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CGCS Staff

Monroe E. Price

Director and Adjunct Full Professor of Communication

Monroe E. Price is director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Global Communication Studies (CGCS) at the Annenberg School for Communication, where he works with a wide transnational network of regulators, scholars, and practitioners in Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Asia, as well as in the United States. Price also founded the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy at Oxford University and remains a research fellow there. He also chairs the Center for Media and Communications Studies at Central European University. Price has served on the President’s Task Force on Telecommunications Policy and the Sloan Commission on Cable Communications (both in the 1970s) and on the Carter-Sagalaev Commission on Radio and Television Policy (in the 1990s). He was a long-time member of the International Broadcasting Institute (now the International Communications Institute). He is the author and editor of numerous publications including Media and Sovereignty:  The Global Information Revolution and its Challenge to State Power, Owning the Olympics: Narratives of the New China, and the Routledge Handbook of Media Law.


Briar Smith

Associate Director

Briar Smith is the Associate Director at the Center for Global Communication Studies at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and the Director of the Iran Media Program and the co-author of the Iran Media Program’s ‘Finding a Way: How Iranians reach for News and Information’ as well as ‘Will Politics be Tweeted? New Media Use by Iranian Youth in 2011’ (in New Media and Society), and other CGCS/partner publications. She has presented on research conducted under the auspices of the Iran Media Program, as well as on research methodologies in complex political environments at Central European University’s Summer Program on Online Civil Society, Annenberg-Oxford’s Media Policy Summer Institute, as well as Annenberg’s Milton Wolf Seminar Series. In her position at CGCS, Smith oversees international initiatives and projects and manages programs, conferences, and trainings in East and Central Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

While a graduate student at Annenberg School for Communication, Briar worked closely on a number of CGCS’s initiatives, including teaching at the Penn-in-Beijing summer school and authoring a chapter in Owning the Olympics: Narratives of the New China. Her research interests include international cultural communications with particular focus on China and the Middle East, and the cultural politics of the body in contemporary Islamic contexts. Briar has a Master’s degree in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Chinese Language and Literature and Psychology from Swarthmore College.

Laura Schwartz-Henderson

Research Project Manager

Laura Schwartz Henderson serves as the Research Project Manager at the Center for Global Communication Studies. In this position, Laura manages domestic and international projects, the annual Annenberg-Oxford summer program, CGCS courses, and graduate student outreach. Laura obtained her BA in International Development and English at McGill University, concentrating her studies on media policy and development. Her honors thesis focused on broadband infrastructure development in sub-Saharan Africa. She has worked in finance and communications for several political campaigns, the San Francisco-based nonprofit One World Children’s fund and the public diplomacy sector of the U.S. Department of State.

Drew Cahan

Grants Coordinator

As CGCS's Grants Coordinator, Drew helps backstop CGCS's government and foundation funded projects.  Drew was a finance and accounting major from Northeastern University in Boston, where he also spent time working in the Grants Department at Harvard Medical School.  He grew up outside of Philadelphia.

Andrea Highbloom

Program Administrator

Andrea Highbloom serves as the Program Administrator at the Center for Global Communication Studies. Andrea graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, with a degree in Communication and a minor in Psychology. During her time as an undergraduate, Andrea worked as a research assistant at the Annenberg School.

Amelia Arsenault

Media and Democracy Research Fellow

Amelia Arsenault serves as the George Gerbner Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, Annenberg School.  She recently completed her doctoral work on the subject of information and state power in southern Africa at the University of Southern California, Annenberg School.  While at USC she also served as the Wallis Annenberg Graduate Fellow to Manuel Castells and as a Research Associate at the USC Center on Public Diplomacy.  Her research interests include: communication and power; media and ICT ownership; media and ICT for development; and public diplomacy.  She holds a B.A. in Film and History from Dartmouth College and an MSc in Global Media and Communication from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Prior to graduate school, Amelia worked as the film coordinator for the Zimbabwe International Film Festival Trust in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Her publications include: “The Structure and Dynamics of Global Multi-Media Business Networks,” International Journal of Communication (with Manuel Castells, 2008); “Switching Power: Rupert Murdoch and The Global Business Of Media Politics. A Sociological Analysis,” International Sociology (with Manuel Castells, 2008); “Conquering the Minds, Conquering Iraq: The Social Production of Misinformation in the United States.  A Case Study,” Information, Communication, and Society (with Manuel Castells, 2006); “Moving From Monologue to Dialogue to Collaboration: The Three Layers of Public Diplomacy,” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (with Geoffrey Cowan, 2008); and Public Diplomacy 2.0. In Philip Seib (Ed.) Toward a New Public Diplomacy: Redirecting U.S. Foreign Policy (Boston: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).


Ben Wagner

IPO Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

Ben Wagner is a post-doctoral research fellow at The Annenberg School for Communication at University of Pennsylvania and holds a PhD from European University Institute in Florence. His thesis focuses on the globalized governance of freedom of expression on the Internet, while his research interests extend to digital foreign policy, human rights, privacy and surveillance. His research has been published in Politics, Telecommunications Policy, JITP and the International Journal of Communications and he has authored several studies for the European Parliament and UNESCO.

Ben was previously a Visiting Fellow at Humboldt University in Berlin, the European Council on Foreign Relations and Human Rights Watch. He holds an M.A. in Political Science, International Law and Statistics from LMU University Munich and an M.Sc. in International Development Administration from the Universiteit Leiden. 

Lauren Kogen

2012-2013 Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

Lauren Kogen received her Ph.D. from the Annenberg School at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Kogen is involved in CGCS’s ongoing efforts to expand the community of researchers around monitoring & evaluation of media development (M&E). She also focuses on U.S. media coverage of crises and conflicts and journalistic norms regarding crisis coverage.

She worked extensively on the CGCS project Researching Attitudes Toward Peace and Conflict in Darfur, which sought to gauge public opinion in Darfur concerning the Darfur conflict. For this project, Lauren helped develop a survey methodology as well as analyze data from semi-structured interviews of Darfuri IDPs. This work was instrumental in refining Lauren’s research interest and knowledge in the use of media in conflict and post-conflict zones and emerging democracies, and informed a 2010 journal article that she published with CGCS Director Monroe E. Price, Deflecting the CNN Effect: Public Opinion Polling and Livingstonian Outcomes, in the Journal of Media, War & Conflict.

Alexandra Esenler

Media Policy Fellow

Alexandra Esenler serves as the Media Policy Fellow at the Center for Global Communication Studies. She obtained her BA from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, with a major in History and dual minors in Communication Studies and Marketing. While at McGill, Alex co-directed the campus chapter of, an international organization working to maintain the openness of the internet. She was also a Research Assistant in the Communication Department and an intern at the Canadian Association of community Television Users and Stations (CACTUS) . Her interests include digital citizenship, and internet governance and policy.