Riz Khan anchors the Riz Khan Show on Al Jazeera English. This “Note” is part of a series of posts that personalities from Al Jazeera covering the international events in New York and Pittsburgh will be sharing with readers of The Washington Note).
One part I really enjoy about being in international journalism is the people I get to meet… and where else but the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York could I sit in a room with a dozen heads of state – Presidents and Prime Ministers from around the world?!
It’s going to be a challenge though. I’m moderating an hour-long panel on Maternal, Newborn and Child Healthcare – a global initiative that aims to save the millions of mothers and children dying every year from preventable diseases. It’s actually heartbreaking to know how bad the situation is… literally the equivalent to thousands of natural disasters all put together every year – year after year.
That’s why I’m glad to be involved in the awareness that this kind of gathering brings. By the way, the challenge I refer to is giving every world leader, and other heavily-involved parties in that room, only two minutes to speak before moving on to the next person! A politician speak for only two minutes?!! Exactly! Now you know what I mean.
The issue is a crucial one, though, and was meant to be the subject of my television show on Al Jazeera English today – but unfortunately, my two guests – supermodels, Christy Turlington and Liya Kebede, have pulled out to attend some crucial meetings.
It’s hard to get upset at supermodels (!), but as I write this, my team and I are scrambling to find either alternative guests or an alternative topic for today.
I’m lucky that I have a good amount of time – with a half-hour daily live show – to tackle these sorts of issues… ones that the news often have to shift aside for hard-hitting coverage of conflicts and disasters. But as I say, with millions dying from preventable diseases – usually the most vulnerable people in the developing world – the scale of the problem can’t be ignored.
If we do change topics, I want to make sure that we get back to the issue of maternal and child healthcare as soon as possible. Too many lives depend on it!
Whatever we end up doing though, I do encourage everyone to watch and participate actively with my show at 4:30PM EST each day, either on your TV if Al Jazeera English is available in your area (in Washington, D.C. on Comcast channel 275, Cox channel 474, and Verizon FIOS channel 457) or streaming live and for free at www.livestation.com/aje. The show is broadcast live and allows viewers from around the world to question world leaders, newsmakers and celebrities directly via phone, email, SMS, video-mail and fax, and now by participating in the LiveStation chatroom.
I hope to hear from you!
— Riz Khan