US Fed News
Oct 16 2009


IAMI, Oct. 15 -- Florida International University, a component of the
state university system, issued the following news release:

The Middle East Studies Program in FIU's School of International and
Public Affairs has invited renowned photojournalist Alexandra Avakian
to speak on Nov. 13, 2009, at 2 p.m. in the MARC International
Pavilion at Modesto A. Maidique Campus. Avakian will speak about her
work in the Middle East and discuss her recently published book
Windows of the Soul, in which she shares the challenges, insights and
rewards of nearly two decades of photographing the lives of Muslims
around the world.

This striking image graces the cover of Avakian's latest book, Windows
of the Soul: My Journeys in the Muslim World.

This striking image graces the cover of Avakian's latest book, Windows
of the Soul: My Journeys in the Muslim World.

Avakian lived and worked for two years in the Gaza strip, often in
Islamic dress, and was once beaten bloody by Hamas. For several
terrifying days in Somalia she was pinned down by sniper fire on the
way to her hotel. She careened across the snowy Tien-Shen Mountains
with Islamic fundamentalists in an ancient Lada, only to be detained
and tossed out by the Uzbek KGB. All the while, she captured some of
the most important stories of our time-the famine in Sudan, the
violence in Gaza and Somalia, the daily life of Hezbollah. She
traveled extensively with Yasser Arafat as one of the only non-Arab
photographers given such access. She studied her Armenian roots in
Iran and the Muslim culture in America.

Recounted in gripping words and unforgettable images, Avakian's
remarkable experiences draw readers into the Muslim world to meet
friends and terrorists, leaders and thieves and everyday people. Her
style is probing yet compassionate.

Avakian has been a National Geographic photographer since 1995. Her
assignments have included a cover story on Iran; photographic essays
on Gaza, Romania, and Armenia; and intensive photographic projects on
Lebanon's Hezbollah and American Muslims. Her work in Iran was
chronicled in an episode of National Geographic's television show
Explorer. Her photos have also been published in many National
Geographic books, including Women Photographers at National
Geographic, Through the Lens, Wide Angle and The World of Islam. She
has also produced three books for Clarkson Potter and has been
published in several Time Life books.

Avakian's exclusive coverage of Lebanon's Hezbollah appeared as a
portfolio in 2006 in Time and Corriere della Sera magazine. It was
also published by Der Speigel, and and was
featured on an episode of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 news program. Her
in-depth study of Muslims in America was published as a portfolio in
U.S. News & World Report's special "Secrets of Islam" issue and Saudi
Aramco World magazine in 2005.

She was a top freelancer for Time and the New York Times Magazine from
1988 to 1996, covering the Soviet Union, the First Palestinian
Intifada and many other stories in the Middle East, Africa, Eastern
Europe and the Caribbean. She spent seven months covering the uprising
in Haiti and documented the civil war and famine in Somalia and Sudan.
Her subjects have also included the 1988 earthquake in Armenia, the
funeral of Iran's Ayatollah Khomenei in 1989, and Czechoslovakia's
"Velvet Revolution."

A book signing will follow the presentation. Copies of the book will
be available for sale at the event. For more information, please
contact the Middle East Studies Program at 305-348-1792 or
[email protected]