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Communication & Development Studies Newsletter

Winter Edition


IN THIS ISSUE Comm Dev Celebrates its Silver Anniversary Almunus Dalya Massachi UNICEF C4D Workshop at Ohio University

Scripps College of Communication

CONTENTS Communication and Development Studies Celebrates its Silver Anniversary .....................................................................................


Communicating with Comm Dev Alumni Dalya Massachi (1997 program grad) ..........................................................................


UNICEF C4D Workshop at Ohio University .............................................................


Student Activities (Summer and Fall 2012) ..................................................................


Communication and Development Studies Class of 2014 ..................................


Copyright Š 2012 Communication and Development Studies. Winter Edition, 2012 Contributors Nii Kotei Nikoi Ayantu Tibeso Lawrence Wood Communication and Development Studies Yamada International House Ohio University Athens, OH 45701




The Ohio University Communication and Development Studies program recently completed its 25th year. To celebrate this accomplishment, a day-long ‘Silver Anniversary’ event was held at Ohio University on Friday, October 26th, 2012. More than 100 people attended the event, including, among others, former program directors, numerous alumni, current students, and Ohio University faculty affiliated with the program. Some of the day’s main activities included panels organized by the program’s former directors, a keynote speech by a Communication and Development Studies program alum, and a silver anniversary party in the evening. Indicative of the dedication of those who have been involved with the program over its 25-year history was the number of alumni who traveled to Athens to attend the celebration; the fact that all five of the program’s former directors participated in the event; and the amount of work that the current Comm Dev students devoted to organizing the day’s activities.

Each of the five former Comm Dev directors either organized or participated in a panel session, which focused on themes that included cultural industries and social change; engaging the development industry in grant-related activities; and trends over time in the field of development communication.A number of the program’s alumni participated in the panels, including Lauren Brown Vulanovic (2008 Comm Dev graduate, who currently works for the World Health Organization), and Carolyn Walcott (2011 Comm Dev graduate, and current Director of the Centre for Communication Studies at the University of Guyana). Carolyn contributed to the panel session titled Cultural Industries and Development/Social Change, which was organized by the very first graduate of the Comm Dev program, Dr.Vibert Cambridge. A panel organized by Dr. Drew McDaniel (Comm Dev Director 2000-2002, and member of the group that helped establish the Comm Dev Program in the 1980s) titled Communication and Development

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– Taking the Academic Career Path, included five program alums, all of whom now work as professors. The alumni on the panel included Dr. Masudul Biswas (2007 Comm Dev graduate, and now an Assistant Professor at Shippensburg University); Dr. Vladimir Bratic (2001 graduate, and now an Associate Professor at Hollins University); Dr. Hala Guta (2006 graduate, and now an Assistant Professor at Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University); Dr. Musonda Kapatamoyo (2003Comm Dev graduate, and now an Assistant Professor at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville); and Dr. Patrick Murphy (1990 Comm Dev graduate, and now an Associate Dean at Temple University). The day’s events also included time set aside for relatively informal, topic-based discussions, such as the one focused on Gender Issues in Communication and Development, which included participation from a number of Comm Dev affiliated faculty members at Ohio University, and was moderated by Dr. Jenny Nelson (Associate Professor, School of Media Arts and Studies, Ohio University). The final panel of the day – Communication and Development: Past,


Present, and Future – was organized by Dr. Josep Rota (Comm Dev Director from 1986-1996, and founder of the Comm Dev Program), and included as panelists Dr. Srinivas Melkote (Professor, School of Media and Communication, Bowling Green State University), and Dr. Don Flournoy (Professor, School of Media Arts & Studies, and a member of the group that founded the Comm Dev Program). Carolyn Davis, a 1998 program graduate, gave the keynote speech in the early evening, where she reflected upon how the program has influenced her own career, and discussed the difficulties with pursuing an agenda dedicated to positive social change in the contemporary media environment. Since graduating from the program in the mid-1990s, Carolyn has served on the Editorial Boards of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Columbus Dispatch, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she currently works as a reporter. Over the course of her career, Carolyn’s articles have typically focused on matters of social and global concern, including articles on human trafficking, humanitarian efforts in Haiti after the earthquake, what malnutrition looks like on a global scale, and abuses against children in northern Uganda. Her keynote speech was followed by the Silver Anniversary party, which lasted late into the night, and also served as a segue between the anniversary event and the Global Fusion Conference, which was held at Ohio University the following two days.




Dalya Massachi

Writing to Make a Difference: 25 Powerful Techniques to Boost Your Community Impact.

Dalya Massachi has over two decades of professional experience in writing and editing for community-oriented organizations, where she also has substantial experience in the areas of fundraising, program development, and management. She currently works as an independent communications and fundraising consultant for U.S. as well as international organizations, and she is the author of the award winning book Writing to Make a Difference: 25 Powerful Techniques to Boost Your Community Impact. Prior to enrolling in the Comm Dev program in 1995, Dalya worked for three years as a freelance journalist, editorial consultant, and fundraising assistant for nonprofit organizations. While in the Comm Dev program, she began writing a column for the Columbus Dispatch. After graduation, she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and worked full-time as a grant writer, and in 1999 she founded an umbrella organization for NGOs in the Bay Area – the Bay Area International Development Organizations ( She worked part-time as the organization’s director for about 5 years, until stepping down in 2004 to focus on her business as a writing trainer, coach, speaker, and editor.Ayantu Tibeso, a second year student in the Comm Dev program, recently caught up with Dalya to ask her a few questions about her experience in the Comm Dev program, and related questions about her professional life after graduation. (Ayantu) What was the most helpful aspect of the Comm Dev program for your career? (Dalya): The contacts I met,

the experience I got in internships and on campus, the credential of an advanced degree, as well as the support of being with other likeminded folks. I took both the communications and the development parts of the program


into my future work, but it turned out quite differently than I had imagined when I was a student. I think the program informed my global perspective overall, no matter if I am working on domestic or international issues. After all, the lines have blurred tremendously between those two “silos.” I really appreciated the practical, hands-on nature of the Comm Dev program, as I know many others whose graduate studies were more academic in nature. (Ayantu) What were some of the experiences that prepared you for your career? (Dalya) I would say my early

experiences in childhood and early adulthood formed a solid foundation, and having an adventurous, curious nature helped a lot. Mentors along the way have been crucial, as well as traveling and meeting many different types of people. (Ayantu) What advice would you give to Comm Dev students who are interested in following a similar career path? (Dalya) Definitely get as much real-

world experience as possible while you’re in school. Also, make as many connections with others as you can – online and offline, and follow-up with them after graduation. You never know where something may lead. I would also encourage them to realize that everything is global now and your studies can be applied across the board, in many fields. (Ayantu) Are there things that you wish you had known more about when you were a Comm Dev student that could have helped you with your career? (Dalya) When I was

in the program, the Internet was just getting started. My first email experience was at OU. If I were in school now I would take advantage of so many other resources online! (Ayantu) What is your most memorable moment in the Comm Dev program? (Dalya) I would

say it’s really a series of moments interacting with other students from around the world, as well as professors from different departments.


Participants at the CD4 workshop

For the second year in a row, Ohio University partnered with UNICEF for a nine-month blendedlearning course on Communication for Development (C4D).The course begins with three online modules focusing on issues such as values and concepts in communication for development; social change theory; and monitoring and evaluation (M&E). For the past two years, the online training part of the course has been followed by a face-to-face workshop held on the Ohio University campus. This past summer, back-to-back, two-week long workshops brought approximately 100 UNICEF staff members from all over the world to campus, where, among other things, C4D concepts were applied in practice, with UNICEF staff members working with community-based organizations in and around Athens, Ohio. UNICEF was created by the United Nations after

World War II to provide assistance to children throughout the world, particularly to those confronted by food, clothing, health care, and related needs.The blended-learning course has its roots in Ohio University’s Communication and Development Studies master’s program (Comm Dev), and was developed and organized by a number of faculty members currently and historically involved with the program. Current and former Comm Dev students have provided various elements of support to the program over time as well. Demand among UNICEF staff workers to enroll in the online training course has been high and continues to grow, speaking to the ever-increasing relevance of C4D in the field of international development.This upcoming spring, the blended-learning course will begin its third year of activity.



Claudia Nieto at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 61st Annual Meeting in Atlanta

CONFERENCE AND WORKSHOP ACTIVITIES In October, Zulfia Zaher presented a paper titled The Problematic Socialization of Child Marriage in Afghanistan: Internationalization, Social Identity, and Agency, at the Global Fusion Conference, which was held at Ohio University. For more than ten years, the Global Fusion Conference has promoted academic excellence in global media and international communication studies. In October, Priyanka Silmi, a first year student in the program, attended a Women’s and Gender Studies Workshop held in Mankato, Minnesota. Her presentation was designed to encourage participants to share their perceptions about the challenges faced by sexual assault support centers at U.S. universities. In November, Claudia Nieto traveled to The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 61st Annual Meeting in Atlanta to present her work titled Healthy Housing for Healthy Living: A Comprehensive Strategy to Control Chagas Disease in Southern Ecuador.


In November, first year student Nihal Said attended the 7th Annual Knowledge Globalization Conference, held at Suffolk University in Boston, MA. Nihal gave a presentation titled Egypt’s 2011 Revolution: Social Media as a Tool for the Evolution of Global Communication Culture. Along with Visiting Assistant Professor Dr. Karen Greiner, second year Comm Dev students Cynthia Hannah, Claudia Nieto, and Camilo Perez traveled to San Francisco to participate in a hackathon with IDEO, an innovative global design firm. Second year students Claudia Nieto, Ayantu Tibeso, and Zulfia Zaher had a panel accepted for the Central States Communication Association Conference that will be held in Kansas City this spring.The panel session is titled Communicating the Possible for Transformation of Society: Experiences from Afghanistan, Colombia, Ecuador and Ethiopian Diaspora.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES Camilo Perez worked as a Graduate Assistantship over the summer with the Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI) on Journalism and Media program hosted at Ohio University. In July, 2012 program graduates Liliana Acevedo Callejas and Hoang Nguyen, along with second year students Cynthia Hannah and Claudia Nieto, travelled to Ecuador to participate in the Healthy Living Initiative project, a multidisciplinary initiative led by Dr. Mario Grijalva of Ohio University’s Tropical Disease Institute, in collaboration with graduate programs in the Center for International Studies.

Camilo Perez, Claudia Nieto, and Cynthia Hannah served as key support staff for the two UNICEF C4D workshops held on the Ohio University campus this past July and August. Shafiq Mohammad completed an internship in Afghanistan this past summer with the United States Institute of Peace, where he worked on a participatory radio drama project designed to promote rule of law in his home country. Meanwhile, Nenden Fathiastuti also returned to her home country to complete an internship with UUProject. net, a citizen journalism initiative in Indonesia – but even more importantly, in September Nenden gave birth to a beautiful baby girl!

Claudia Nieto in Ecuador

Liliana Acevedo Callejas in Ecuador

AWARDS AND FELLOWSHIPS In October, Priyanka Kazi Silmi was awarded a grant from the Ohio University CRSCA Discretionary Fund, which is designed to support student research, scholarship, and creative activities. Priyanka was also offered a Graduate Assistantship for the spring semester to work in the School of Public Health and Social work. In November, second year student Claudia

Nieto was awarded a Graduate Student Senate travel grant. These grants are intended to further graduate education through participation in seminars, workshops, and conferences. In December, first year student Chikondi Khangamwa was offered a GA position in Ohio University’s College of Medicine for the upcoming spring semester.



CLASS OF 2014 Alicia Aikens comes from Clarendon, Jamaica. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of the West Indies at Mona, where she majored in Media and Communication with a specialization in social marketing and a minor in International Relations. Before coming to Ohio University, Alicia worked as a Public Relations Officer at the Office of His Excellency the Governor General of Jamaica. She also worked as a Media, Advocacy and Communication Intern with the Foundation for Development of Caribbean Children (FDCC), formerly the Caribbean Child Support Initiative. Alicia’s research interests are health communication, early childhood education and development, and media for social change. She has passion for art and strives to continue to develop her skills in painting.

Mohammad Ala Uddin is from Dhaka, Bangladesh. He has a master’s degree in Journalism, Media and Communication from the University of Dhaka, for which he received a prestigious NORAD fellowship to support his studies. Mohammad has extensive professional experience, including as a Research Assistant on a project sponsored by the Brooks World Poverty Institute and the Institute of Development Policy and Management; working as a Communications and Outreach Coordinator with the Bangladesh Youth and Environmental Initiative in Dhaka; and writing for magazines and newspapers, including working for three years with a national daily in Bangladesh. Mohammad’s research interests include ICTs for development, particularly applications of cellular phone technologies in relation to social change. Upon completing his degree he plans to earn a PhD.

Katty Alhayek is from Syria. She earned an undergraduate degree in Media and Journalism in 2008. Following that she worked for a Syrian organization dedicated to promoting women’s and children’s rights. She also worked as a Communication Officer and Trainer with the Geneva Institute for Human Rights (GIHR), and as a volunteer with local NGO’s on campaigns against honor crimes and discrimination laws. In March 2011, with a team of five young journalists she launched a web magazine which highlights issues faced by youth in Syria and the surrounding region. Katty received a competitive fellowship from the Open Society Institute to study in the U.S.After completing her degree she plans to start an organization and magazine committed to promoting women’s rights, and her research interests broadly center around gender, ICTs, and development.



CLASS OF 2014 Qinying Chen is from Yichang, China, a city located along the Yangtze River in Hubei Province. She graduated in 2012 with a degree in Journalism from Nanjing University, one of China’s oldest and most prestigious universities. While an undergraduate student, Qinying interned with China Central Television (CCTV), where she identified, planned, and edited local news content. She also had internships with the Three Gorges Evening Newspaper and the Workers’ Newspaper of Jiangsu Province, where among other things she edited and managed website news content. Her research interests relate to issues such as the relationships between blogging and development, and after she completes her degree she hopes to return to China to contribute to addressing the country’s development challenges. In her spare time Qinying loves to read and write.

Reda Hassan was born in Batloun, Lebanon, a small town in the Lebanese Mountains. He lived there until he moved to Beirut for undergraduate studies. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Advertising and Public Relations from Lebanese University, one of the top public universities in Lebanon. His professional experience includes media and event management for a consulting company in Beirut, where he planned and coordinated a series of corporate events. Overall, these events helped establish networks between members of the Lebanese private sector, local NGOs, the media, and citizens. Facilitating these types of networks and activities continues to be an area of interest for Reda. He was awarded a competitive fellowship from the Open Society Institute to study in the U.S.

Chikondi Khangamwa is from Lilongwe, Malawi. He came to the Communication and Development Studies program with 10 years of experience working in the field of development. After graduating from the University of Malawi with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Environmental Health, Chikondi joined Africare Malawi, where he worked as the Assistant Malaria Coordinator in the NGO’s Child Survival Program. Thereafter he worked for the global health organization PSI, where he conducted work in areas that included malaria prevention and health-related social marketing initiatives. Before coming to Ohio University this fall, he worked for four years with UNICEF as a Communication for Development Officer. Chikondi is a gifted singer/song writer, script writer, and actor, but more than anything he loves spending time with his two children.



CLASS OF 2014 Abhijit Mali is from Pune, India, and he comes to the program on a Fulbright Scholarship. After earning his Bachelor’s degree in Commerce and Business Administration in 2005, he worked for six years in the area of sound mixing and recording, where he spent much of his time leading technical teams that handled large-scale, live events in India. As part of his work with the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, he set up a community radio facility that broadcasts to over 40 rural and tribal villages in Southern India. His professional experience also includes working on public health campaigns, particularly in relation to tobacco and alcohol awareness. His current research interests center around health communication and health care as it relates to women and children in developing countries. Abhijit loves watching movies and playing cricket and soccer.

Nii Kotei Nikoi is from Accra, Ghana. He attended Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, one of the premier universities in science and technology in West Africa. He has extensive experience and professional skills in areas that include multimedia design, web applications, and digital photography. His professional background includes working as a as publication and website specialist for the Millennium Development Authority in Ghana, and as a Graphic Designer for SW Global. He is currently the webmaster for the Communication and Development Studies program’s website, and his research interests include photo journalism, new media, and advanced multimedia applications in relation to development issues. Among other things he loves photography and playing cricket.

Nihal Said is from Cairo, Egypt, where she recently completed her undergraduate degree in Statistics and Economics at Cairo University. As an undergraduate she worked as a research assistant on various development projects, including the Cairo University/UNDP Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Awareness Initiative, and she served as the head of the Cairo University Delegation to the National Model United Nations in New York. Nihal also has experience working as a Media Planner at Omnicom Media Direction, where she conducted consumer and audience research and helped design related marketing strategies. Nihal received an Open Society Institute fellowship to study in the U.S. She loves to play volleyball and to meet people from different cultures.



CLASS OF 2014 Kazi Priyanka Silmi is from Dhaka, Bangladesh. Before coming to Ohio University, she worked as a Communications Specialist, and later on as the Manager of Donor Relations, at Walk for Life in Bangladesh, where she was involved in areas that included advocacy for disabled children’s services, developing and managing newsletter and website content, public relations, grant writing, and donor relations management. Her professional experience also includes working as a Research Assistant with the Center for Gender, Sexuality and HIV/AIDS, a UNAIDS initiative dedicated to promoting sexual and reproductive rights. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, where she majored in Marketing. Priyanka’s research interests include violence against women, health communication, social marketing, and ICTs. She is an aspiring writer who enjoys traveling, new experiences, and meeting new people.

Tracy Tinga is from a rural town in the coastal province of Kenya. When she was growing up,Tracy was inspired and motivated by her immediate environment, which led to her interest in pursuing work in the development field.Tracy earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications at Africa Nazarene University. After graduation, she worked for Reel Forge, a media monitoring company in Nairobi, where she was involved in areas that included marketing and media content analysis. Upon graduation, Tracy hopes to pursue a PhD and to eventually teach and conduct research in the field of Communication and Development. Her current research interests center around ICTs and development in rural areas. She loves the outdoors as well as reading and watching movies.

Michael Wolven is originally from New Haven, Connecticut, but has lived and worked in various parts of the world. For the last decade, Michael has served refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) in Yemen, Palestine, Tanzania, and the U.S., where his job profile has included, among other things, identifying and interviewing refugees to assess resettlement needs; designing and implementing training programs to build the capacity of community-level social service agencies; and supervising program operations. His current interests center around improving the U.S. refugee resettlement program policies, and enriching cultural orientation programs for U.S. bound refugees. Michael is also interested in the areas of entertainment-education and health communication. Amongst his many hobbies and interests, Michael is a fan of 1950s Armenian Film Noir, and he collects yupana.



Copyright © 2012 Communication and Development Studies. Winter Edition, 2012 Communication and Development Studies Yamada International House Ohio University Athens, OH 45701

Center for International Studies

Scripps College of Communication

Comm Dev Winter 2012