August 24, 2012

Fostering Change through Peace Journalism

Fulbright alumnus Steven Youngblood is the August State Alumni Member of the Month. Building on the skills and interests he developed during his participation in the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, first in 2001 in Moldova and again in 2007 in Azerbaijan, Steven has become a leader in the field of peace journalism. He said, “The Fulbright Program launched my career, gave me focus and direction, and gave me the confidence to successfully operate in any environment under any circumstances.”

Steven found his passion for peace journalism while on his second Fulbright exchange in Azerbaijan. As he states, “My first Fulbright in Moldova … helped me understand that my future as a journalist and academic would have a strong international flavor. It was during my Azerbaijan Fulbright that I was first bitten by the peace journalism bug, and realized the higher calling to which I believe journalists must answer. Peace journalism has been the focus of my research and my overseas outreach efforts since.”

Steven currently serves as an associate professor of communication arts at Park University in Parkville, Missouri, where he founded the Center for Global Peace Journalism. Through the center, Steven has worked on projects such as Peace, Media, and Counterterrorism: Establishing Collaborative Frameworks to Prevent Violent Extremism, which brought together Ugandan media, security, and government representatives to learn to use media as a counterterrorism tool with funding from the U.S. Department of State. Another project, entitled Peace Development and Electoral Journalism, again took Steven to Uganda where he led 29 media training seminars to prevent media-induced or -exacerbated violence during Uganda’s February 2011 presidential elections. Steven and his colleagues at the center have recently expanded these trainings to Kenya. Finally, Steven is the author of "Professor Komagum,” a book to be published later this year about his experiences teaching peace journalism in Uganda.

Steven also works to foster mutual understanding between Americans and the people of other countries through international educational exchanges. He chairs the Park University Internationalization Task Force/Internationalization and Multicultural Education Committee, and is a member of the American Council on Education Internationalization Collaborative Advisory Council. He also organizes international service learning and community service projects in which his students can participate and he gives lectures to fellow professors on teaching abroad.