Every year the University of Alaska Fairbanks Communication and Journalism Department draws journalists north to either occupy the Snedden Chair of Journalism for a year, or for a shorter stint as the Snedden Guest Lecturer. Dorothy Parvaz, an Iranian born reporter who works for Al Jazeera Media, was this year’s lecturer. Before Al Jazeera, Parvaz worked for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Seattle Times. At the Times she served on the editorial board and was a columnist.
However, it was her recent work on the global refugee crises that brought her to Fairbanks this winter. Last year, Parvaz reported on the nearly two million refugees caught in political limbo between Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as other regional and human rights issues.
Given the word “refugee” has become so politically freighted in the U.S. recently, I asked her about the term from her perspective as someone who has reported from the front lines of the crises.