St. Olaf College | News

Alumnus will lecture on U.S. global media and American ‘soft power’

International broadcast audience researcher and author R. Eugene Parta ’62 will speak on campus on November 15 as part of the the Institute for Freedom & Community’s fall series exploring Patriotism, Nationalism, and the Idea of America.

His lecture, titled “U.S. Global Media and American ‘Soft Power’: Cold War Successes, Current Challenges, An Uncertain Future,” will begin at 7 p.m. in Viking Theater in Buntrock Commons. It is free and open to the public, and will be streamed live and available on demand online.

Working in the field of international broadcasting audience research since 1969, Parta is the retired Director of Audience Research and Program Evaluation for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Prague as well as the previous Director of Media and Opinion Research (MOR) of the RFE/RL Research Institute in 1990. He has been on two occasions a visiting research associate at the Center for International Studies of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an Osher Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, and a Research Associate of the Institute of European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University.

Parta has written extensively on media use, communications, and public opinion in Central and Eastern Europe and has been a frequent speaker and participant in international academic and professional conferences. He is a member of the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs and past Chairman of the Conference on International Broadcasting Audience Research (CIBAR), which unites international broadcasting audience research units worldwide.

More recently, Parta has been an active participant in the public dialogue on reforming U.S. international media. He co-authored A 21st Century Vision for U.S. Global Media, published by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Parta is the co-editor of Cold War Broadcasting: Impact on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, published by the Central European University Press. His earlier book Discovering the Hidden Listener: An Assessment of Radio Liberty and Western Broadcasting to the USSR During the Cold War was published by the Hoover Press at Stanford University.

Parta was educated at the School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University (M.A.), St. Olaf College (B.A.), Harvard University, and the American University.

Established at St. Olaf in 2014, the Institute for Freedom and Community encourages free inquiry and meaningful debate of important political and social issues. Through its range of programming for students, faculty, and the general public, the Institute offers a distinctive opportunity to cultivate civil discourse within the context of the liberal arts.

Please visit the Institute’s website for the full list of fall speakers, and sign up for the quarterly newsletter to receive regular updates and information about Institute programming.