William Lafi Youmans is an Associate Professor at George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs. He also has an appointment with the Elliott School of International Affairs. He is the director of the Institute of Public Diplomacy and Global Communication at GWU.
Broadly interested in questions of transnationalism, power and communication, his primary research interests include global news, media industries, technology, law and politics. His other areas of research interest include international broadcasting, Middle East politics, and Arab American studies.
Youmans wrote a book, Unlikely Audience: Al Jazeera's Struggle in America (Oxford UP), about the Qatari news network's efforts to gain a share of the news market in the United States. He has been quoted in articles that ran in Salon, Washington Post, Newsweek, Variety and The New York Times, among others. He was a guest on radio and television programs on CBC Radio, WAMU/NPR, Headline News, Al Jazeera English and ARD. He wrote a regular column for Arab American News and The Gulf News, but has also written essays for the Washington Post, Middle East Report, and Nieman Journalism Lab.
His paper on CIA recruitment in Arab Detroit won the Best Paper Award in the International Communication Section of the International Studies Association. It was later published in The Communication Review.
Youmans presented at academic conferences, including the annual gatherings of the Middle East Studies Association, the International Communication Association, the National Communication Association, the International Studies Association, and the American Sociological Association.
He is currently working on two long-term projects. The first is a documentary film about Alex Odeh, a Palestinian American activist who was assassinated in Orange County, CA in 1985. The crime is unsolved and still haunts the local community to this day. The second is a major video archive he is building of Arab American TV, a program that ran out of Los Angeles from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.
Youmans obtained his B.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. He also holds a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.