Fulbright Scholar, Houssam Eddine Beggas, has traveled the world but now calls Seton Hall home.
Diplomacy students come from all corners of the world, from Tennessee to Turkey, New York to Nigeria, and now, also Algeria. Join us as we welcome Houssam Eddine Beggas, a Fulbright scholar and professional journalist, into our Seton Hall community as a graduate student in the Master of Arts in Diplomacy and International Relations program.
Born and raised in Khenchela, Algeria, Beggas has been pursuing his international interests since he began his collegiate studies in foreign languages and translation as an undergraduate at Constantine University. He later transitioned into journalism while studying at the Higher National School of Journalism in Algiers as a graduate student.
He worked full time while pursuing his Master's in Journalism in 2016, trying his hand at sports newscasting, but it was a mentor of his that encouraged him to look into political journalism. Around that time, the Arab Spring was in full swing, with political situations constantly changing around the Middle East and North Africa, day after day. "I was hooked," Beggas expressed. "After entering the world of political journalism, I ended up anchoring on the daily news, reporting on current events, and headlined a weekly international news talk show, called Pulse of the World.
Upon graduating with his master's, Beggas worked as a communications consultant with the World Bank in Algeria where he advised on entrepreneurship projects and outreach with the Algerian government. His work with the World Bank and reporting on daily events happening across the region from the Middle Eastern perspective made Beggas curious as to how other countries, namely the United States, were perceiving these events on their end. "I wanted to go beyond the Algerian perspective that I was familiar with and engage with other perspectives to understand how they viewed the unrest throughout the Middle East/North Africa region."
Beggas filming in Washington, DC
To do so, he applied for a Fulbright scholarship with a focus on International Affairs and Middle Eastern Studies. "I admire the philosophy behind the Fulbright program: Education is a slow-moving but powerful force," which can help us to better understand and cooperate with one another. On a more personal level, Beggas relates this philosophy to his own family life. His parents did not have the opportunity to go to school, but they managed to successfully send all fourteen of their children to school, many of whom obtained advanced degrees.
"Following the independence of my country, investing in education lifted our people out of poverty and toward a better future. Sometimes the process seems slow and frustrating, but over time you see the power of education. Education is also a force that can lead to better bridges of understanding among people of different societies, and this is the spirit of the Fulbright program."
Once accepted as a Fulbright Scholar in 2018, his education search led him to a variety of opportunities across the east coast. Prior to joining us at Seton Hall, Beggas participated in an English immersion program at Syracuse University, interned with Al Jazeera Arabic in Washington, D.C., and completed coursework at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. But in looking for a graduate program with a strong background in both international security and Middle Eastern studies, he found that the School of Diplomacy was the right fit.
"I was struck by how welcoming and open Seton Hall is, their strong curriculum, and their proximity to New York City. The practitioners who come to teach, the countless hands-on learning opportunities afforded to students, and the variety of on-campus events drew me to the graduate program with the School of Diplomacy."
Since joining the Master of Arts in Diplomacy and International Relations program, Beggas has been selected as a research assistant with the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies as well as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Diplomacy.
Beggas on Pulse of the World
During his time with us, Beggas will be specializing in International Security and Middle Eastern studies. His specialization selections stem from his desire to expand his worldview on what foreign policy looks like beyond the Algerian approach. Beggas explains,
"Algerian foreign policy is defined by our 132 year-long fight for our independence from French colonization and it emphasizes non-interference in the affairs of other countries. Our foreign policy was later influenced by a dark decade of civil conflict in which the lessons we learned on counterterrorism and national reconciliation are still relevant today, I think. But with the U.S. being involved in the Middle East, learning more about the basis of their relationships with Arab and North African countries is of great interest to me, taking into account the foreign interests that guides each of them.
Whether I'm looking at the relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia or U.S. involvement in the conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Libya, I'll be able to study it from an entirely different perspective than I would back home. Having the ability to see all of the sides of interactions between countries will make me a stronger journalist and better analyst of international affairs."
To apply his education in both journalism and international relations, he plans to return to political journalism after graduation and provide professional development opportunities for fellow journalists. "Strong journalists produce quality information, cultivate informed audiences, and this makes for better politics and decision making. My country is in the midst of a huge debate about the future of our government and needs strong journalism now more than ever."
Beggas also hopes to take a new, more comedic approach to journalism after he completes his academic coursework next August. "I intend to return to the Middle East/North Africa region and launch a satirical political news talk show, similar to Trevor Noah and John Stewart, that will use humor to explain world events. My hope is that it will take a good hard look at what's happening in the region while making everyone laugh at the same time."
Check out his news segments on "The Future of the Arab Maghreb Union; The Turkish Political Leadership Conflict" and "Donald Trump's election and the future of U.S.-Algeria relations" and get to know more of our Great Minds in Diplomacy to explore where your degree can take you.
Categories: Nation and World