The Institutional Legacy of
RICHARD M. FAIRBANKS, III
“In His Own Words”
A letter to the Pennsylvania State University trustees – September 2012
“As someone with significant experience in the Middle East region, having served as Assistant Secretary of State, Special Negotiator for the Middle East Peace Process, and Ambassador-at-Large, I was aware of our public diplomacy short-comings and sought to address them directly by providing private sector produced U.S. television programming broadcast throughout the region—in the vernacular. The mission is to help ensure that the next generation of youth will not grow up with the same misconceptions and negative imagery of the U.S.
I realized that unless we could access and impact the everyday opinions on the Arab street, America would always be subject to the lies and propaganda by those who have an interest in opposing her. So we embarked on a mission to bring quality original television programs to an Arabic audience in the vernacular. Our shows would be watched because of their entertainment value (over 500 channels are available by satellite from the Gulf to Morocco), but they would help to change the image of America and her people by the themes that were presented and the topics discussed. Ten years later we have proved there is a hunger by today’s youth to learn about America. For example, most recently, our program On the Road in America was the second most watched show in the region in prime time, beaten only by the Arab equivalent of American Idol.”
To make a donation in memory of Ambassador Fairbanks, please click here.