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Media Relations

AU in the Media: 10/09/09

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Preparing to Welcome the Dalai Lama

American University was engaged in the national conversation about the Dalai Lama’s United States tour as the university prepared to welcome the spiritual leader to Washington, D.C.

Dahpon Ho, professor and specialist on East Asian history, spoke to Agence France-Presse about the Dalai Lama and the opposition against him in other countries. The story was published by 15 international news outlets. "Certainly the Dalai Lama's position as a spiritual leader and a human rights activist has never flagged. But in dealing with China, anything really can be constructed as a political statement," he said. "The fact that the Dalai Lama is even traveling around continues to upset China because his international profile has never died." (10/5/09

In an opinion piece for, Amitav Acharya, chair of the university's Association of Southeast Nations Studies Center, commented on why the president may have made a mistake by postponing his visit with the world’s best known advocate for Tibetan rights. “Obama needs to openly acknowledge his goals for relations between Tibet, China and the U.S.,” he said. “By pushing back a meeting with the Dalai Lama, he is risking more than squandering ideal diplomacy — he is risking his reputation as a human rights leader.” (10/9/09)

Other Features

U.S.-India Relations

American University welcomed Meera Shankar, India’s Ambassador to the United States, who spoke this week about strengthening economic and diplomatic ties. The 1-hour event was covered by C-SPAN, aired on C-SPAN2 and re-aired on C-SPAN3. "Indians and Americans have learned to respect diversity, embrace pluralism, and work across their personal identities for common national purposes," she said. "The India-U.S. partnership can and should be a bridge across our interconnected diverse world." (10/6/09)

OpEds and Editorials

Taking Risks, Learning Together

In an opinion piece for the Chronicle of Higher Education, Gemma Puglisi, professor of communication, discussed her decision to have her students study the case of Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis and provide research to support his defense. "I'm a firm believer that students learn best when applying everything they know to real life—especially in the communications field. I took a risk in making Troy's case part of my course," she wrote. "More than ever, I wanted students to understand that words are powerful and can make a difference. Was it worth the risk that some students might be upset by the case, or that some of my colleagues might think it an inappropriate topic for a writing course? Yes. Would I do it again? Absolutely." (10/6/09)

Increase Activity in Afghanistan

The United States could see more struggle in the future if it does not increase troop deployment to Afghanistan, Akbar Ahmed, professor of international relations and expert on the Middle East, wrote in an opinion piece for the Guardian (UK). "The enormous cost of losing in Afghanistan is yet to dawn on the American public. Should the U.S. and NATO withdraw, neighboring regional powers such as Russia, China and Iran will rush to fill the vacuum. None of them will be friendly to U.S. interests in the region," he wrote. (10/5/09)

Faculty and Quotes

New Supreme Court Term, New Supreme Court Justice

Stephen Wermiel, professor of law, discussed the Supreme Court’s new term and new justice Sonia Sotomayor in an Associated Press story, which was published by 239 news outlets, including the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, Houston Chronicle, and the Chicago Sun-Times. "It's like when you were little and a new kid joined the class," he said. "There was always a little air of excitement or anticipation because you didn't know how it would change the dynamic." (10/3/09)

Capture or Kill Terrorist Detainees?

Kenneth Anderson, professor of law, addressed options for the military to handle high-value terrorist detainees in a story for NPR’s All Things Considered. “To be perfectly blunt, I don't think that they'll pick them up at all,” he said. “I think that we've actually allowed the courts to arrange the incentives to kill rather than capture.”(10/8/09)

GLBT Bookstores Encourage a Sense of Community

Rodger Streitmatter, professor of communication, called attention to the need for bookstores serving the GLBT community in a Washington Blade article. "In many cities, a gay bookstore can serve as something of an unofficial gay community center. It's a place where people can come and not only buy books, but also hang out for awhile," he said. "A lot of cities don't have any other place where gay people can congregate like this, except the bars, and they serve a very different purpose."(10/2/09)