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U.S.-funded magazine for young Arabs spotlights "American values"

U.S.-funded magazine for young Arabs spotlights "American values" WASHINGTON, Aug 9 (KUNA) -- Hi, a new apolitical magazine funded by the State Department, is published in Arabic and targets Arabs ages 18 to 35.
The premiere issue of the glossy, full-color, 72-page monthly appeared in July with a cover story on the experiences of Arab students in U.S. colleges and shorter articles on yoga, sandboarding, singer Norah Jones, Arab American actor Tony Shalhoub and marriage counseling.
"This is a long-term way to build a relationship with people who will be the future leaders of the Arab world," Christopher Ross, special coordinator for public diplomacy at the State Department, told the Washington Post in a story published on Saturday. "It is good to get them in a dialogue while their opinions are not fully formed on matters large and small." The July issue of Hi contains nothing about the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Afghanistan or Al-Qaeda, the Post noted, and editors say future issues will remain apolitical.
"This is a lifestyle magazine," Fadel Lamen, Hi's Libyan American managing editor, told the Post. "It is a new phenomenon in the Arab world to do a lifestyle magazine that does not touch on the political." "There are plenty of political magazines," Ross told the Times. "This is, in a very subtle way, a vehicle for American values." The magazine is part of a series of initiatives by the Bush administration to create a more positive view of the United States in the Arab world, particularly among young people.
Hi is edited in Washington, printed in a State Department plant in the Philippines and flown to the Middle East. Thus far, it is distributed in Kuwait, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia, Sudan, Israel, Yemen, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, among other places. The publishers of Hi are still seeking permission to sell the magazine in Syria and Saudi Arabia.
The State Department hopes to expand circulation from the current 50,000 to 250,000.
The magazine costs about two dollars a copy, and will cost U.S. taxpayers about 4 million dollars a year, minus whatever advertising revenues it can generate, the Post said. (end) rm.tg KUNA 091920 Aug 03NNNN