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Washington, U.S.A - On Tuesday, May 22, 2012, Layalina Productions celebrated a decade of television diplomacy in the Middle East at its 10th Anniversary Gala, being held at the Newseum in Washington, DC. At the Gala, internationally acclaimed three times Pulitzer Prize winning author and journalist Thomas L. Friedman and The Honorable Tara Sonenshine, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, provided remarks and highlight Layalina’s efforts to strengthen U.S.-Arab relations.
With its mission being to educate, inform, and inspire audiences across the Middle East and North Africa, with special emphasis on youth. The organization’s efforts focus on promoting greater cultural understanding through award winning television shows, publications and educational exchanges.
“Young people are our best hope to bridge the cultural gap that currently exists between the United States and the Arab world. Layalina is dedicated to fostering better understanding among cultures, and our hope is to substantially increase the prospects of long term peace in the Middle East,” Comments Ambassador Richard Fairbanks, Layalina’s Founder and Chairman.
Layalina’s dozen credits include the award-winning documentary Life After Death, which serves as an indictment against terrorism and the barbaric targeting of civilians, and the recently completed Back from the Brink, a documentary about the efforts of three dissimilar communities around the world to counter the spread of violent extremism.
On the Road in America, a hit series whose third season will soon air in primetime in the Middle East and North Africa region on MBC — the most watched Arab network — follows four Arab university students traveling across the United States.
The series focuses on Arab and American attitudes toward each other as seen through the eyes of the Arab visitors and the Americans whom they encounter on their journeys. Over the past two seasons, the show has more than doubled its viewing audience – from 4.5 million viewers to 9 million viewers per episode. American Caravan, the reverse of On the Road, features six young Americans discovering the Arab world in the footsteps of the Arab Spring. American Caravan is currently in post-production.
The Layalina 10th anniversary celebration week included a luncheon on May 17th featuring Layalina Counselor Dr. Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.