VOA’s Elez Biberaj to Speak on “Democracy’s Secret Sauce” at VOA Museum Nov. 6
Biberaj is director of VOA Eurasia Division
On Nov. 9, 1989, the free world celebrated as East and West Germans chipped away--and then toppled-- the Berlin Wall.
The cement barrier not only divided the city of Berlin and physically separated east and western German families from their loved ones for a generation, it was a visual symbol of the Iron Curtain that had fallen between the socialist Soviet Union (now known as Russia) and the West and its allies since 1961.
In commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Elez Biberaj, director of the Voice of America’s Eurasia Division in Washington, D.C.,
will speak on “Democracy’s Secret Sauce: Telling the Truth to Let the World Decide” on Wednesday, Nov. 6 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting in West Chester.
The event is sponsored by Kehoe Financial Advisors of Cincinnati. Admission is free.
Biberaj, a career VOA employee for nearly 40 years, has the breadth of knowledge and experience of a Cold War expert.
He will speak about the Voice of America’s impact worldwide during the Cold War between 1947 to 1991; the events leading up to the Fall of the Wall; and some of the issues we face today regarding propaganda and disinformation programs from Russia. He will also discuss whether we are experiencing a “Second Cold War” due to reports of Russian disinformation efforts during our 2016 presidential election and in our electoral system.
“Elez was on the front lines of the Cold War as both a political analyst and a VOA journalist,” said Jack Dominic, museum executive director. “We’re eager to hear his insights on the role VOA played in inspiring East Europeans to work for democracy in their own countries, as well as his take on the state of democracy in Europe today.”
Biberaj, who earned a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University, has been director of VOA’s Eurasia Division since 2006. He oversees the VOA’s Russian, Ukrainian, Albanian, Armenian, Bosnian, Georgian, Macedonian, and Serbian language services. He has traveled extensively throughout Eurasia and has spoken on Eurasian, Balkan, and Russian affairs to government, NGO, and media organizations because of his expertise in Eurasian affairs, according to the VOA in Washington. He is the author of four books and numerous scholarly articles.
Biberaj joined VOA in 1980 as a broadcaster in the Albanian Service. From 1982 to 1986, he worked in the press division of the former U.S. Information Agency as a Soviet and East European affairs analyst. He returned to VOA as Albanian Service chief in 1986, and over the next 18 years helped transform the service into one of VOA’s most successful broadcasting units.
The VOA is the largest U.S. international broadcaster and reaches a weekly global audience of more than 270 million people in 40-plus languages in nearly 100 countries. VOA programs are delivered on multiple platforms, including radio, television, web and mobile via a network of 2,200 media outlets worldwide. The news organization is funded by the U.S. Congress through the U.S. Agency for Global Media, an independent federal agency.
The VOA Bethany Relay Station was known for its high-powered, re-entrant rhombic antenna system, which transmitted VOA shortwave radio news to Nazi-occupied Europe and northern Africa during World War II and to South America during the Cold War to countries that lacked a free press. Bethany Station was decommissioned by the federal government in 1994 and now houses the VOA museum.
Seating is limited, so RSVPs to attend the event are requested by Tuesday, Nov. 5 and can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the museum at (513) 777-0027. Donations will be accepted at the door. The museum is located at 8070 Tylersville Road in West Chester.