Afghan Students to Intern at Bay Area Media Outlets

Contact: Pat Lopes Harris, 408-656-6999

SAN JOSE, CA — San Jose State University has received a $1.2 million federal grant to train Afghan professors to teach modern journalism. The effort will link San Jose State and Herat University in western Afghanistan for three years.

“A free press and professionalized journalism trade is critical to the stable and vibrant Afghanistan that our Afghan and international partners are working so hard to realize,” Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, U.S. State Department Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said in a statement. “Governments cannot do this alone, however, which is why I am truly inspired and heartened by this commitment by San Jose State University’s journalism school.

“Herat, Afghanistan’s third largest city, is close to the western border with Iran and of great cultural and historical significance. The future of Afghanistan depends on equipping the younger generation with the tools they need to rebuild their country, so I would like to thank San Jose State University for your role in making the future of Afghanistan a little brighter — your commitment today will change lives,” Holbrooke continued.

“San Jose State University welcomes the opportunity to help bring peace and democracy to Afghanistan by developing a program that will foster the growth of a free press and professional journalism,” said William Briggs, director of the SJSU School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

SJSU Assistant Professor of Journalism Diane Guerrazzi and Lecturer Peter Young will co-administer the program. They will develop curriculum modules and train Herat University faculty and staff, traveling to Afghanistan when it is safe to do so. Subsequently, Afghan students will participate in internships at Bay Area media outlets.

“Our goal is to create a foundation of understanding between Afghans and Americans, with San Jose State at the center of ongoing relations,” Guerrazzi said. “This grant also supports SJSU’s globalization efforts, and fosters our ties with the South Bay’s Afghan community.”

Guerrazzi is a longtime TV news reporter specializing in educational exchanges with the Middle East. Young is a former Fulbright Scholar with a broad international background and multimedia expertise. The grant includes funding for the establishment of Internet-based radio and TV broadcast channels.

San Jose State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 27,400 students and 3,190 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.