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Foreign Correspondent to Give Schatt Lecture

March 9, 2009

A prize-winning journalist who has reported extensively on the war on terror and events in Iraq and Afghanistan for Newsweek will be the featured speaker at the third annual Paul J. Schatt Memorial Lecture at Arizona State University March 23.

Babak Dehghanpisheh, Newsweek's Baghdad bureau chief who is currently a Knight Fellow at Stanford University, will discuss “The War of Ideas,” drawing on his experiences covering foreign countries and the U.S. war on terror. Dehghanpisheh will make the case that the global war on terror will be won not by battles but by those who are able to win the hearts and minds of the people of the Middle East.

The annual Schatt lecture will begin at 7 p.m. in The First Amendment Forum at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, 555 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. It is free and open to the public.

The lecture series, which began in 2007, is supported by an annual gift from The Arizona Republic and an endowment created in Paul Schatt’s memory by his widow, Laura Schatt-Thede. The Cronkite School and the Valley of the Sun Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists are sponsors.

Schatt started his career as a copy boy at The Arizona Republic while he was still in high school. He stayed for five decades, working his way up to reporting and then a number of editing roles. He taught a class in public affairs reporting at the Cronkite School for 30 years.

Dehghanpisheh, a graduate of the Cronkite School, covered Iraq for five years, reporting on events ranging from Saddam Hussein's capture to the rise of Shiite clerics and Iraq's first elections. He was embedded with one of the first Marine units that invaded Fallujah in late 2004 and also was one of the few journalists who got inside Abu Ghraib prison shortly after allegations of torture were raised there.

Before Iraq, Dehghanpisheh reported extensively on America's war on terror. He was one block away from the north tower of the World Trade Center when it collapsed and was dispatched to Afghanistan a few weeks later. He spent the next year reporting from Afghanistan and Pakistan, tracing the steps of Al Qaeda fighters and following the development of the new Afghan government.

In addition, Dehghanpisheh has reported from Iran, Syria, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon and has contributed to more than 25 Newsweek cover stories. He has appeared regularly on CNN, MSNBC, FOX and NPR.

He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Society of Publishers in Asia’s Young Journalist Award and a National Headliner Award. He was a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and the National Magazine Award for public service.

Dehghanpisheh has a bachelor’s degree in business and a master’s degree in journalism from ASU. He is currently studying the war of ideas and information between the United States and Islamic radicals at Stanford through a John S. Knight Fellowship for Professional Journalists.

Schatt-Thede, who helped launch the lecture series in her husband’s name shortly after his death in late 2005, said Paul Schatt was intensely interested in all kinds of news and followed foreign affairs closely.

The lecture series has reflected Schatt’s wide-ranging interests. The previous two lectures have focused on ethical decision making in a changing media world and the role of women in journalism.