Doris Duke Funding Adds U.S., Middle East Arts and Culture Reporters to East-West Center’s U.S.-Islamic Media Program


Doris Duke's Shangri La estate in Honolulu, now a center for Islamic arts and cultures. Photo: Reese Moriyama

HONOLULU (Aug. 18, 2015) – Thanks to more than $84,000 in funding from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the East-West Center’s 2015 Senior Journalists Seminar, which seeks to improve relations between the U.S. and Muslim regions, will include more Middle Eastern journalists and, for the first time, arts and culture reporters.

This year’s seminar will also substantially increase the number of sessions and experiences focused on the arts and their impact on cultural identity. Founded in 2003 to enhance media coverage and elevate the public debate regarding religion and its role in the public sphere, the Senior Journalists Seminar has traditionally focused on the role of religion in government policy, finance, education and culture as well as the media’s role in shaping public perception and U.S. relations with Muslim regions.

“The addition of arts and culture reporters as well as more Middle East reporters will greatly add to the richness and diversity of the program,” said East-West Center Media Programs Manager Susan Kreifels.

Seventeen U.S., Asian and Middle Eastern journalists will travel together to Washington, D.C.; Nashville; Honolulu; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Lahore and Islamabad, Pakistan to explore diverse political, cultural and religious identities, U.S. engagement with Muslim regions, and efforts to combat violent domestic extremism.

The Doris Duke funding supports participation by two American and three Middle Eastern art and culture reporters. Support for the program is also provided by the Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute.

The journalists funded by the Doris Duke grants are:

  • Ms. Ethar El-Katatney, Senior Producer, AJ+, San Francisco, California
  • Mr. Hayman H. Mohammed, Head of Digital Media, Rudaw Media Network, Erbil, Iraq
  • Ms. Mallika Rao, Arts Reporter, The Huffington Post, New York
  • Ms. Chaitali B. Roy, Special Correspondent, Arab Times Kuwait and Producer/Editor, Radio Kuwait, Safat, Kuwait
  • Ms. Aisha Sultan, Editor and Columnist, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Missouri

The 2015 program’s other participants are:

  • Ms. Elena L. Aben, Senior Reporter, Manila Bulletin, Philippines
  • Mr. Rana Tanveer Ali, Senior Reporter, The Express Tribune, Lahore, Pakistan
  • Mr. Abdelrauof Arnaout, Senior Political Reporter, Al-Ayyam Newspaper, Ramallah, Palestine
  • Mr. John Hudson, Senior Reporter, Foreign Policy, Washington, DC
  • Mr. Sameer Arshad Khatlani, Chief Copy Editor, The Times of India, New Delhi
  • Ms. Kim Lawton, Managing Editor/Correspondent, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, Public Broadcasting System, Washington, DC
  • Mr. Muamar Orabi Nakhla, General Director/Chief Editor, Wattan Media, Ramallah, Palestine
  • Ms. Ailing Qin, Senior Reporter, South Reviews Magazine, Guangzhou Daily News Group, China
  • Mr. Jawad Sukhanyar, Reporter, The New York Times Kabul Bureau, Afghanistan
  • Ms. Seen Hau Tham, Head of Content, Kinitv, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Ms. Kimberly Winston, National Correspondent, Religion News Service, San Francisco, California, USA
  • Mr. Kourosh Ziabari, Op-ed Writer, Tehran Times and Correspondent, Iran Review, Tehran, Iran

About the Senior Journalists Seminar

The Senior Journalists Seminar is a three-week professional dialogue, study and travel program intended to enhance media coverage and elevate the public debate regarding religion and its role in the public sphere, specifically as it concerns U.S. relations with the Muslim world. Designed for senior print, radio, broadcast, and online journalists from the U.S. and countries with substantial Muslim populations, the seminar offers an opportunity for participating journalists to engage their peers, experts, and the public on such issues as religious diversity and freedoms, treatment and representation of religious minority groups; the various roles religion plays in societies; initiatives to reduce religious tensions and domestic extremism; and the impact of the media’s coverage of religion on public perception and international relations. To date, 128 journalists from 12 countries have participated in the program.

About DDCF and DDFIA

The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being, and through the preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties. The Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art (DDFIA) is an operating foundation of DDCF. DDFIA owns and operates Shangri La, which was Doris Duke’s home in Honolulu that today functions as a center for the study of Islamic art and culture. DDFIA also awards grants through the Building Bridges Program, which is based in DDCF’s New York headquarters and supports efforts that use the arts and media arts to advance relationships, increase understanding and reduce bias between Muslim and non-Muslim communities. Learn more at and