels, along with current student Mina Zuberi.
The full conference schedule is available at www.aus.edu/gmec.
Reem Fakhri is a mass communication student at the American University of Sharjah.