News>Senior journalists from Asia, Pacific visit Air Force Academy
Mardiyah Chamim and Cadet 1st Class Philicia Fahrenbruch talk while walking from the Air Force Academy's visitor center to the Cadet Chapel Aug. 22, 2011. Chamim, the managing editor for TEMPO News Weekly Magazine in Jakarta, Indonesia, was one of seven journalists from Asia and the Pacific to visit the Academy as part of the East-West Center's 2011 Senior Journalists Seminar. Fahrenbruch, is the Cadet Interfaith Council president and is assigned to Cadet Squadron 12. (U.S. Air Force photo/Don Branum)
Cadets on the Air Force Academy's Cadet Interfaith Council speak with Bidhayak Das during a visit by journalists from Asian nations Aug. 22, 2011. The East-West Center's 2011 Senior Journalists Seminar is designed to improve lines of communication among American and Asian news media. Das is the Asia correspondent for the Eastern Chronicle in Guwhati, India. (U.S. Air Force photo/Don Branum)
8/24/2011 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Seven senior journalists from publications in Asia and the Pacific visited the Air Force Academy Aug. 22 as part of a month-long seminar hosted by the East-West Center.
The center's 2011 Senior Journalists' Seminar, which continues through Aug. 27, seeks to bridge gaps between the United States and the Muslim world, according to its website, http://www.eastwestcenter.org.
Melissa Porter, the Academy's chief of community outreach, facilitated the tour. Chaplain (Col.) Robert Bruno, the Academy's senior chaplain, briefed the group about the Academy's religious respect program.
"Respect underlies our diversity, and our diversity underlies the strength of our nation," Bruno said. The Academy's Cadet Interfaith Council that represents 11 faith groups serves as the chaplains' eyes and ears, informing the chaplains on the religious climate here. Three representatives from the Cadet Interfaith Council -- Cadet 1st Class Philicia Fahrenbruch, Cadet 2nd Class Nathaniel Youd and Cadet 3rd Class Tirzah Prince -- accompanied the journalists throughout the tour.
Two decades of military operations overseas has seasoned the chaplain corps, Bruno said. Where chaplains once may have filled support positions and stayed in their offices, they now get out and about to regularly meet with the troops they serve.
After the religious respect briefing, Lt. Col. John McCurdy, the director of remotely piloted aircraft and unmanned aerial system education and research, talked about the Academy's RPA training program.
"We (faculty) don't really do very much," McCurdy said. "It's the cadets who truly run this program." Faculty members serve primarily in a preparation and advisory role, creating scenarios based on previous Air Force missions.
The program is designed to familiarize cadets, many of whom will go on to fly manned aircraft, about UAS capabilities, McCurdy said.
"With (unmanned aerial vehicles) becoming such a big part of military operations, we want cadets to be familiar with how they operate," he said.
Fahrenbruch, a biology major and native of Falcon, Colo., said the UAS program is gaining popularity as cadets learn more about the program and the systems.
The journalists wrapped up the tour with a visit to the Academy's Cadet Chapel, visiting worship areas dedicated to the Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim and Earth-Centered populations.
The seminar's goals include addressing political and cultural challenges that professional journalists face in reporting and commenting on issues in contemporary U.S.-Asian relations, according to the East-West Center's website.
The Center was established by Congress in 1960 as a non-profit agency to promote better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the U.S. Asia and the Pacific through cooperative study, research and dialog.
Visiting the Academy were:
-- Susan Keifels, media programs coordinator for the East-West Center
-- Mardiyah Chamim, managing editor of TEMPO News Weekly Magazine in Jakarta, Indonesia
-- Bidhayak Das, Asia correspondent for the Eastern Chronicle in Guwahati, India
-- Kawa Parwiz, senior political editor for the Hasht e Sobh Daily Newspaper in Kabul, Afghanistan
-- Roozbeh MirEbrahimi, editor in chief for the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Iran dar Jahan Magazine
-- Ana Marie Pamintuan, executive editor of The Philippine Star in Manila, the Philippines
-- Muhammad Zahir Shah Sherazi, bureau chief of DawnNews in Peshawar, Pakistan
-- Kai Ping Yong, Chinese editor of Malaysiakini.com in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia