William J. Dobson Returns to Salzburg Global

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William J. Dobson Returns to Salzburg Global

One-time intern and now politics and foreign affairs editor at Slate.com speaks to Salzburg Academy students about his book ‘The Dictator’s Learning Curve’ Will Dobson with Media Academy student Lucia Malvarez

Almost 20 years ago, Slate.com's politics and foreign affairs editor, William J. Dobson came to Salzburg Global Seminar as an intern, where his time spent engaging in “meaningful conversations” with foreign policy makers and questioning them helped him pursue a career in journalism.

This summer he returned to Schloss Leopoldskron, but this time it was he who was facing the questions from 70 eager international journalism students.

Dobson, who is also a Salzburg Global Fellow following his participation of two Salzburg sessions on East Asian-US relations, presented at the seventh annual Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change on the topic of his recently published book The Dictator’s Learning Curve.

He also hosted a question and answer session where students were able to get an exclusive look at what goes on behind the scenes at major news journals.

Speaking in an interview with Salzburg Global President Stephen Salyer after his lecture, Dobson spoke fondly of his “Salzburg Experience”.

“You could engage in real meaningful conversations with people who didn’t just have opinions about American foreign policy, but were actually involved in shaping American foreign policy.

"The experience of being able to question people of that rank and stature is something that once you’ve tried doing it’s hard to give up.

"So I think it’s quite natural for someone who’s had that experience to take up a career like journalism where that’s what we do every day.”

Dobson has since enjoyed an highly successful career in journalism, working as senior editor, Asia, at Newsweek International, managing editor at Foreign Policy magazine, and now politics and foreign affairs editor for Slate magazine, as well as writing numerous articles on Chinese foreign policy and Sino-American relations for American newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the New Republic.

In 2009, Dobson gave up his position with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace to concentrate on writing his book, which was finally published in June 2012 to great acclaim and has since appeared on the New York Times bestsellers list.

In his interview with Salyer, Dobson also answered questions on the main themes of his book, what he sees now for the future of the Arab Spring and authoritarian regimes in other areas of the world, and how the media can cover them.

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