Former Ambassador and former Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe was in Cairo to observe Egyptian elections this past weekend. The peripatetic former mayor is on a fact-finding tour of the Middle East and racking up frequent flier miles as a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the corporate board of the Middle Eastern Broadcasting Network which operates the Alhurra TV network and Radio Sawa. Ashe was appointed to the post by President Obama after his stint as ambassador to Poland.
In Egypt Ashe met with Egyptian journalists and the leadership of Alhurra, and attended a lunch hosted by American Ambassador to Egypt Margaret Scobey, a University of Tennessee graduate. Then it was on to Dubai in United Arab Emirates to meet with the American Consul General and visit the MBN Production facility. Then to Doha which is the capitol of Qatar to meet with leaders on broadcasting in the Middle East and the U.S. Ambassador to Qatar, Joseph LeBaron. The trip concludes in Kuwait visiting the U.S. transmitting station, and then meeting with U.S. Ambassador Deborah Jones and journalists in Kuwait.
The purpose of the trip is to assess the effectiveness of American broadcasting in Middle East and what changes might assist its reach. Broadcasting Board of Governors, the successor to Voice of America, has over 2,700 employees worldwide and brings accurate news to parts of the world with restricted and censored media.