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Marine-turned-Al Jazeera correspondent at RWU

One of the more unusual professional turns is the one pursued by Josh Rushing, a former Marine captain who is now the Washington correspondent at Al Jazeera. At 5:30 pm today, he's the keynoter for a Roger Williams University colloqium, entitled Intellectual Freedom in the Middle East: Perspective and Opportunities.

A former U.S. Marine captain with 15 years of service, Mr. Rushing served as spokesperson at Central Command in Doha, Qatar, during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Unbeknownst to Mr. Rushing, the 2004 independent film “Control Room” captured his efforts to communicate the American message on Al Jazeera and became a critical hit after it was released at the Sundance Film Festival.

 

Since resigning his commission, Mr. Rushing has become the face of Al Jazeera in America. The change of career has come with a price—his loyalty to his nation, once unquestioned as a Marine officer, has been assaulted on Internet blogs, including death threats and hate mail. Yet Mr. Rushing's mission remains unchanged. He unflinchingly believes the United States is in a protracted world war partially fueled by misperception and misunderstanding on both sides of the cultural divide—and Al Jazeera bridges this informational fracture.

 

The purpose of the University’s “by invitation only” Middle East colloquium—to be held April 16 and 17— is to engage in civil discourse about the “Arab perspective” and the issues of intellectual freedom and freedom of the media.

 

Mr. Rushing’s lecture is free and open to the public. The rest of the colloquium is closed to the public. The lecture will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will be held in the University’s Recreation Center Gymnasium located on the Bristol Campus at One Old Ferry Road. To reserve tickets to Mr. Rushing’s event, the public should call (401) 254-3067.

On a related note, Viviana Hurtado, formerly of WPRI-TV, Channel 12, left that station a while back to take a job with Al Jazeera, as it tried to build credibility, although she has since taken a job with ABC in Washington, DC.

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