Building a Shared Vision: Developing and Sustaining Media Education Partnerships in the Middle East

This article explores how media education partnerships will help institutions in the MENA and the U.S. provide culturally-appropriate education to their students, and the positive impact of each partnerships’ faculty and students being exposed to media, journalism and communication students and practitioners from other cultures and nations.

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Often the most fleeting contact with international visitors can have a far-reaching and unforeseen impact. Drawing from the authors’ media teaching,Building a Shared Vision: Developing and Sustaining Media Education Partnerships in the Middle East Articles research, and practice in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the article addresses the inspiring and enriching cultural impact of media education partnerships between the U.S. and the MENA. The article outlines keys to creating and sustaining successful media, journalism and communication university partnerships, reporting specifically on an international media education collaboration in progress between l’Institut de Presse et des Sciences de l’Information (IPSI), University of Manouba, Tunis and Bowling Green State University. The article also explores how media education partnerships will help institutions in the MENA and the U.S. provide culturally-appropriate education to their students, and the positive impact of each partnerships’ faculty and students being exposed to media, journalism and communication students and practitioners from other cultures and nations. It gives evidence as to how media education partnerships can not only develop professional standards in media, but also build capacity to strengthen democratic practices, build civil society, increase critical thinking and awareness, minimize and manage conflicts, fight negative stereotypes that often emerge as a reaction to governmental and corporate media discourses.

An increased attention to the growth of civil society in the Middle East and North Africa (see, for instance, Amin & Gher, 2000; Bellin, 1995; Borowiec, 1998; Brand, 1998; Darwish, 2003) reveals that civic discourse functions best where there is free access to information and where unhindered discussions allow citizens to examine all sides of civic issues. Because information and communication technology (ICT), media, and journalism are some of the most important sites for civic debate, they are essential partners in any nation’s efforts towards enhancing civil society. As nations in the Middle East and North Africa MENA continue to enhance civil society, it is imperative that their journalists and media and communication professionals have the professional training and dedication to maintain the highest codes of conduct and practice that will make them integral components in the process of building civil society.

At present, however, media critics have shown that the professional activity of journalists in MENA countries is still very vulnerable (Amin, 2002, p. 125). As an expected consequence, MENA education programs in the communication discipline, most notably in news media, journalism, telecommunications and media technologies, have tended to support powerful institutions and individuals, rather than civic discourse and the voices of students as citizens (Amin, 2002; Rugh, 2004; Lowstedt, 2004). For example, investigation on media systems in eighteen nations in the MENA (Rugh, 2004) revealed that radio and television in all these countries, excepting Lebanon, are still subordinated to powerful institutions. There have been several recent international summits acknowledging these concerns. For example, the 2004 conference of the Institute of Professional Journalists in Beirut on “Media Ethics and Journalism in the Arab World: Theory, Practice and Challenges Ahead”, had as one of its main themes the pressures on Arab media and journalists from local governments and other powerful players inside the Arab world. During the Arab International Media Forum held at Doha, in March 2005, workshop discussions underlined that the Arab media’s independence have yet to be established within countries where the media have been strictly controlled. And, perhaps the most important summit thus far this millennium, the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (UN WSIS), held in Tunis, November 2005, addressed the immense challenges of the digital divide and other concerns in the MENA.

Investigating educational partnerships in the MENA

As evidenced by summits on Arab, MENA and related global media, there is an emergent body of research on MENA media (see, for instance, Amin, 2002; Cassara & Lengel, 2004; Darwish, 2003; George & Souvitz, 2003; Lowstedt, 2004) and of research on the potential for media technologies generally and, specifically, in efforts to democratize the region (see for instance, Alterman, 1998; Dunn, 2000; Hamada, 2003; Isis International, 2003; Lengel, 2002a; Lengel, 2002b; Lengel, 2004; Lengel, Ben Hamza, Cassara, & El Bour, 2005). However, there is very little research focusing on the benefits and challenges of media education partnerships between nations in the MENA and those outside it. A broad-scale evaluation of the current situation of MENA media education is needed to fully assess the financial, pedagogical and attitudinal constraints found across the region. Additionally, what is needed is an exploration of how cooperation and collaboration, partnerships between the MENA and other regions to develop educational partnerships which can enhance media education in the region, through shared online resources, shared experience, mutual commitment to MENA media students’ academic and professional development, and positive interaction between those within and outside the region.

This article addresses such research needs by investigating the potential for partnerships in the MENA. It presents key components for creating and sustaining successful university partnerships in media, journalism, and communication. It also explores how media education partnerships can help universities within and outside the MENA to provide culturally-appropriate education and training to their media, journalism, telecommunications, new media, and communication students, develop innovative online and distance learning initiatives, cultivate a community of practice, and foster a positive impact of each partnerships’ faculty and students being exposed to those media instructors, researchers, students, and practitioners from other cultures and nations. The article reports specifically on a media partnership in progress between l’Institut de Presse et des Sciences de l’Information (IPSI) at the University of Manouba in Tunis, Tunisia and Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, USA. It focuses on the experiences of the faculty co-directing the partnership in media, journalism and international communication, particularly the process of developing and sustaining the partnership. The article reflects on the future vision of media education in the MENA, particularly the challenges and the future of investment in the media education by governments, educational institutions, and civil society and media organizations within and outside the region. Finally, it analyzes how media education partnerships can not only develop professional standards in media, but also build capacity to strengthen democratic practices, build civil society, increase critical thinking and awareness, minimize and manage conflicts, fight negative stereotypes that emerge as a result of the often inattentive, insensitive and inaccurate nature of governmental and corporate media discourses.

Partnerships and civil society building

Citizens, scholars, practitioners and civil society organizations argue much needs to be done to democratize media, journalism and unrestricted access to information and communication technology in the MENA (see Camau & Geisser, 2003; Cassara & Lengel, 2004; Chouikha, 2002; Newsom & Lengel, 2003; Tetreault, 2000). An important place to begin this transformation is to foster educational collaboration within and outside the MENA that recognizes the role that a free and independent media plays in transition to building democracy and which understands that journalists can serve as models of participants in democratic processes.

As MENA nations engage in building civil society, it will be critical that journalists in the region have not only the skills they need to do their work well, but also the insights necessary to negotiate the challenges posed by democratization. These insights are enhanced by international exchange. The ever-growing presence of information and communication technology (ICT) and the additional resources and challenges that ICT offers journalists and citizens alike create even more opportunities for democratic dialogue and international exchange (Eickelman & Anderson, 1999).

Because democratic dialogue is a hallmark of civil societies, exchange and dialogue between two international partners is at the heart of the international collaborative program “Capacity Building for a Democratic Press: A Sustainable Partnership to Develop Media and Journalism Curricula in Tunisia.” The program, which was launched in 2004 with a two-year funding commitment from the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI),1 highlights a hands-on practicum approach in which l’Institut de Presse et des Sciences de l’Information, University of Manouba, Tunis students benefit from practical professional journalism skills through internships with U.S. and MENA media organizations and engage in interactive and practical training in media and journalistic production and practice. This media educational partnership is creating sustainable core curriculum additions at the Tunisian partnership university including new program specializations in Women, Media and Democracy, as well as in Journalism and Human Rights. It is important to note that IPSI is the only press institute or program of study in Tunisia and, arguably, the only one in North Africa.

The partnership combines in-person and online contact between IPSI and BGSU faculty and the students with the cultural knowledge and both traditional university learning environments on the two campuses, and online through Blackboard, the BGSU online course delivery program. The project serves both undergraduate and graduate students at both partnership universities, enhances faculty instruction and online and face-to-face curriculum development, and creates sustainable and wide-reaching partnerships between academic institutions, civil society and NGOs, the private sector, and policy makers.

Developing a community of practice: Keys to successful media education partnerships

The most successful partnerships cooperate and collaborate as a community of practice. What brings members of a community of practice together is a shared vision and goals, and a passion for mutual dialogue (Preston & Lengel, 2004). Respect for human worth and dignity, individual voices, and wrestling with complex social issues are characteristics of democratic environments (Kubow & Fossum, 2003; Kubow & Kinney, 2000; Kubow, 1999).

Communities of practice are emerging as important bases for creating, sharing, and applying knowledge. These communities share ideas and innovations, collaborating across traditional hierarchical structures and geophysical boundaries. Part of the mission of the partnership discussed in this article is to maintain a sustainable community of practice in the area of media, journalism, communication and ICT. In this partnership a diverse and committed group of media, journalism, communication technology, comparative/international education and democratic education researchers, teachers, practitioners and students are engaging in the examination and creation of democratic media and online civic discourse. Through face-to-face meetings, online learning, several workshops in both the US and Tunisia, and participation in and reporting on the UN World Summit on the Information Society, the community of practice supports the concepts surrounding the development of a free and independent media and will internationalize and professionalize media institutions in the U.S. and Tunisia, and, more broadly across the MENA.

The partnership transcends traditional university course work and practice to become an actual community, sustainable beyond the 24-month schedule of grant-supported activities. Because of the commitment of the participating institutions, the community will sustain and grow through further curriculum development, research and related activities involving additional partners throughout the MENA. This will occur mainly due to the transformative nature of the interaction. Personal, direct contact with citizens from other culture and nations can break down stereotypical imagery and ideas, which often emerge the result of government and mainstream, corporate media discourses. The direct interaction, intensive collaboration and co-learning, and respectful dialogue of partnerships can create a level of compassionate interaction between the partnership participants who create the community of practice.

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Custom Military Rings

Each and every day, men and women in the military protect us, and protect our freedom, through their selfless sacrifice. And they are proud of their efforts and the traditions of the military.

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The reasons that custom military rings are important:Each and every day,Custom Military Rings Articles men and women in the military protect us, and protect our freedom, through their selfless sacrifice. We honor and respect them for their service in the armed forces and for their dedication. And they are proud of their efforts and the traditions ofthe military.

We cannot think of a better way for them to show their pride than a custom military ring that is a visual symbol of their service. We cannot think of a better way for us to honor them than with a custom military ring that reflects their strength of character and theircommitment to protect us all. In short, a custom military ring is a uniquely appropriate way to reflect a person’s service in the armed forces, either past or present.

Custom military rings can use any one of three basic types of designs:

1. The first type of design is a somewhat ornate ring that is very similar to a school ring or class ring. These types of custom military rings usually have a large semi-precious gem, crystal or colored stone set in the center. They also have several differentdesigns engraved partway down the sides of the band on each side of the central stone.

2. The second basic design that is used is a more streamlined, elegant ring with flowing, “clean” lines. This type of custom military ring sometimes consists solely of engraved precious metal at the top of the ring, but other times these rings are set with acentral semi-precious gem, crystal or other stone. The sides of the band of this type of ring are usually not decorated, and the ring has a strong, masculine appearance.

3. The third type of basic design for a custom military ring is a signet ring or seal ring that utilizes military coats of arms or insignia as the “seal” at the top of the ring. There is no center stone with this design.

Customization Options for custom military rings:

Any of these three basic designs can be customized by using one of the specific, highly symbolic heraldic-type crests, shields, coats-of-arms or insignia that are so frequently used in the military. A custom military ring can be designed to reflect a person’s service in a specific division, regiment, battalion, fleet, or other military ornaval unit. Custom military rings can also be designed to show that a person served in the armed forces during a particular war or a particular series of battles: World War 2 rings, Korean War rings, Vietnam War rings and Operation Desert Storm rings are all examples of military rings that have been customized in this way. Still other types of custom military rings incorporate the design of a specific combat medal or badge, or a specific rank insignia, into their design. Custom military rings even exist for ex-Prisoners of War.

A military ring can also be customized by engraving on the band the initials or name of the person who will be wearing it. This type of personalization further customizes a military ring and makes it doubly meaningful.

Custom military rings are stunning pieces of jewelry:

Custom military rings are usually made of precious metals such as gold, silver or platinum, and high-quality pieces have intricate detail. If a military crest, coat of arms or other heraldic device has been enhanced by being enameled, or if the center of the ring isinset with a colored gemstone, a custom military ring is quite striking.

Our soldiers and sailors are proud and faithful servants, always there when we need them. Each and every one of them would be proud to wear a deeply symbolic, visually stunning custom military ring.

Source: Free Guest Posting Article

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US Military Pay Scale – How To Get More Money!

Fast And Easy To Comprenend Military Pay Chart!

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The US Military Pay scale is for all military personnel who include the active-duty service members and reserves. The US Military pay scales for active-duty personnel are totally different from reserve military pay scales. However,US Military Pay Scale – How To Get More Money! Articles there are benefits that are available to both the military reserves and active-duty service members. Military Reserves are paid for attending training and drills.

The DFAS (Defense Finance and Accounting Service) administers the US military pay scale. This is done on behalf of the Federal Government. The military pay schedule is suitably structured to allow for promotions and career advancement. There are advancement procedures and pay scales created for highly qualified enlisting members. This applies to college/university graduates and highly experienced individuals. Check MilitaryPayChart-Assist.com for details. Lastly, it is important to note that the “pay for performance” system does not apply to the military pay schedule. The US military pay scale allows for cost of living adjustments for service members based overseas, outside the U.S. territory. This requirement is stated in the military pay acts passed by the U.S. Congress and through an executive presidential

US Military pay scales do not include allowances and tax. US Military reserve pay scales show only the basic amounts for each military pay grade. The US military pay scale is divided into three categories, namely, the Enlisted service members, the Commissioned officers and the Warrant officers. The US military pay scale is for all active duty full time military personnel.

The US military pay scale also includes pay scales for military reserves and guards. The military pay scale for enlisted reserves is divided into 9 grades. These are grades E-1 to E-9.The pay ranges from $173.00 per month for an E-1 with less than 2 years of service to $734.00 per month for an E-9 with over 26 years of service. The US military pay scale for reserve warrant officers is divided 5 grades. These are grades W-1 to W-5.The pay ranges from $321.00 per month for a W-1 with less than 2 years of service to $859.00 per month for a W-5 with over 26 years of service. The US military pay scale for reserve officers is divided into 13 categories.

The pay grade range O-1 to O-10 includes reserve officers from under 2 years of service to over 26 years of service. The pay ranges from $379.00 per month for an O-1 with less than 2 years to $1747.00 per month for an O-10 with over 26 years of service respectively. The US military pay scale for reserve officers also includes grades O-1E, O-2E and 0-3E.These are special grades for reserve officers with over 4 years of active service as an enlisted member (grade E) or warrant officer (grade W). The pay ranges from $413.00 per month for an O-1E with 4 years to $762.00 per month for an O-3E with over 26 years of service, respectively.

The US military pay scale for commissioned officers is divided into 13 grades. The pay grade range O-1 to O-10 includes commissioned officers from under 2 years of service to over 26 years of service. The pay ranges from $2469.00 per month for an O-1 to over $13100.00 per month for an O-10 respectively. The US military pay scale for commissioned officers also includes grades O-1E, O-2E and O-3E.These are special grades for commissioned officers with over 4 years of active service as an enlisted member (grade E) or warrant officer (grade W). The pay ranges from $3105.00 per month for an O-1E with 4 years to $5716.00 per month for an O-3E with over 26 years.

The US military pay scale for warrant officers is divided into 5 grades. These are grades W-1 to W-5.The pay ranges from $2412.00 per month for a W-1 with less than 2 years to $6838.00 per month for a W-1 with less than 2 years to $6838.00 per month for a W-5 with over 26 years of service. The US military pay scale for enlisted officers is divided into 9 grades. These are grades E-1 to E-9.The pay ranges from $1301.00 per month for an E-1 with less than 2 years of service to $5512.00 per month for an E-9 with over 26 years of service. An E-1 with less than 4 months of service gets $1204.00 per month.

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