College Media Hall of Fame: Arez Hussen Ahmed, Outgoing Editor-in-Chief, Iraq’s Voice

The College Media Hall of Fame is a digital enshrinement of individuals, news outlets, and organizations who have made a lasting impact on collegemediatopia or greatly contributed to it over the past year.  Much like last year’s inaugural batch (known as the CMM 10), this year’s inductees include standout student journalists, innovative student media entrepreneurs, and impassioned advocates of campus press 2.0.  With a hat tip to the annual Time 100, many of the posts announcing each honoree include a few words of adoration penned by a close friend or colleague. Next up…

 Arez Hussen Ahmed

Outgoing editor-in-chief, The AUIS Voice

Among individuals who have helped create and nurture student journalism during its infancy in Iraq, the most passionate has been Arez Hussen Ahmed.  (Kurdistan Fatih, Namo Kaftan, and Jackie Spinner are tied for close second.)

As editor-in-chief of The AUIS Voice, Iraq’s first editorially independent campus newspaper, he has served for the past year as the face of quality, objective student journalism in the country.  By all accounts, he was an endlessly hardworking newsroom leader with a nose for news and a commitment to better understanding and practicing responsible journalism in a region known more for innuendo and partisan pandering.

Arez Hussen Ahmed, 20, an international studies major at AUIS, served as Voice editor-in-chief for more than a year. He is posing here at the door of the Voice newsroom, which is located in the university's cafeteria.

Ahmed once told me his passion for the Voice superseded almost all else.  “I feel like the Voice is a part of me,” he said.  “I always think about [it].  Sometimes I dream about it.  I never thought that I would feel that much passion for anything.”

While it is incredibly difficult to start a newspaper, it is even tougher to keep it going after the initial adrenaline rush wears off, the staff turnover increases, and the story ideas pool shallows out.  Ahmed kept the Voice alive– providing living proof that journalism can survive and thrive even in one of the hardest hit spots on Earth.

I am humbled to include him as a Class of 2011 inductee to the College Media Hall of Fame.

“The Soldier Behind the Scenes”

By Namo Kaftan

I’m writing this as Arez is sitting in front of me across the table having his lunch meal.  He has no idea why and what am I busy typing on my computer! Arez is the kind of person whom I’ve always enjoyed working with in any field, even in class projects and group works. He has always been a great colleague and the most loyal friend I’ve ever met.

He has great leadership skills, which makes him a remarkable and outstanding person to lead a team like the AUI-S Voice staff.  Since the day we met, I realized how enthusiastic and passionate he is about his work and study. I also realized how exceptionally responsive and responsible he is.  He is always courteous and wants things to be as excellent as possible.  What amazes me about him with the Voice is that he is really accurate about every single detail and policy.

Kaftan (left) and Hussen in the Voice newsroom. (Photo courtesy of Kaftan.)

Arez’s presence on the Voice team made me more enthusiastic about journalism.  I fell in love with journalism because of people like Arez.  I’m really glad that Arez was my editor-in-chief for more than a year. We had some rough times, missing some deadlines, and rushing into things, which made us tired, but we also had a lot of inexorably good times with a lot of funny situations.  One of the things that makes me really sad is that not everybody sees and appreciates what this stunning man does for the newspaper.  I see him as the soldier behind the scenes, as many people are not aware of him and his hard work.

I remember the first time I saw the flyer on the student bulletin board about creating an independent student newspaper.  I was with Arez.  He was the one who pulled me into the meeting just to check it out and see what it was about, and there we met the great American journalist, Jackie Spinner, the founder and former faculty adviser of the Voice.  If it wasn’t for Arez, I wouldn’t have gone to that meeting from the first place.  I’m grateful I’ve always worked, and experienced this entire thing, with Arez.

Kaftan, an AUIS student, is the incoming Voice editor-in-chief.

Other Class of 2011 CMM Hall of Fame inductees:

Michael Koretzky

Frank LoMonte

Victor Luckerson & The Crimson White

Connor Toohill

3 Responses to “College Media Hall of Fame: Arez Hussen Ahmed, Outgoing Editor-in-Chief, Iraq’s Voice”
  1. Ash says:

    I have no other word to say, but respect! god bless you both.

  2. Kathryn Seidler says:

    We are so very proud of you! You are such a leader, which is difficult for most people but I think not so difficult for you because you are a natural leader. You are moving forward in life so fast for being on 20 years old! We pray for your safety and continued growth and happiness. Love, your American Mom and Dad, Scott and Kathryn Seidler

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