Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Michael Luongo

Journalist Michael Luongo is keeping busy.

Teaching at the University of Michigan

Teaching at University of Michigan
Soon after finishing the Knight-Wallace Fellowship, where my research focused on the role travel journalism plays in economic development of the tourism sector of former and current conflict zones, and urban areas in transition, I was offered a lecturer position for the Fall Semester at the University of Michigan in the English Department Writing Program, teaching Art of the Essay, a junior level opinion/personal essay composition class.  It's been quite a fun semester, and was also a learning experience in itself for myself as well.  Politics of course entered the concepts of the classroom, with Michigan figuring heavily into the recent elections, a topic of discussion and inspiration for writing for many of my students.

I am still in talks with various people at the University on creating special curriculum from my Knight-Wallace research.
University of Michigan Road Scholar
The University of Michigan also made me a Michigan Road Scholar, a special travel program where select faculty will spend a week representing the University and seeing the communities from throughout the state of Michigan where we draw some of our students. More on the program, in May of 2017, is here:
New York University Travel Writing Class

While I am in Michigan, my New York University travel writing class, the Global Traveler, is is on hold, though I might have an online version soon.  I will definitely keep you posted!
Article Links

Now that the Fellowship ended, I am also easing back into the turbulent world of freelance journalism.
Traveling While Muslim for the New York Times
On election day itself, I had a New York Times investigative article looking at issues for Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim traveling through airports.  The article was based on several months of research, with interviews from a variety of rights organizations, government officials and ordinary citizens passing through airports.
It is a topic I hope to continue to write on, as much of what I found could not be in one article.
The Springsteen Paradox for CNN - Understanding Trump and the Middle of the Country - on the CNN Website and on TV with CNN's Jonathan Mann

I had been trying to write since the summer on what I was seeing in the middle of the country speaking with underemployed workers shut out of the economy through globalization, and how despite polls, it was obvious Trump would do well in Michigan and other areas in the center of the country.  Many editors back in New York called me nuts - and then the elections happened. I know this because I speak to locals, as a carless person in the suburbs, and because, quite frankly, I come from Freehold, NJ, the hometown of Bruce Springsteen, so I have always been aware of working class issues.  I wrote an Opinion piece for CNN called The Springsteen Paradox, examining this, after the elections, and it was one of CNN's most highly read Opinion pieces.  You can read it here:
I taped a show with CNN International's Jonathan Mann about the piece. I will send the link when it is out. 

Here are the air dates and times (all times are US eastern).
Saturday, December 31st
Sunday, January 1st
Monday, January 2nd
Springsteen's Hometown Values for Gay City News
Another piece I recently wrote on Bruce Springsteen and his new book, looked at my time as Freehold High School's yearbook editor, where we duplicated the famous butt, red baseball cap and American flag throughout the book, to simulate his Born in the USA album, all while I was a closeted gay teen.  This was for Gay City News, and examines the various values of equality and freedom in Bruce songs.  The link for that is here:
Upcoming and Recent Lectures and Events

I frequently speak on a variety of topics at universities and other institutions.  If you'd like to book me for a speaking engagement on travel on more than 90 countries and all 7 continents, LGBT issues, human rights, travel writing, war and conflict and other topics, please send me a note at or

Orlando's Pulse Nightclub and Speaking at University of Central Florida on LGBT Issues
I spoke in early November in Orlando at the University of Central Florida's Global Perspective program, just prior to the elections, on the impact of the Orlando Pulse nightclub massacre on international LGBT issues.  It was my first time visiting the site, since the massacre occurred in June.  I spoke with students on the impact the event has had internationally, and I was paired with Hannah Willard of Equality Florida who spoke on the state's legal situation since the nightclub killing.  

More on the event is here:

While I was in Orlando, I also taped a special WUCF-TV/PBS show with John Bersia, the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who heads UCF's Global Perspectives.

New York Times Travel Show
Friday January 27 to Sunday January 29, 2017, I will speak at the New York Times Travel Show at the Javits Convention Center in New York City.  I will moderate the Middle East panel on Friday January 27, and speak on the Ethics Panel, on Sunday January 29 on travel to Detroit and other issues.  I will also be doing expert desk talks on the Middle East and on Argentina.

My full details are here:

Focus on The Middle East & North Africa Panel Discussion  
Friday, January 27, 2017 from 10:45 am - 12:15 pm

Meet the Experts:  Discover Argentina  
Saturday, January 28, 2017 from 3:00 pm - 3:45 pm

Beyond the Selfie:  Creating Ethical Travel in Today's World Panel Discussion  
Sunday, January 29, 2017 from 1:15 pm - 2:15 pm

Meet the Experts: Middle East Travel  
Sunday, January 29, 2017 from 3:00 pm - 3:45 pm 
Enjoy the holiday season - it is amazing to think that at this time last year, I sent my newsletter from the Holy Land, on a trip to Bethlehem and Jerusalem - even if I do not consider myself religious, it was an amazing experience to be there for Christmas, while also continuing my research on tourism and conflict and how religion impacts that. I know that I am lucky to be able to travel the world the way I do, and enjoy so many experiences.
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Happy Travels and Happy Holidays!
Michael Luongo

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Twitter: @michaelluongo