Sharjah: The American University of Sharjah hosted two internationally acclaimed writers who took part in this year’s Sharjah International Book Fair at its campus last week to talk about journalism and literature with students from the AUS College of Arts and Sciences.
BBC journalist, presenter and novelist Gavin Esler, whose career began in 1977 as a Northern Ireland reporter, addressed students in a session for aspiring writers and journalists, Telling Their Stories: How Leaders Connect with Their Audiences.
He commented on the recent US election campaign, which was of specific interest to political science students, and provided attendees with an understanding of his extensive broadcast responsibilities, including BBC Radio 4’s factual series and regular newspaper columns.
Senior journalism student Nouf Ali Bakhsh was left astonished by Esler’s charisma after his talk. Bakhsh was amazed at how Esler met and interviewed numerous leaders from different parts of the world, and was still able to see through their “story.”
“He was not afraid to talk about the mistakes he made through his career, such as the example he gave us of his 9/11 report. It made me realise that journalists who work at big companies such as the BBC are prone to mistakes and that it is ok, as long as you fix that mistake,” she added.
The second speaker Irfan Hussain, an eminent writer best known within the Pakistani media, spoke on Understanding Fatal Faultlines: Pakistan, Islam and the West. A former civil servant, Irfan currently writes two weekly columns for Dawn, Pakistan’s widely circulated daily. His address covered regionally topical political, educational, environmental and economic issues that were of interest to the university’s diverse and multicultural student base.
“We provide unique student engagement opportunities such as first-hand insights into the life of a writer, which we hope inspired the students’ creative abilities and encouraged them to further engage in their studies and broaden their career horizons,” said Professor Berenger, who teaches at the Mass Communication Department of AUS after the question and answer session.
Dr Mark Rush, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at AUS, welcomed and thanked the special guests on behalf of the university’s founder and president, His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the UAE Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah for visiting and engaging with the students.