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Former Senator Among New SMPA Fellows
September 16, 2011
Bob Bennett, Arun Chaudhary and P.J. Crowley join the School of Media and Public Affairs.
Former U.S. Senator Bob Bennett (R-Utah), former White House videographer Arun Chaudhary and P.J. Crowley, former assistant secretary of state for public affairs, will serve as School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA) fellows for the 2011-12 academic year.
In the run-up to next year’s presidential election, the fellows will provide behind-the-scenes insight to students and faculty.
“The School of Media and Public Affairs is very pleased to continue our long tradition of connecting our academic community with nationally recognized experts in media, communications and politics,” said SMPA Director Frank Sesno.
“For our future communicators to gain such high-level inside knowledge of political communication techniques is an extremely beneficial educational opportunity,” he said. “It is a perfect example of how our school excels at documenting the influence of media in politics in a world where digital and social media have changed the way people get information, mobilize and act.”
Mr. Bennett and Mr. Chaudhary will serve as distinguished professional fellows for SMPA. Mr. Chaudhary will also work with GW’s Center for Innovative Media on projects related to social media.
Mr. Crowley will serve as a professor of practice with SMPA and will work with GW’s Institute of Public Diplomacy and Global Communication, where he will collaborate with Director Sean Aday on programs, lectures and strategic initiatives. During the academic year, the fellows will interact with SMPA students at special lectures, class discussions, special events and seminars.
Mr. Bennett held a number of chairmanships and senior committee positions while in the U.S. Senate. He served as the ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water and a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and co-sponsored the Healthy Americans Act. He has also served as CEO of several technology companies and the Franklin International Institute, now known as Franklin Covey.
“I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for GW because so many Utahans have gone to school there including my father-in-law, who got his law degree at GW,” said Mr. Bennett. “I’ve watched the media world change from the days when Walter Cronkite could inform the entire nation to a time now of rampant blogs, 24-hour news cycles and information overload. It has created a clutter that has changed the relationship between an elected official and his constituency. We need to examine and discuss what this means for the country and our future.”
P.J. Crowley served as the assistant secretary of state for public affairs from 2009 until March 2011. During the Clinton administration, Mr. Crowley was special assistant to the president of the United States for national security affairs on the staff of the National Security Council. He also served as principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs.
Mr. Crowley spent 26 years in the Air Force, retiring at the rank of colonel in 1999. He appears frequently as a national security commentator on global television networks, including as a contributor to Al Jazeera English and the BBC. He is also a regular columnist for The Daily Beast.
“I am excited by the opportunity to contribute to the work of the Institute of Public Diplomacy and Global Communications and help chart its future,” said Mr. Crowley.
“Throughout my government career and particularly during my recent tenure at the Department of State, it’s clear the practice of public diplomacy will play an increasingly important and influential role in our interconnected world,” he said. “We can see dramatically how the dynamic interaction among policy, politics and the media, both new and old, is impacting relations among governments and between governments and their people. It is a great time to be studying these vital issues, and I am gratified to be able to do that within GW’s School of Media and Public Affairs.”
Arun Chaudhary was the first official White House videographer, a position created for him at the beginning of the Obama administration. He traveled extensively with the president, capturing public events and behind-the-scenes moments as well as producing and packaging presidential tapings. Mr. Chaudhary is the creator and architect of “West Wing Week,” the first-ever online video diary of the White House. He is now working on a book about how presidents have used video to document their presidencies.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be a fellow at the GW School of Media and Public Affairs this year,” said Mr. Chaudhary. “It will be the perfect environment for me to work on my book concerning politics, media and art through the lens of the Obama campaign and presidency. Although leaving the White House has been bittersweet for me, I know that working with the students here and getting to tap the brains of GW’s amazing faculty will be both instructive and fun.”