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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

State Department official to present at Arab Journalism Conference Phil Frayne will review events sweeping the Middle East

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                       Ray Hanania
APRIL 13, 2011                                                                                  rayhanania  @
                                                                                                                        Laila alhusinni

State Department official to present at Arab Journalism Conference
Phil Frayne will review events sweeping the Middle East

Chicago/Detroit – U.S. State Department official Phil Frayne will join a panel discussion at the 6th Annual National American Arab Journalism Association convention addressing changes in the Middle East and American foreign policy.

Frayne, the Director of the Office of Press and Public Diplomacy for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, will join professional American Arab journalists George Hishmeh and Ali Younes during the panel which is one of 12 panels that will be presented on Saturday April 30, 2011 during the conference program.

Titled “American Arab Journalism 10 Years since Sept. 11th Strengthening our role in educating the American Public & the Arab World,” the 2011 NAAJA Journalism Conference will closely examine the challenges facing American Arabs in the decade since the terrorism attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“We’re very excited to have Mr. Frayne join our distinguished panels of speakers that will be presented in two separate conference rooms all day on Saturday during the conference,” said NAAJA National coordinator Ray Hanania.

“Mr. Frayne joins a panel of American Arab journalists who will discuss with attendees issues such as Arab world coverage of the pro-Democracy movements, the factors pushing for the change, and the challenges facing American Arab journalists seeking to educate the American public on Middle East issues.”

Mr. Hishmeh, an award winning veteran journalist and former president of the Washington Arab Journalism Association, will also offer special insights at a luncheon earlier in the day. The keynote speakers at the Gala Dinner that evening include Mohamed Abdel Dayem, Middle East & North Africa Program Coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Lawrence Pintak, the author of the new book “The New Arab Journalist.”

The conference emcee this year is Warren David, president of The dinner will also feature a presentation on the civil rights challenges since Sept. 11.

Other panels will explore issues ranging from the attacks against American Arab journalists Helen Thomas and Octavia Nasr to the controversy surrounding the release of the movie Miral. A complete listing of panels are online on the official conference web site at:

Click the Conference Drop Down Menu and select 2011 Dearborn Conference at the top of the website.

“American Arab journalists are under siege,” observed alhusinni. “From Helen Thomas to Octavia Nasr, we are being targeted because of what we represent. And, what we represent is a determination to insure that the mainstream news media is fair, accurate and includes the voices of American Arabs and Muslims in their daily reporting. That doesn’t always happen.”

The conference goals are to strengthen the growing network of American Arab Journalists, NAAJA and help launch more chapter networks in other cities. Currently, NAAJA has more than 300 members – there is no fee to join – and has five chapters including in Chicago, Dearborn, Washington D.C., Oregon and Austin.

NAAJA will also recognize three students with scholarships ranging from $1,000 to two $500 awards. NAAJA is dedicated to supporting young American Arabs to help them pursue careers in journalism.

More than 20 organizations and businesses and journalism associations are co-sponsoring the conference.

NAAJA also hosts the new Arab American News Wire ( which will pay freelance writers to write news and feature stories about American Arab and Muslim communities that will be distributed free-of-charge to American Arab and Muslim publications and media.

Registration is only $75 per person ($55 for students) and includes lunch and dinner plus full access to all panels on Saturday and the Saturday night Gala Banquet. The Hyatt is offering a special room rate of only $89 per night for conference attendees.

To register online or to get more information, please visit the official web page of NAAJA at  A link to the Dearborn conference, and past conferences, will direct you to registration.

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