WHAT: The 2022 Winter Olympics kick off this week in China amid a flurry of controversy, as the host nation is facing criticisms on human rights abuses and its treatment of professional tennis player Peng Shuai. As you cover the Olympics this month, American University experts are available to share their commentary and analysis on a wide range of issues, including the diplomatic boycott, human rights, foreign policy, history, public and cultural diplomacy, and ethical issues journalists and advertisers face in covering and supporting the Winter Olympics.

WHEN:  February 2, 2022 – February 20, 2022

WHO: American University experts include:

Ron Hill is the Dean’s Professor of Marketing and Public Policy at the Kogod School of Business. His research includes impoverished consumer behavior, advertising and marketing ethics, corporate social responsibility, human development, and public policy. He is available to comment on advertisers and networks’ role, and advertising ethics surrounding the Olympics Games this year.

Robert Kelley, Assistant Professor at the School of International Service, studies intersections of culture and politics. Prof. Kelley directed the Intercultural Management Institute at American University. Prior to entering academia, he worked at the U.S. Department of State in the Office of Foreign Missions enforcing reciprocity in bilateral diplomatic relations.  His areas of expertise include soft power and public and cultural diplomacy, particularly as it relates to the Olympic Games.

On Tuesday, February 8, Prof. Kelly will moderate “Hearts, Minds, and Wallets: A Conversation of the Branding of Nations and Cities,” a virtual event that will focus on the efforts to improve or better define a country’s reputation or image, such as hosting the Olympics, play a role in what is known as nation branding. Register for the event here.

Jason Mollica is a professorial lecturer in the School of Communication, is a former radio and television anchor/reporter/producer. Prof. Mollica is available to comment and discuss topics related to media and politics, especially public relations campaigns, the responsibilities of broadcasters and how they are viewed and examined through social and digital media. He can also comment on the responsibility of broadcasters considering the human rights issues in China. He has worked for NBC, Comcast SportsNet, and Fox News before making the pivot to public relations.

Sarah B. Snyder, professor at the School of International Service, is a historian of U.S. foreign relations who specializes in the history of the Cold War, human rights activism, and U.S. human rights policy. Prof. Snyder is a Distinguished Lecturer at the Organization of American Historians and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Prof. Snyder’s commentary and analysis have appeared in The Washington Post, WBUR, Sirius XM, among other media outlets. Prof. Snyder can comment on U.S. human rights policy, human rights activism, and the intersection of the Olympics and sport more broadly.

Joseph Torigian, assistant professor at the School of International Service, is an expert on politics of authoritarian regimes with a specific focus on China and Russia. His research draws upon comparative politics, international relations, security studies, and history to ask big questions about the long-term political trajectories of these two states. Prof. Torigian can comment on Chinese and Soviet history, politics, and foreign policy.

Benjamin Wright is a professorial lecturer in marketing at the Kogod School of Business. He teaches classes in marketing and brand management, digital marketing, and consumer behavior. Dr. Wright’s research interests focus on the use of marketing and branding strategies of organizations. Specifically, his research examines platforms such as social media to evaluate their impact on branding initiatives and marketing-driven organizational outcomes. His experience includes marketing and public relations consulting, and sports marketing at a collegiate level, and can comment on sports marketing and advertising ethics surrounding the Olympic Games.


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