Eight Pakistani professors flew from the Eastern Seaboard to Pullman this weekend to get a taste of how professors teach journalism in the U.S.
The visiting professors landed in the state on Sunday after spending a week in Washington, D.C. They will stay in Pullman until Saturday before heading back home to Pakistan.
They teach at universities throughout Pakistan in Gomal, Hazara, Peshawar and Kohat.
While in town, they will attend lectures and meet with faculty and student journalists at WSU and the University of Idaho.
But before leaving, they hope to establish an exchange program between WSU and the participating Pakistani universities for years to come, said business manager Shannon York, who coordinated the visit.
“I hope that this is the start of a long relationship between these professors and this school,” York said. “Pakistan is just a hugely important country for the world and for the United States.”
The United States Agency of International Development funded the professors’ tour, York said. Coordination for the visit is the product of a collaborative effort on the part of Murrow College Founding Dean Lawrence Pintak and the Internews Network, a non-profit organization that works with journalists, media lawyers and other media members to promote transparent journalism.
Pakistani professors and students would be eager to participate in a long-term exchange program, said associate professor Altaf Khan, chairman of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Peshawar.
“That’s something very interesting for us,” Khan said, “because our younger faculty would really love to grab the chance, and also students would love to come over because that’s a worthwhile exposure for them."
The professors attended a digital news gathering seminar on Monday morning with Brett Atwood, a clinical assistant professor in the College of Communication. Khan said he found the presentation interesting because digital news gathering is more of a self-taught process in Pakistan.
“That’s the really weak side of Pakistani education,” Khan said. “We are also pushing the donors or anybody to organize those trainings in Pakistan.”
York said WSU is a good place for the professors to see because of its highly reputable journalism school but also to get a sense of the local community.
“Coming to a town like Pullman is an opportunity for these visiting professors to not only visit the university but also see the community that makes up the university,” York said.
Khan has been to other parts of the U.S. before, but this is his first time in the Palouse. The scenery along his drive from Spokane to Pullman left him with a satisfying first impression.
“It was very fascinating,” he said. “The landscape is really nice.”
During the course of the week, WSU professors will also have a great deal to learn from the Pakistani professors, York said.
“They have just amazing and wonderful stories to tell,” York said. “They’re working some - at times - trying environments. The security can sometimes be extremely difficult.”