Dr. Sam Cherribi, Emory University professor.

Emory University Professor Gives Lecture On Al Jazeera And The Arab World

TV channel Al Jazeera in Arabic has 350 million viewers in the Arab world, so ignoring its impact in the region would be a major mistake, Dr. Sam Cherribi told University of Georgia students and faculty in a presentation on March 29.

“Communication experts talk about the role of social media in the Arab Spring,” Dr. Cherribi said, “but sometimes people tend to forget that this communication was stimulated and orchestrated by Al Jazeera, whose program continued to be broadcast from Egypt during the popular revolt even when the authorities banned it.”

The guest was hosted at the University of Georgia by the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and by the Department of International Affairs of the School of Public and International Affairs.

The Cox Center is an international outreach unit of the Grady College.

Dr. Cherribi was introduced to the students and faculty by Dr. Cas Mudde, associate professor at SPIA, who said that he had known the speaker since Cherribi was a member in the Dutch Parliament.

Dr. Cherribi is senior lecturer in the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies at Emory University and is an associate senior lecturer in Emory’s Department of Economics. He also directs the Emory Development Initiative (EDI), which promotes development in low-income countries and works with faculty in Emory's Institute of Human Rights.

Prior to moving to Emory in 2003, Dr. Cherribi served as a member of Parliament in The Netherlands for two consecutive four-year terms (1994-2002), during which time he also represented The Netherlands in the Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Assembly of the West European Union.

In his lecture, the guest summarized the conclusions of his most recent book, “Fridays of Rage: Al Jazeera and the Arab Spring,” published by Oxford University Press in 2017.

Prior to his lecture in the Grady College, Dr. Cherribi spoke in the Athens Rotary Club to an audience of 80 people. The title of his presentation there was “What is Al Jazeera and Why President Trump Should Talk to Them.” He was accompanied to the Rotary Club by Dr. Tudor Vlad, associate director of the Cox Center, who organized this event.

“In order to combat terrorism in the region,” Dr. Cherribi told the audience, “the United States and the Western countries need the local Muslim people as allies, or at least not as enemies. Ignoring them or alienating them is not beneficial to anyone, and Al Jazeera is one of the best channels of communication to reach these people.”