Author, noted Asia observer to speak May 9 at TU's commencement

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Orville SchellJournalist, author and noted Asia observer Orville Schell will be speaking at The University of Tulsa’s commencement ceremony, which will begin at 10 a.m., May 9, at the Donald W. Reynolds Center. The event is free and open to the public.

While best known as one of the country's most well informed and thoughtful observers on China, Orville Schell also has been a ship-hand, a war correspondent in Indochina, a rancher, a journalist reporting for such magazines as The New York Times Magazine, Harpers, The New Yorker, TIME, Wired, and Foreign Affairs. He has been a contributor on China for PBS, NBC, and CBS, where a “60 Minutes” program of his won an Emmy. He has also served as a correspondent for several PBS/Frontline documentaries on China and Tibet and covered the war in Iraq for The New York Review of Books.

Until recently, Schell served as Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. While he remains on the UC Berkeley faculty, he has now been appointed as Director of the Asia Society’s newly established Center on US-China Relations in New York City. In this new capacity, he leads new programs on the environment, the media and foreign policy in an effort promote more constructive dialogue between key Chinese and American leaders. He will also be a Fellow at Shorenstein Center at the John F. Kennedy School, Harvard University.

Schell has served on the board of Human Rights Watch, Current TV and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. His written work includes some fifteen books, ten of them about China, including “Virtual Tibet”, “Mandate of Heaven” and “Discos and Democracy,” as well as the five-volume “China Reader”. He is currently working on issues of continuing political and economic reform in China.

Schell has been honored with fellowships from the Alicia Patterson Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the Freedom Forum at Columbia University. He has also received numerous honors, including the Overseas Press Club of America Award, a Page One Award, and, most recently, the Shorenstein Journalism Award from Stanford and Harvard Universities for the best coverage of Asia.

Schell, who also has an active interest in photography, has also written the opening essays for such books as Jack Birns’ “Assignment Shanghai,” James Whitlow Delano's “Empire: Impressions from China” and Sebastiao Salgado's “Sahel: The End of The Road.”

Schell is currently working on a book on Chinese history for The Modern Library at Random House.

David Hamby