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Alumni Spotlight: Jason Stern (MA ‘12)

jason stern

What Middle East Studies professor or class stands out in your memory?

“I remember one day my classmate made an argument effectively echoing what Professor Marc Lynch published in an article earlier that day. Professor Lynch proceeded to list off several factors that complicated and/or challenged the argument. I honestly don’t remember the argument itself. But I remember the intellectual honesty and self-reflection – something we all could use a little more of these days.”

What have you been up to since graduation?

“Has it already been five years since I graduated from the Elliott School? I guess that makes sense, as I remember inaugurating the summer break by stumbling into this weird new HBO show, Game of Thrones, that I had somehow missed while lost in the Gelman stacks my first year.

After graduation, I went down to Florida to work on a presidential campaign. I then joined the Committee to Protect Journalists as a Middle East researcher. At CPJ, I documented press freedom violations and defended journalists under threat in some of the most dangerous places in the world for the press. It was incredibly challenging work — the kind where you have to learn to accept all that you cannot change and be thankful for what you can. During my tenure, more than 250 journalists were killed for their work around the world, but I will never forget the journalists who are alive and free because of CPJ’s work.

Earlier this year, I left CPJ after four years to become a freelance journalist. I continue to write about the Middle East, but as domestic politics come to resemble trends all too familiar to our Middle East program, I’ve begun to follow events at home more closely as well.”

You can follow Jason on Twitter at @IbnLarry or