Erin and I took a summer hiatus, but visualizAsian.com is back, and proud to kick off a new season of interviews with a conversation with Iranian-Japanese American journalist Roxana Saberi, whose recent book, “Between Two Worlds,” chronicles the harrowing experience of being imprisoned, charged with espionage and sentenced to eight years in a notorious Iranian prison before being released after five months in May 2009.
We’ll be talking to Roxana on Tuesday, August 31 at 6 pm PT (9 pm ET) via phone and web —You’ve missed the live interview, but for a limited time, you can still join in the conversation by registering and listening to the archived MP3 recording..
Roxana recently spoke about her ordeal at the annual convention of the Asian American Journalists Association, and I sat in on the panel.
She captivated the audience with her story of choosing to be a journalist in a dangerous political hotspot, of her unexpected capture and fear and frustration at her situation, the flashes of humane treatment she received from some of her guards, and even the humorous moments (in hindsight) over her efforts to give surreptitious messages to her boyfriend and family.
She captures all of this and more in compelling prose in “Between Two World,” and she’ll be reading passages from it during our conversation.
Here’s the description of the book from Roxana’s website:
Roxana Saberi moved to Iran in 2003 to work as the Iran correspondent for the U.S.-based Feature Story News. She filed reports for organizations such as NPR, BBC, ABC Radio and Fox News and was working on a book about Iranian society when she was arrested on January 31, 2009. Saberi was later sentenced to eight years in prison on a trumped-up charge of espionage. In May 2009, an Iranian court overturned the sentence, and she was released.
Since her release, Saberi has joined others in bringing attention to the situation of human rights in Iran. She has received the Medill Medal of Courage, the Ilaria Alpi Freedom of the Press Award, the NCAA Award of Valor, and a POMED (Project for Middle East Democracy) Award, and she has been named Jayceesâ€™ 2010 Outstanding Young North Dakotan.
Saberi grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, the daughter of Reza Saberi, who was born in Iran, and Akiko Saberi, who is from Japan. She was chosen Miss North Dakota in 1997 and was among the top ten finalists in Miss America 1998. She graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, with degrees in communications and French.
Saberi holds her first masterâ€™s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and her second masterâ€™s degree in international relations from the University of Cambridge.
The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that in 2008, Iran was the sixth-leading jailer of journalists and Reporters Without Borders has ranked it 172 out of 175 countries in the world in terms of press freedom.
A collection of music inspired by some of the people and events in Saberiâ€™s book, Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran, is available here. At least 20 percent of the proceeds will be used to promote human rights in Iran.
For information on Saberiâ€™s fatherâ€™s writing, please visit his website.
Roxana’s father is Iranian and her mother Japanese; we’ll talk to her about her cultural upbringing, and how her rich dual heritage impacted her decision to become a journalist, and to work in Iran.
Please join us for our conversation, and help us launch our second year of visualizAsian interviews!
Here’s how visualizAsian.com works: You can listen to the live interview over the phone (long distance charges may apply) or FREE via a webcast. You can also submit questions for Roxana before and during the interview. If you miss the live event, you can listen to the interview at your convenience for a limited time online.
You’ve missed the live Aug. 31 interview, but for a limited time, you can still join in the conversation by registering and listening to the archived MP3 recording.