June 8, 2022
Lebanese American journalist Anthony Shadid died ten years ago while covering the conflict in Syria for The New York Times. His careful gathering of information, cultural fluency in the Middle East, and habit of listening to the local population wherever he was reporting, had earned him two Pulitzer Prizes. Now, a collaboration among AUB, Yale University’s Council on Middle East Studies, and former colleagues of Shadid examines his work to uncover what contributed to the power and effectiveness of his writing and its continued relevance in global reporting.
In April 2022, Yale University's MacMillan Center hosted a workshop of the play “A Thousand Strange Places: Anthony Shadid and the Middle East,” based in part on the Shadid archives in the special collections at AUB's Jafet Library. Shadid had received an honorary degree from AUB and was formerly the inaugural writer-in-residence at AUB's Issam Fares Institute. The play was written and produced by AUB professor and director of the Alwaleed Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR), Robert Myers. The production, in Arabic and English with music, sound and images, includes photographs by AUB’s George Azar, and starred AUB graduate Samer Kanaan in the role of Anthony Shadid.
A panel of journalists who knew and worked with Shadid talked about how he gathered material, wrote prolifically, and still took time to mentor young journalists. The panel, moderated by Rami Khouri, director of AUB’s Global Engagement Initiative, included Anne Barnard, formerly The New York Times Beirut bureau chief; Philip Bennett and Rajiv Chandrasekaran, both formerly of The Washington Post; Leila Fadel, co-host of National Public Radio's "Morning Edition"; Rhonda Roumani, an affiliate at the Yale Council on Middle East Studies, formerly of The Christian Science Monitor; and Thanassis Cambanis, director of Century International.
A full production of A Thousand Strange Places will premiere next year at Golden Thread Theater in San Francisco, which is directed by AUB Assistant Professor of Theater and Theater Initiative co-founder, Sahar Assaf. The panel discussion can be viewed here.