William A. Rugh

Edward R. Murrow Visiting Professor of Public Diplomacy

  • PhD, Public Law and Government, Columbia University
  • BA, Oberlin College
  • MA, SAIS, Johns Hopkins University


William A. Rugh is the Edward R. Murrow Visiting Professor of Public Diplomacy at The Fletcher School. He was a United States Foreign Service Officer 1964-1995. He held positions abroad for the U.S. Information Agency in Cairo, Riyadh and Jidda, and in Washington as USIA’s Director for Near East and South Asia. He also held State Department assignments as the United States ambassador to Yemen, ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, and Deputy Chief of Mission in Syria. He was President and CEO of the educational NGO AMIDEAST 1995-2003. He holds a PhD in international relations from Columbia University and an MA from Johns Hopkins. He taught at Fletcher 1984-1986 and 2008-2012. He is the author of books, journal articles, and op-eds on public diplomacy, on Arab media and on U.S.-Arab relations. His latest books are Front Line Public Diplomacy: How U.S. Embassies Communicate with Foreign Publics, 2014 and an edited volume, The Practice of Public Diplomacy, 2011. He is a member of the Public Diplomacy Council, and a board member of AMIDEAST and of the Middle East Policy Council. He is a Trustee of the American University in Cairo, and he serves on the Editorial Board of Arab Media and Society. He is also an Adjunct Scholar at the Middle East Institute.

Research Interests
  • Developments in American policy toward the Middle East
  • United States public diplomacy
  • and Arab mass media.
• "PD Practitioners: Still Second-Class Citizens", Foreign Service Journal, October 2009.
• "Repairing American Public Diplomacy", Arab Media and Society, issue 7, Winter 2009, (January 2009).
"Do National political systems still influence Arab media?", Arab Media and Society, issue 7, Winter 2009, (January 2009)
• "UAE Warnings for a Friend," MEI Perspectives (2006).
"Anti-Americanism on American Television: Some Outsider Observations" Transnational Broadcasting Studies, online in TBS Journal no. 15, January-June 2006.

• American Encounters with Arabs: the “Soft Power” of U.S. Public Diplomacy in the Arab World (2006).
• Arab Mass Media: Newspapers, Radio and Television in Arab Politics (2004).
• Engaging the Arab and Islamic Worlds through Public Diplomacy (editor) (2004).

• "Fixing Public Diplomacy for Arab and Muslim Audiences," A Practical Guide to Winning the War on Terrorism (2004).
• "Arab Cultures and Newspapers," The Function of Newspapers in Society: A Global Perspective (2003).
• "Yemen," Encyclopedia Britannica, Britannica Book of the Year (annually 1997-2003).

"A New Murrow for U.S. Public Diplomacy", with Lawrence Pintak, the Daily Star, Beirut, 2-17-09, (republished in the Daily News Egypt on 2-17-09 as “The Murrow Option”.
"Enabling Public Diplomacy Field Officers to Do Their Jobs," Public Diplomacy Council website, December 20, 2008.

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Office Phone

Mailing Address
The Fletcher School, Tufts University, 160 Packard Ave
Medford, MA, 02155