Virginia Tech’s Community Voices speakers program will host Turkish journalist Mahir Zeynalov on March 23 for two events focusing on that country’s shift from a flawed democracy to an autocracy.

Zeynalov will begin his discussion during an interactive roundtable where he will share his experiences with dwindling press and media freedoms that took place during Turkey’s move from democracy to autocratic rule.

The program will be at noon in Room C of the Graduate Life Center at Donaldson-Brown, 155 Otey St. A light lunch is available for $5, or attendees may bring their own.

At 7 p.m. in Room G of the Graduate Life Center, Zeynalov will present, “Democratic Deconsolidation in Turkey: Challenges and Prospects,” a look at the geopolitical, cultural, and social factors that contributed to the governance changes in that country. Both events are free and open to students, faculty, staff, and administrators and to the general public.

Zeynalov is a weekly columnist for Al Arabiya and a blogger at Huffington Post based in Washington, D.C. Zeynalov started his professional career with the Los Angeles Times, working with veteran journalist David Holley, who was based in Moscow. He later joined the newspaper, Today's Zaman, as a foreign affairs correspondent and acting web editor.

He also worked as a managing editor at the Caucasus International magazine. He is a frequent commentator on developments related to Turkey for radio and television networks, including CNN, Monocle, BBC, and Skynews.

Community Voices is an interdisciplinary group of graduate students and faculty, and citizens interested in exploring innovative approaches to community building and engagement. The program, an initiative of the School of Public and International Affairs' Institute for Policy and Governance, organizes a series of public talks and roundtable discussions by leaders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors who share their insights and experiences helping communities shape their futures.

Graduate students also interview the speakers for Trustees Without Borders, a podcast produced by Institute Senior Fellow Andy Morikawa. The public presentations and interview recordings are archived on the Community Voices website.

If you are interested in purchasing lunch ($5) for the roundtable event, please RSVP to Regina Naff by noon March 22 by email at or phone at 540-231-6775.

For more information, interview requests, or if you need accommodations for the events, please contact Morikawa at or (540) 230-1492.

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