This blog will highlight efforts to modernize and develop the Middle East from the perspective of a 20-something foreign policy junkie. The blog will cover everything from economic development to women’s rights, free press to democracy, and political institutions to finance.

About the author:

Zachary Colman was conceived between a rock and a hard place at the base of Mt. Vesuvius some scores ago, in a time not unlike the present but very much akin to the past. It’s unsure whether his birth coincided with the eruption of that volcano, which destroyed the ancient city of Pompeii, but geologists and archaeologists admit Colman’s birth could have been a determining factor. Those same geologists and archaeologists also failed history class, considering Colman was born in 1988. It’s a shame what’s happened to liberal arts education in the United States, isn’t it?

Colman earned a bachelor of arts degree from Michigan State University, although we use the term “earned” loosely considering a bulk of his time was spent playing Madden, eating in the Snyder-Phillips cafeteria and unsuccessfully stealing parking cones from the City of East Lansing. But, for what it’s worth, both James Madison College and the College of Arts and Letters were kind enough to let him keep his diploma in international relations and journalism. Somehow, the Phi Beta Kappa Society also thought he deserved admission. Oh, and he has a Jewish Studies specialization, which garners him praise from the relatives on the Jewish side of his family and a “what-the-hell-is-that-going-to-get-you, Seinfeld?” look from the Christian half.

After stints at The Associated Press, Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The Jerusalem Post (yes, in Israel), Omaha World-Herald (yes, in Nebraska) and four years on MSU’s student newspaper The State News, Colman earned his master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield. Colman believes that degree will be more valuable than his Jewish Studies specialization, although it likely will just be another piece of paper that drives him further into debt he will never be able to repay on a journalist’s salary.

In his spare time, Colman likes to pretend he is a screenwriter or a novelist, and he has several sad, failed attempts at both to prove it. He also enjoys reading about international politics and sports, playing basketball, football and baseball, and he is an avid Detroit sports fan. He is a fan of underground hip hop, but has a soft spot for the likes of Lil Wayne and Kanye West, too. Really, he loves all kinds of music, with his first interests being the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and the like. He also is a fan of movies, because they take much less time to complete than books — and, let’s be honest, the best books have already been converted into movies.

Colman would like to say he’s a humanitarian committed to community service and improving the lives of those around him, but he also realizes he’s not that good at lying or caring.

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