R.S. ZAHARNA       Home       Classes        Weekend Program       Research            Student Projects

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Curriculum Vitae - 2005

School of Communication
American University

(202) 885-3995


1987     Ed.D., Communication, Columbia University
1982     M.Ed., Communication, Columbia University
1978     B.S., Foreign Service, Georgetown University


1982     Intern, Under-Secretary General for Public Information, The United Nations
1979     Graduate School of Corporate & Political Communication, Fairfield University
1978     Certificate of Arab Studies, Center for Contemporary Arab Studies,
                    Georgetown University
1976     The American University in Cairo, Egypt


2001    World Association of Former United Nations Interns and Fellows
1996     Fulbright Senior Scholar
1993     American University Senate Research Competition Award
1993     Curriculum Development Grant
1992     Mellon Travel Award
1992     Who's Who of Arab-Americans
1989     Top Paper, International & Intercultural Communication,
                        International Communication Association
1987     Dissertation Award, Society for Intercultural Training, Education and Research


1990-Present      Associate Professor (2004)
                          Assistant Professor  (tenured 1996)
                          School of Communication, American University
               Courses: Communication Theory, Public Communication Research, Persuasion Strategies,
                            Nonverbal Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Public Speaking, Public Relations
                            Case Studies, Public Communication Seminar, International Public Relations

1987-1990       Assistant Professor
                         School of Communication, Howard University
              Courses: Principles of Communication, Communication Theory,
                            Theories of Persuasion

1985-1987       Adjunct Associate Professor
                         Department of Communication, University of the District of Columbia
              Courses: Journalism, Processes of Communication,
                            Introduction to the Mass Media

1983-1984       Lecturer,
                        An-Najah National University, Nablus (West Bank/Palestinian Authority)
             Courses: International Relations


2004     Communication Counsel
             Supreme Council for Family Affairs,  Doha, Qatar 

        Reviewed media relation strategies, public communication projects and programs focused on family issues, including children, women, elderly, youth
        and the disabled.

2003     Leadership & Communication Skills Training
             Arab Women Council, Washington, D.C.

        Provided communication and leadership skills training for delegation of women leaders from Syria and Morocco.  Project funded by USAID.

1999      Leadership & Communication Skills Training
              Arab Women Council, Washington, D.C.

Provided communication and leadership skills training for delegation of women leaders from Syria.  Project funded by USAID.
1999      Proposal Writing
              Hebron University, Hebron
Drafted proposal to conduct joint Palestinian-Israeli opinion survey on the status of the peace process.  Project funding awarded.
1999      Proposal Writing
              Arab Women Council, Washington, D.C.
Drafted communication training section for USAID proposal for women’s leadership training in Syria.  Project funding awarded.
1996-      Public Relations
 1997      Najah National University, Nablus
Assisted the university public relations staff in preparing for first international conference hosted by the  university. Provided speech writing assistance and training for university officials for formal presentations. Trained staff in public relations activities.  Assisted in layout, design, and editing official brochure profiling the university and student yearbook.  Conducted proposal writing workshop and reviewed individual proposals.
1996        Proposal Writing Assistance
                Palestinian Ministry of Education, Ramallah
Assisted the ministry officials with preparing multi-million dollar proposal for pilot project to introduce counselors in public school system. Assistance included drafting narrative sections and budget components. Swedish government raised project funding US $1.4mn to US $2mn and cited as a model for other proposal submissions.
1996        Communication Skills Training
                Palestinian Ministry of Education, Gaza Strip
Designed and conducted 3-day workshop on communication for approximately 25 public school headmasters from throughout the Gaza Strip. Prepared skills workbook adopted by the ministry for use in training school headmasters, teachers and students in public school system.
1993       Public Relations Training / AMIDEAST, Gaza
Invited by AMIDEAST, one of largest American sponsors of training and education projects in the Arab world, to conduct the first public communication training program for institutions in the Gaza Strip.
1991 -     Media Analyst
1993        Palestinian Team to the Middle East Peace Talks, Washington
Prepared daily media analysis. Assisted in media training, media inquiries, interview arrangements, and press conference set-up.
1993         Public Relations
                 Palestinian Delegation/ White House Signing, Washington
Worked with American US State Department, Protocol, military and White House officials in coordinating logistics for airport arrival and departures of Palestinian officials and international media. Assisted in preparations for signing of Israeli-Palestinian peace accord on the White House lawn, work included coordinating delegation rosters, background documentation, sequence preparation, and on-the-ground assistance to Protocol officials and media personnel.
1985-         Communication Consultant
1987           World Bank, Washington
 Edited and supervised production of economic reports, statistical studies, and book-length manuscripts.
1986           Technical Consultant
                   World Association of Former United Nations Interns & Fellows, New York
Designed and developed information survey on the major United Nations agencies. Data used to develop communication campaign for the association.
1984-           Communication Consultant
1985            Reliance Computer Company New York
Designed promotional materials, including company logo, for the new firm. Developed marketing strategies.
1983-         Assistant to the President
1984          Najah National University, Nablus
Developed international programs department for the university, included English language training, volunteer program, university twinning agreements, international scholarships award. Assisted in the Public Relations Office. Developed information and promotional materials for university.
1979-      Information Officer
1983       Palestinian Mission to the United Nations, New York
Monitored press.  Arranged broadcast, print, and satellite interviews with international media, including placement on Nightline, McNiel-Lehrer, Good Morning America, Today Show, and 60 Minutes.  Developed advertisements, information and promotional materials which appeared in the New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, and Congressional Record.  Assisted visiting officials with media training and U.N. addresses. Handled inquiries from the media and general public, including information briefings to delegations from American schools. Assisted in drafting U.N. speeches and resolutions submitted by the Mission.  Delivered two speeches to the U.N. Special Political Committee on behalf of the Mission.
1982      Intern
              Under Secretary General’s Office
              Department of Public Information, The United Nations, New York
Worked with the assistant to the Under Secretary General monitoring U.N. public information activities, reviewed department of radio, television, press, and special projects.  Drafted assessment report on U.N. operations.
1979           Speakers Training, video assistant
                   Xerox Corporation, Connecticut
Assisted in speakers training program. Developed speakers bureau proposal for the Middle East which was adopted by the corporation.
1977          Information Officer
                  Arab Information Office, Washington
Monitored American media, prepared media summaries.  Handled public information requests.
1977             Project Director
                    The American University in Cairo, Egypt
Developed and implemented innovative student-ID program for entire campus population. Used all-volunteer staff. Complete project under budget and ahead of schedule.
1976            Intern
                    Eyptian Ministry of Information, Cairo
Interned in the Minister’s office, reviewing information activities.  Visited various media outlets, including the Egyptian national television and Egyptian Gazzette.

Book Chapters

"Al-Jazeera & American Public Diplomacy: A Dance of Intercultural Miscommunication," in Mohamed Zayani (ed.), Critical Perspectives on Al Jazeera, (London: Pluto Press, 2005), pp.183-202.

“From Propaganda to Public Diplomacy in an Information Age,” in Y. Kamalipour and Nancy Snow (Eds.), War, Media and Propaganda: A Global Perspective, (New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2004), pp.219-225.

"Asymmetry of Cultural Styles & The Unintended Consequences of Crisis Public Diplomacy," in Intercultural Communication and Diplomacy (Malta: Mediterranean Academy of Diplomacy, 2004), pp.133-142.

"Historia de dos Intifadas: un analisis mediatico del ascenso y la caida de la imagen palestina,” [A Tale of Two Intifadas: A Communication Analysis of the Rise and Fall of the Palestinian Image] in Ignacio Alvarez-Ossorio (ed.), Informe Sobre El Conflicto de Palestina. (Madrid:  Ediciones del Oriente y del Meditarraneo, 2003), pp. 239-256.  In Spanish.

“La diplomazia pubblica americna nel mondo arabo e musula: Un’analisi della comunicazione stratgia [American Public Diplomacy in the Arab and Muslim World: A Strategic Communication Analysis] in Salvo Vaccaro (ed.), La Censura Infinita, Informazione in Guerra, Guerra All’Informazione. (Milano:  Mimesis Eterotopia, 2002), pp. 200-206.  In Italian.

"The Palestinian Leadership & the American Media: Changing Images, Conflicting Results," in Y. Kamalipour (Ed.) The Middle East and the American Media (Chicago: Greenwood Press, 1995), pp. 37-49.

"Intercultural Public Relations: A Cross-Cultural Case Study," in A. Alkhafaji (Ed.) Business Research Yearbook, Vol. II, (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1995), pp. 809-813.

 Research Journal Articles

“Toward an In-Awareness Approach to International Public Relations,” Public Relations Review 27 (2001), pp. 135-148.

“Intercultural Communication and International Public Relations: Exploring Parallels,” Communication Quarterly 48 (2000), pp.85-100.

“A Public Relations Tour of Embassy Row: The Latin Diplomatic Experience,” (co-author, Juan Cristobal Villalobos), Public Relations Quarterly 45 (2000), pp.33-37.

"Managing Cross-Cultural Challenges: A Pre-K Lesson for Training in the Gaza Strip," Journal of Management Development, 15 (1996), pp. 80-92.

"Final Status: A Communication Perspective," Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture
3 (1996), pp.123-128.

"Understanding Cultural Preferences of Arab Communication Patterns," Public Relations Review,
21 (1995), pp.241-255.

"Ethnic Diversity in the Public Relations Industry," co-authored with B. Diggs-Brown. Howard Business Journal,
6 (1995), pp. 23-31.

"Diversity Within the Industry: External Opportunities, Internal Challenges," co-authored with B. Diggs-Brown
& J. Yamauchi. International Public Relations Review, 17 (1994), pp.13-18.

"The ontological function of interpersonal communication: A cross-cultural analysis of Americans and Palestinians,"
Howard Journal of Communication, 3 (1991), pp. 87-98.

"Self-Shock: The Double-binding Challenge of Identity," International Journal of Intercultural Relations,
13 (1989), pp. 501-526.

Book Reviews

William Rugh (2004.) Arab Mass Media. Westport, CT:  Preager Press. Book Review, Journalism and Mass Communications Quarterly. (forthcoming, 2004).

Lisa Wedeen. (1999). Ambiguities of Domination:  Politics, Rhetoric and Symbols in Contemporary Syria. Chicago:  University of Chicago Press. Book Review, The  Review of Communication 3.1 (January 2003), pp. 35-40.

 Ofra Bengio. (1998).  Saddam’s Word:  Political Discourse in Iraq. New York:  Oxford University Press. Book Review, The Review of Communication 3.1 (January  2003), pp. 35-40.

Commentary & Analysis

“The Network Paradigm of Strategic Public Diplomacy,” Policy Brief, Foreign Policy in Focus, Vol. 10, No. 1, April 2005.

"Switching the Strategic Focus of American Public Diplomacy:  Forget Battles, Think Bridges," Commentary, Foreign Policy in Focus, October 2004.
Available online:  http://www.fpif.org/commentary/2004/0410bridges_body.html

"Repeat: Iraq is not a Modern Day Germany," Op-ed, The Christian Science Monitor, August 21, 2003.
Available online:  http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0821/p09s02-coop.html

"Unintended Consequences of Crisis Public Diplomacy:  America Public Diplomacy in the Arab World," Policy Brief, Foreign Policy in Focus, June 2003.
Available online:  http://www.fpif.org/briefs/vol8/v8n02diplomacy.html

"Winning Round Two of American Public Diplomacy in the Arab World," Global Affairs Commentary, Foreign Policy in Focus, June 13, 2003.
Available online: http://www.fpif.org/commentary/2003/0306comm.html

"How Bin Laden Tape Played," Global Affairs Commentary, Foreign Policy in Focus, February 2003.
Available online:  http://www.fpif.org/commentary/2003/0302binladen.html

“The New Bin Laden Tape,” Op-ed, Counter Punch, February12, 2003.
Available online:  http://www.counterpunch.org/zaharna02122003.html

"Finding America's Voice in the Middle East," Global Affairs Commentary, Foreign Policy in Focus, April 2002.
Available online: http://www.fpif.org/commentary/2002/0204usmideast_body.html

"Incredible and Unbelievable," Op-ed, Baltimore Sun, April 14, 2002.

 “Israel’s True Intentions in Removing Arafat,” Global Affairs Commentary, Foreign Policy in Focus, December 2001.
Available online:  http://www.fpif.org/commentary/0112arafat_body.html

“American Public Diplomacy in the Arab and Muslim World:  A Strategic Communication Analysis,” Policy Report, Foreign Policy in Focus, November 2001
Available online:  http://www.fpif.org/papers/communication_body.html

 “Israel’s Policy of Targeting Terrorists:  Implications for the U.S.,” Policy Analysis, Foreign Policy In Focus, Vol. 6, No. 32, September 2001
Available online:  http://www.fpif.org/briefs/vol6/v6n32exjud_body.html

“The Plan to Remove Arafat,” Global Affairs Commentary, Foreign Policy In Focus,  July 2001.
Available online:  http://www.fpif.org/commentary/0107arafat_body.html

Congressional Testimony

U.S. House Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations
The 9/11 Commission Recommendations on Public Diplomacy
August 23, 2004
Oral Statement
Written Statement

U.S. Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations
Public Diplomacy and Islam
February 27, 2003
Oral Statement
Written Statement

U.S. House Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations
 Public Diplomacy in the Arab World
October 8, 2002.
Oral Statement


Invited Presentations

"Cultural Texture: Urban Warfare & Global Strategic Communication," Conference on the 'War of Ideas' & GWOT, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, December 13-14, 2005.
Powerpoint presentation

“A Global Tour of Public Diplomacy,” Cross-Cultural Communication Conference, Notre Dame University, Beirut, Lebanon, May 26, 2005. Powerpoint presentation

“Distortions of Culture: Americans in Iraq,” International Conference on Intercultural Communication and Diplomacy, Mediterranean Academy of Diplomacy, Malta, February 14, 2004.

“Restoring America’s Image Abroad,” 15-member roundtable discussion chaired by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, William Davidson Institute, Washington, DC, December 2, 2003.

"“The Challenge of American Public Diplomacy,” Public Diplomacy Training Program, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC, November 9, 2003.
Powerpoint Presentation

“New Trends in American Public Diplomacy,” George P. Shultz National Foreign Service Training Institute, Arlington, August 5, 2003.
Powerpoint Presentation

"Pros & Cons of Arm's Length Public Diplomacy," Symposium on Public Diplomacy, The Heritage Foundation, Washington, DC, July 10, 2003.
Prepared Remarks

 “Palestinian-Israeli Images,” Institute of Policy Studies, Washington, DC, April 23,  2002.

"Perceptions of America," (Moderator), Fulbright Senior Scholars Conference, Washington, D.C., April 9, 2002.

 “Speaking with the American Media and Public,” Council on American Islamic  Relations, Annual Conference, Fairfax, VA, March 30, 2002

"The Role of NGOs in American Public Diplomacy" U.S. Department of State, Symposium on Non-Governmental Organizations, Washington, D.C., October 16, 2001.

"International Public Relations in the Middle East," Public Relations Society of America, Washington D.C., October 25, 2000

"Stereotyping in the American Media," Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., May 15, 2000.

“Palestinian Values,” University of Washington, Seattle, February 20, 1997.

“Changes in Palestinian Society and Palestinian Values,” The Florence Kluckhohn Center for the Study of Values, Seattle, Washington, February 17-19, 1997.

Hearst Lecture Series, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, November 1995.

"The Middle East and the Media," United Nations Non-Governmental Organizations, United Nations Symposium on the Question of Palestine, Montreal, July 1994.

"Teaching about Stereotyping," Georgetown University, Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Symposium for Educators, Washington, DC, October 1994.

"Challenges to Dialoging" Multicultural Learning Institute Seminar, Washington DC,  February 1993.

"Understanding Cultural Diversity within the Family," ROOTS Palestinian Youth Convention, Washington, May 1991.

Professional  Materials

Proposal Writing Handbook. (1997)  Sponsor:  An-Najah National University, Nablus.

Toolbox of Communication Skills: A Workbook for School Educators. (1997)  Sponsor:  Palestinian Ministry of Education, Gaza.  In Arabic.

Media & Public Relations Handbook:  Bridging the Arab & American Cultural Divide. (1994)  Sponsor: Palestinian Delegation to ME Peace Talks, Washington, DC.

Developing Your Printed Materials for Western Audience.  (1993)  Sponsor:  AMIDEAST, Gaza.

Planning Special Events for Your Institution. (1993)  Sponsor:  AMIDEAST, Gaza.

Developing Good Media Relations.   Sponsor:  AMIDEAST, Gaza, 1993.

Preparing "Q & A" Brochures. (1992)   Sponsor: Law in the Service of Man, Gaza.

Tips on Public Speaking. (1991)  Sponsor: Palestinian delegation to the  Middle East Peace Talks, Washington, D.C.

Working with the International Media.  (1991) Sponsor:  Palestinian delegation to the Middle East Peace Talks, Washington, D.C.

Conference Papers

“In-Awareness Model of International Public Relations,” Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication, Washington, DC, August 1998.

"Intercultural Public Relations:  A Cross-Cultural case study from the Gaza Strip," International Association of Business Disciplines, Los Angeles, April 1995.

"Bridging Cultural Differences:  American Public Relations Practices and Arab Communication Patterns," Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication, Washington, DC, August 1995.

"Rhetorical Ethnocentricism," Speech Communication Association, New Orleans, November 1994.

"The Multicultural Challenge of Identity in the Classroom," Eastern Communication Association, Washington, DC, May 1993.

"Self-Shock," Society for Applied Anthropology, Santa Fe, April 1989.

"Sense-Making in the Intercultural Setting," Society for Intercultural Training, Education and Research, Boston, May 1989, Panel Chair.

"Communication and Identity," Howard University Communication Conference, Washington, DC, October 1989.

"The Role of Radio in the Palestinian Intifadah," Howard University Communication Conference, Washington, DC, October 1989.

"Intercultural Dimensions of Conflict Resolution," Howard University Communication Conference, Washington, DC, October 1988.

"Self-Shock:  An Intrapersonal Analysis of the Intercultural Experience," International Communication Association, New Orleans, May 1988, (Top Paper in International and Intercultural Communication).

"Self-Shock" Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research, Montreal, May 1987, (Outstanding Dissertation Award).

Editorial Membership

International and Intercultural Communication Annual, Vol. 28  (2004), Contributing Editor

International and Intercultural Communication Annual, Vol. 27  (2003), Contributing Editor

Howard Journal of Communication (1991 – present), Editorial Board


American Jewish and Palestinian Dialogue Project

Member of the "Dialogue Project," an international project bringing together Palestinian and American-Jewish women leaders from the United States and abroad. In January 1992, participated in a joint, 2-week trip to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza with 15 Jewish and Palestinian American women. The Dialogue Project has been featured in publications world-wide, including MS Magazine, The Jerusalem Post , and The New York Times.