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Award-winning LAU grad uses blogs to break Western stereotypes of Arabs

July 13, 2009—

To break stereotypes some Westerners might have of Arabs, LAU graduate Faisal Abbas regularly posts articles on Arab affairs and media in The Huffington Post, an American news website and aggregated blog that features various news sources and columnists.

Abbas considers blogging as the “direct result of the democratization of communication brought on by new technology,” which enhances freedom of speech.

Using this communication channel, Abbas is determined to increase understanding among societies and “correct wrong perceptions, as things are often not what they seem and most of the time you do not see the full picture.”

He expects this medium to expand and mature with time. “At the moment everything is still very new and we are all still experimenting. However, as internet penetration increases, we are likely to see more blogging,” he says.

His innovative efforts were recognized at the International Media Awards in London on May 11, where he became the first Saudi of Lebanese origin to win the Cutting Edge Award.

His posts on The Huffington Post have provided him a platform to disseminate his opinions to other international media. He has been quoted in prominent publications and news channels, such as CNN, BBC World, The International Herald Tribune, Financial Times and The Times.

The Huffington Post … allows me to communicate with audiences that were outside my reach otherwise — it is also very credible and respected,” says Abbas.

He is one of the few Arab journalists to have written a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama upon his appointment explaining the expectations and concerns of Arabs.

Abbas has made his debut at Future Television while still a student at LAU where he majored in marketing and did a minor in communications arts, with a journalism emphasis.

He has also worked as a journalist for various leading Arab media outlets such as Al Hayat and Asharq Al-Awsat.

“Abbas is a very positive young man whose enthusiasm and open-mindedness always impressed me. He always looked for what he could learn from his experience at LAU, and never lost time on the negatives,” says Dr. Ramez Maluf, LAU associate professor of communication who taught Abbas several journalism courses.

Abbas is currently doing his M.A. in marketing communications at the Westminster Business School in London.

He believes that it is essential for journalism students to travel and interact with other societies. His advice to them is: “Leave home. Don’t depend on your parents. Put a smile on your face and a bag on your back and just go wherever your feet take you. The world is your oyster.”


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