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Indian Express
Oct. 13, 2000

Indian policy wonk becomes editor of Newsweek
By Chidanand Rajghatta

Copyright © 2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

WASHINGTON, OCT.12: Indians in America crossed anothermilestone on Wednesday when the Washington Post Co.named Fareed Zakaria, an acclaimed Indian-Americanpolicy wonk, as Editor of the international operationsof its flagship Newsweek magazine.

Zakaria, 36, already an occassional Newsweek columnistand a contributing editor, has become a weightyintellectual voice in the U.S. on the strength of hisseven-year stint at Foreign Affairs.

Taking over as Managing Editor when he was only 28,Zakaria evolved it from a dull policy journal to alively, more broad-based magazine. He will joinNewsweek in January following the completion of a bookproject, it was announced.

“I couldn't be more thrilled that Fareed is joiningthe ‘Flying Wallendas,’ as we like to call ourtop-editing team. He’s not only an exceptional writerand thinker, but a dynamic editor who will… help bringan even sharper edge to the domestic magazine’scoverage of foreign affairs," Newsweek Editor MarkWhitaker said in a statement.

As Editor of Newsweek International, Zakaria willreport to Whitaker and be responsible for the contentand direction of Newsweek’s three overseas editionsand language subsidiaries that have a global audienceof about 3.5 million.

Zakaria, who grew up in Bombay, has well-knownpolitical and journalistic pedigree. His father RafiqZakaria was part of Indira Gandhi’s Congress for manyyears and his mother Fatma Zakaria edited the Sundaymagazine section of the Times of India.

Fareed came to the U.S in the 1980s and went to Yale,where he got his B.A in political science, andHarvard, where he received a doctorate in 1993. Hejoined Foreign Affairs soon after and distinguishedhimself with incisive commentary on U.S foreign policyand international affairs in The New York Times, TheWall Street Journal, The New Republic and otherinfluential papers and magazines.

Newsweekers recall his provocative first column in themagazine in 1996 titled "Thank Goodness for a Villain"that discussed why the U.S needed Saddam Hussein inorder to sustain American policy in the Middle East.He is also the author of "From Wealth to Power: TheUnusual Origins of America’s World Role" and coeditorof "The American Encounter: The United States and theMaking of the Modern World."

In a glowing 1999 profile, The New York Timescommented on the influence he was gathering in thepolicy establishment and compared him to two otherimmigrant-diplomats, Henry Kissinger and ZbigniewBrzezinski, though like them he does not come out of aEuropean tradition.

"I don't think anyone ever imagined that in the nextdecade or so there could be a national securityadviser from India… This is in the realm ofpossibility," the paper quoted Leslie H. Gelb,president of the Council on Foreign Relations(publisher of Foreign Affairs) as saying. paraThe paper also quoted Condoleeza Rice, George W.Bush’s foreign policy advisor as saying Zakaria is"intelligent about just about every area of theworld."

Zakaria’s elevation is in tune with the increasingpresence of Indians in the American media and finearts, relatively new frontiers compare to the healthcare and high-tech domains where Indians areprominent.

There are now hundreds of writers and journalists fromIndia in newspapers and magazines ranging from NYT,Wall Street Journal, Forbes and BusinessWeek, to minorleague papers like Poughkeepsie Journal and HartfordCourant. Peter Bhatia, a former editor of theSacramento Bee and the Oregonian, ispresident-designate of the American Society ofNewspaper Editors.

Sreenath Sreenivasan, who teaches journalism atColumbia University, reckons there are some 800 Indianjournalists in the U.S. with “more coming in everyday.”

“Fareed has been one of the most influentialjournalists since he was 28 years old… now a wholenew, larger global audience is going to read hiswork,” Sreenivasan said. Zakaria was not immediatelyavailable for comment.

In the past week, at least five Indian-American actorshave appeared on the small screen, capping big Indiansuccesses in Hollywood. Indian successes in Englishliterature have been well chronicled.

Zakaria, who lives in New York City, is married toPaula, a jewelry designer, and they have a13-month-old baby boy Omar. Zakaria is also a bonvivant and writes a column on wines for the Internetmagazine Slate.Com.

Copyright © 2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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