#ElliottExpert: William Youmans

#ElliottExpert: William Youmans

William Youmans, Director, M.A. Global Communication, #ElliottExpert

William Lafi Youmans is an Associate Professor at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. Broadly interested in questions of transnationalism, power and communication, his primary research interests include global news, technology, law and politics. His other areas of research interest include international broadcasting, Middle East politics, and Arab-American studies.

Youmans wrote a book, Unlikely Audience: Al Jazeera’s Struggle in America (Oxford UP, 2017), about the Qatari news network’s efforts to gain a share of the news market in the United States, 2006-2016. He has been quoted in articles that ran in Salon, Washington Post, Newsweek, Variety and The New York Times, among others. He was a guest on radio and television programs on CBC Radio, WAMU/NPR, Headline News, Al Jazeera English and ARD.

Hometown: metro Detroit, MI

Program/Institute: Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication (IPDGC)

Area(s) of expertise: Media studies, Middle East studies, Arab-American studies.

Institutions Attended: University of Michigan; University of California, Berkeley

Teaching courses this or next semester?: Media, Technology and Culture; Research Methods

When did you know you wanted a career in international affairs/academia?

My second year of law school. I was a teaching assistant for an undergrad course and realized I preferred teaching to lawyering.

What has been your favorite course to teach and why?

International communication. It is a fun course because we cover the range from news and politics to cultural and entertainment. So I get to teach about censorship, imperialism, memes, Bollywood films, and K-Pop all in one class.

If you could take a course taught by a current or previous head of state, whom would you choose and why?

Nelson Mandela. He’s an international icon who went from an anti-Apartheid activist to decades in prison to being the leader of a fraught nation.

What advice do you have for first-year students who are starting their graduate studies?

Start fostering a network of mentors. Be deliberate in who you approach and at some point ask them to mentor you. A good mentor will help you realize what questions you should be asking and then direct you to where you can get answers. This is essential for career-building.

What is your favorite part about living in the DC area?

The walkability of DC is easily my favorite feature.

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The #ElliottExpert profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights current professors to answer common questions posed by prospective, incoming, and current students. For more information on this series or to submit questions, e-mail the Office of Graduate Admissions at esiagrad@gwu.edu.

The views expressed by students profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs.