The Charger Blog

Award-Winning Photojournalist Robert Azzi Leads Campus Discussion about Faith and Identity in America Since 9/11

The creator of the "Ask a Muslim Anything" conversation series, which he has hosted more than 50 times, Robert Azzi led a University-wide forum and visited classes during his two days on campus.

October 19, 2018

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing & Communications

Robert Azzi
Award-Winning Photojournalist Robert Azzi.

For Nicole Rivera ’20, a communication student with a concentration in journalism and a minor in photography, listening to Robert Azzi, a veteran photojournalist, speak to her communication class reaffirmed her belief in the importance of journalism.

"He said that he wouldn't trust a photographer to take photos for a story he was writing," she said. "As a photographer and a journalist myself, that hit home. He gave me hope that despite all the controversy going on today with journalists, there are still people out there who understand and care."

This class was one of the three that Azzi visited during his two-day visit to the University of New Haven. Azzi also spoke to students, faculty, and staff members at a campus-wide forum. Azzi, an Arab American Muslim who created the "Ask a Muslim Anything" conversations series that he has hosted more than 50 times, led wide-ranging discussion on topics such as the Islamic faith and the treatment of Muslims in America.

"Most of the prejudices out there are easily refutable. If you do the work, the truth is out there." Robert Azzi

Azzi, whose work appeared frequently in such publications as Life, Time, and Newsweek, writes on issues of identity, conflict, and Islam. He was once a member of the Leadership Council of the Harvard Divinity School and an adviser to Tufts University’s Fletcher School Committee on Islam and South-West Asia. He is currently an ACLU-New Hampshire board member.

Students appreciated the opportunity to have an open and informative discussion with him.

Robert Azzi

"It's important to have these conversations at the University and in society because the treatment of the Muslim community is a topic that isn't addressed enough," said Sommers Smith ’19, a cimmunications major with a concentration in public relations. "These conversations create room for change and awareness, so Muslims can feel that this is their home too."

"In today’s increasingly polarizing world, it is our responsibility as an institution of higher learning to provide forums that awake our students’ global consciousness and enable them to learn and grow, and, most importantly, empower them to be our next global leaders," added President Steve Kaplan. "I commend Robert for his passion and for creating such an impactful experience that our students won’t soon forget."