"AUSACE, the Arab-U.S. Association for Communication Educators was established in 1995 to encourage and support the advancement of professional relationships among Arab and U.S. university faculty and students and media professionals."
AUSACE 2013 has convened in Tangier, and the launch was last night at the Legation. Thanks to our fruitful partnership with the sponsor, Tangier's King Fahd Advanced School of Translation, we hosted communications educators and practictioners from the Arab world, Europe, and the U.S.
Going beyond the inevitable "Arab Spring" analysis, the participants are devoting the week to discussing everything from "hacktivism" to "translation in wartime." Workshops in participatory democracy and journalism in times of crisis give a practical tilt to what might have otherwise seemed an exercise in paper-presentation.
From the conference rationale, under the theme of "New Horizons of Communication in a Time of Crisis," some key questions:
- Is it possible to think of communication differently so as to be able to better decipher the crisis phenomena and curb them?
- What is the share of responsibility of the professionals from all fields of media, irrespective of their specialization, in the malfunctioning of intercultural communication systems on the global level?
- Along the continuum between the two extremes; collective commitment and individual responsibility, where does freedom of expression fall, liberty begin and auto-censorship end?
- How can we protect reality against the technological manipulation of facts? What would be the appropriate pedagogical approach to adopt for training our novice journalists and communicators?
- What is the impact of crisis on cross-cultural and cross-religious dialogues? Are there any links between Occupy Wall Street (OWS), Indignados and the Arab Spring?
Some of the conference participants were return visitors to the Legation, but for most, it was a chance to discover TALIM and to add it to their list of "musts" for follow up research (many were captivated, not only by the building and the museum, but by our library).
For TALIM, welcoming the AUSACE participants was a chance not only to introduce the Legation and the various facets of TALIM, but to highlight our core theme of communication between Americans and Moroccans from the outset of the US in the 1770s.