Panelists discusses radicalization and nationalism in current political climate

India Said

Kent State’s School of Communication Studies and the Center for International and Intercultural Education hosted a Global Issues Forum Wednesday night in the Student Center, discussing “Radicalization & Nationalism the Current Political Climate.”

CCI invited two critically acclaimed journalist to carry the discussion: award-winning author Christopher de Bellaigue and former foreign correspondent of the Chicago Tribune Tom Hundley.

Moderator Paul Haridakis opened the discussion with a question asking both panelists how radicalization and nationalism have tied into their career as journalist.

“These two topics, radicalism and nationalism, have been essential to my work,” de Bellaigue said.

Tom Hundley, who was a journalist for 36 years and a foreign correspondent with the Chicago Tribune, adds that many see nationalism as a “west thing” but in fact, “nationalism is a worldwide phenomenon.”

During the discussion, Iran became a frequent topic. The panelist focused on how the media portrays Iran on a daily basis.

Maddi Hayes, a freshman audiology major, said although she’s seen how Iran is portrayed in the media, she knew it wasn’t all negative.

“It really opened my eyes to the differences between the bad side and the good side of Iran, not just the bad. I want to know the good as well,” Hayes said.

Demi (Tongfei) Wang, a global communications graduate student, said she interacts with Islamic people a lot and doesn’t have a bad image associated with them.

“After Chris talked about his experience, I think we should shed more light about what the country looks like when you’re really living there,” Wang said. “It’s a bit different than what the media portrays.”

Discussion on Muslim conversion, Britain voting to leave the European union and Turkish nationalism were also discussed during the forum.

In the midst of the recent election, radicalization and nationalism have become a relevant topic.

“It’s important to step back a little bit and say, is nationalism a new phenomenon or is radicalization a new phenomenon? They’re not,” de Bellaigue said. “They have been around for much of human history.”

Katherine Vanke, a junior applied communication major, said she felt the panelists were knowledgeable due to how much time they had spent in those countries and observing the various situations, adding that it’s important to see these stories still being written and shared.

India Said is a diversity reporter, contact her at [email protected]