Vice President, Middle East Institute
Kate Seelye is Vice President of the Middle East Institute. Prior to joining MEI, Seelye worked as a radio and television journalist covering the Arab world from her base in Beirut, Lebanon. She reported half hour documentaries for the PBS-TV show, Frontline/World, on the rise of Hamas, the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri and the government of Syrian president Bashar al Assad. She also reported and produced documentaries for the renowned Channel Four British investigative news series, Unreported World in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.
Seelye has also done extensive radio work in the Arab world. From 2000-2003, she reported on the region for National Public Radio. On assignment from Algeria to Iran, she covered a wide range of political, social and cultural issues, including the U.S. invasion of Iraq. She was part of an NPR team that won an Alfred I. DuPont -Columbia University Press Award for regional coverage of invasion. From 2005 – 2007, she covered Lebanon and the region for the PRI/BBC show, The World, reporting on the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and Lebanon’s subsequent political crisis, including the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war. She has freelanced for Marketplace, ABC and CBC radios, as well as written for Salon.com, the LA Times and the LA Weekly.
In 2004, Seelye was awarded a Fulbright grant to research a documentary on America’s relationship to the Arab world. That same year she received an honorary doctorate from Amherst College for her efforts to increase American understanding of the Middle East through her work in the media.
Prior to moving to Beirut in 2000, Ms. Seelye was a television producer for the PBS show, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, where she produced national stories about political and migration issues affecting California and the Southwest. She also worked in the film and documentary industry in Los Angeles on the sets of Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, HBO’s Taxicab Confessions and Disney’s Jungle Book series, among many other productions.
Seelye began her career teaching English at the Ahliyyah School for girls in Amman, Jordan and later worked for Queen Noor and the Noor al Hussein Foundation on development and educational issues in Jordan.
Ms. Seelye has a BA in history from Amherst College and an MA in journalism from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communications. She did her junior year abroad at the American University of Cairo. She speaks French and conversational Arabic.
Ms. Seelye is currently completing a feature length documentary about the history of the American-Arab relationship as told through the lens of her American family, five generations of whom have lived and worked in the Arab world since 1848.