A University of Arizona journalism professor has spent the last two weeks in the Middle East offering hands-on training to Afghan journalism professors as part of a $1 million project to help a university in Afghanistan develop a journalism department of its own.
Professor Maggy Zanger spent July 4-18 in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates training journalism professors from Afghanistan. Four U.S. universities, including the the University of Arizona, through its School of Journalism, are partnered with five universities in Afghanistan to help strengthen their journalism curricula.
As part of the three-year effort, funded by the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, 25 Afghans gathered in Dubai to learn video production, multimedia techniques, English language, syllabi development and teaching methods. The training took place at the Dubai Men’s College, which donated classrooms and technology support.
“It’s a rare chance for the five different Afghan universities to get together and compare methods and share difficulties,” said Diane Guerrazzi, program director, “and to plot their future – especially given the uncertain future of Afghanistan.”
Zanger presented modules on class and syllabi development, lead writing and techniques to encourage active learning.
She showed the professors two training videos produced at the UA this spring about guided fieldwork and the usage of small groups in large classes. The videos were produced by Sam McNeil, a graduate student pursuing a dual degree in journalism and Middle Eastern and North African studies, and Anissa Tanweer, who received her master’s in the same dual-degree program in May.
Noorullah Dawari, the Afghan translator who spent this spring in the UA School of Journalism, subtitled the videos into Pashto. Susan Knight, an associate professor of practice in the School of Journalism, provided the content.
The Dubai training has been popular with the trainees, Zanger said.
“It’s a good program,” said Sayed Samiullah Saeedi, a participant from Jalalabad. “It’s added a lot to our knowledge and skills.”
Ten educators from Ball State University, San Jose State University, the University of Nebraska Omaha and the UA are teaching and mentoring the Afghan professors. The UA School of Journalism is partnered with Nangarhar University in Jalalabad.