Former U.S. Senator Bob Bennett, Arun Chaudhary and P.J. Crowley Become Fellows

September 13, 2011

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Samara Sit
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Former U.S. Senator Bob Bennett, Arun Chaudhary and P.J. Crowley Join George Washington University as School of Media and Public Affairs Fellows

Influential Media and Politics Experts To Contribute To Classes, Events


WASHINGTON – Former U.S. Senator Bob Bennett, former White House videographer Arun Chaudhary and P.J. Crowley, former assistant secretary of state for public affairs, will join the George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA) as its newest fellows for the 2011 – 2012 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. 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."

These three fellows bring a unique set of experiences and skills to share with the SMPA community. Former U.S. Sen. Bennett is a distinguished professional fellow for SMPA, as is Mr. Chaudhary, who will also be working with GW's Center for Innovative Media on projects related to social media developments. Mr. Crowley is a professor of practice with SMPA and will be working with GW's Institute of Public Diplomacy and Global Communication, where he will work with Director Sean Aday on programs, lectures and strategic initiatives. During the school year, the fellows will interact with SMPA students at special lectures, class discussions, special events and seminars.

Former U.S. Sen. Bob Bennett held a number of chairmanships and senior committee positions during his tenure representing Utah in the United States Senate. He represented the interests of the West 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, the first major bipartisan healthcare legislation in more than a decade. He has also been a successful public relations and business executive, having served as CEO of several technology companies and 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 former U.S. Sen. 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, twenty-four 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 September 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. 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 like the Weekly Address. Chaudhary is the creator and architect of "West Wing Week," the first-ever online video diary of the White House. During his tenure he produced, shot and edited 63 episodes of West Wing Week, documenting the President through his rigorous weekly agenda. 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."

The School of Media and Public Affairs is dedicated to the rigorous study of journalism and political communication with a focus on understanding the impact media have on how societies inform and govern, connect and communicate. As media undergo transformational change, SMPA's goal is to advance both theoretical insight and innovative practice. SMPA conducts ground-breaking research, offers inspiring teaching, encourages hands-on work in the field and in our production facilities and engages directly with thought-leaders in Washington, D.C. and around the world.

To learn more about GW's School of Media and Public Affairs, visit: smpa.gwu.edu.

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