Journalist Walter Rodgers Lectures on Future of Pakistan

From: Public Affairs

February 20, 2008

HARRISONBURG Walter Rodgers, a former CNN senior international correspondent who worked as an embedded reporter in Iraq, will lecture on "Whither Pakistan: Creeping Talibanization or Secular Democracy?" at James Madison University.

DATE: Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008
TIME: 7 p.m.
LOCATION: Room 159, ISAT/CS Building, JMU


Rodgers, who is currently a distinguished scholar in residence at JMU's Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs, is speaking as a guest of the institute's Guardian Lecture Series. Admission to his presentation is free and open to the public.

Rodgers spent most of 2007 training journalists and carrying out research in Pakistan. He returned to the United States in January to teach a semester-long course on journalism and war for JMU students. He previously taught a similar course in the fall semester of 2006 when he came to the Nelson Institute after retiring as a CNN senior international correspondent based in London.

"We are really delighted to have Walter Rodgers back at JMU and especially fortunate to have his immediate analysis of the elections which are taking place in that critical country this week," said Dr. J. Peter Pham, director of the Nelson Institute. "I cannot help but recall that back in December he sent me an op-ed published in 'The Christian Science Monitor' arguing that 'any society that wants to move toward democracy in any meaningful sense must meet minimum requirements, including: an educated citizenry, a credible legal culture, reasonable transparency in government, and real religious tolerance' conditions which he found to be woefully lacking in Pakistan. His sobering judgment was that it was nave to expect that 'free and fair elections' would produce greater democracy and stability in the country. As it turns out, the very day his commentary was published, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated."

Prior to his last assignment for CNN, which began in September 2000, Rodgers served as the news network's bureau chief in Jerusalem for five and a half years. After 9/11, he traveled across Asia, reporting from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jordan and Turkey.

During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Rodgers was an embedded journalist with the U.S. Army's 7th Cavalry as it rolled toward Baghdad, an experience he chronicled in his book "Sleeping with Custer and the 7th Cavalry: An Embedded Reporter in Iraq," published by Southern Illinois University Press.

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