Pulitzer Center journalists to discuss international reporting, nuclear weapons at April 5 lecture
Reza Sayah and Rachel Oswald will host a 7 p.m. talk in the screening room (Room 013) of McEwen Communications Building.
Journalists Reza Sayah and Rachel Oswald, who are funded by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, will host a community lecture in the School of Communications on Thursday, April 5. The two reporters have extensive experience covering international topics such as nuclear weapons, human rights concerns, the refugee/migrant crisis and the war in Afghanistan.
The 7 p.m. lecture will be held in the screening room (Room 013) of McEwen Communications Building. During their two-day visit to Elon, the journalists will also meet with School of Communications classes and student journalists.
Currently based in Tehran, Iran, Sayah has worked for Al Jazeera and was CNN’s correspondent based in Cairo where he covered the Middle East and North Africa. Prior to his Egyptian posting, the Iran-born journalist was CNN’s Pakistan-based correspondent responsible for covering Pakistan and surrounding countries in South Asia. During his career, Sayah has reported on numerous world events including the Egyptian Revolution, the war in Afghanistan, the Ukrainian Revolution, the Libyan Revolution, and the disputed 2009 presidential elections in Iran.
Last fall, when U.S. President Donald Trump declared that he would not certify Iran’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement, “PBS NewsHour” dispatched Sayah to Tehran for a news feature segment on the nuclear deal from Iran’s perspective. Trump’s decision left it up to Congress to decide whether to reimpose sanctions and effectively scuttle the deal. Sayah reported that Iranians across the political spectrum were dismayed by President Trump’s decision, and that killing the agreement played into the hands of regime hard-liners.
The Iranian-American correspondent holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Pepperdine University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, Columbia.
Since 2014, Oswald has worked as a foreign policy reporter for CQ Roll Call, covering the intersection of Congress and foreign affairs. She has reported on congressional oversight of the State Department, the foreign aid budget, the Iran nuclear deal, sanctions policy, human rights concerns, the refugee/migrant crisis, and arms control treaties. Previously, she spent five years at National Journal’s Global Security Newswire covering nuclear weapons issues.
Oswald received her B.A. in Middle Eastern studies in 2006 from George Washington University. Additionally, she serves as the vice chair of the National Press Club’s Press Freedom Committee and as co-chair of the club’s International Correspondents Committee.
The two-time Pulitzer Center fellow is also a past fellow of the International Reporting Project, the Japan Foreign Press Center, and the National Endowment for Democracy. She has reported from Japan, Austria, Russia, Kazakhstan and the Dominican Republic.
In early 2018, Oswald traveled to South Korea to explore that country’s growing interest in acquiring nuclear weapons. She has reported on growing public sentiment in favor of nuclear weapons, steps that the U.S. took in the 1970s and 1990s to dissuade Seoul from that course, and the degree to which public support for going nuclear is tied to anxieties about U.S. security guarantees under President Trump. She also examined the potential for redeployment of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons on South Korean territory.
Elon is one of the Pulitzer Center’s more than 30 Campus Consortium partners, an educational initiative that brings Pulitzer Center staff and journalists to Elon’s campus twice a year. With Elon’s membership in the consortium, students have the opportunity to work with the center on developing international reporting projects, which have been featured on the center’s website and can be disseminated through media partners.
The April 5 lecture is sponsored by the School of Communications, the Department of Political Science & Policy Studies, and the Turnage Family Faculty Innovation and Creativity Fund for the Study of Political Communication.