Earlier this year, The President of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain appointed School of Communication alumna Dr. Mariliis Beger to serve as the first Honorary Consul of Pakistan in Estonia. Her research in Pakistan focuses on health literacy, eHealth and ICTs, and issues related to women’s sexual health. “I am looking forward to strengthening and building new relationships between Estonia and Pakistan in the areas of science and education, tourism, culture, and business.” says Dr. Beger who works as a senior consultant and a partner at a communication agency in Tallinn. “As Estonia has become one of the most developed digital societies in the world, e-governance and start-ups will probably be the key topics in future cooperation between the two countries.”
Dr. Beger came to Florida State University as a Fulbright Scholar in 2008. By 2013 she had earned her Master of Science in Media & Communication Studies as well as her Doctorate in Philosophy. She was a graduate teaching assistant for a number of years before becoming an instructor at FSU. She has had many conference presentations for her numerous research papers including “Measuring eHealth Literacy in the Era of Social Media” and “Factors that Influence the Acceptance of Sexual Health Classes Among Young Pakistani Females.” For a full list of her books, projects and conference presentations, click here. While at FSU, Beger won the John H. Phipps Scholarship, Joanne & James Lynagh Fellowship in Communication, Karl A. and Madira Bickel Scholarship, Scholarship of the Florida-Eastern Europe Linkage Institute, and a Dissertation Research Grant. She also received top student research presentation award at the DC Conference on Health Communication. Dr. Beger is very thankful to the School of Communication, especially to Dr. Stephen McDowell for supporting and encouraging her research in Pakistan. “Studying at FSU has brought new opportunities for me. ” Beger says, “I probably would have never got involved with Pakistan or health communication. During my university years I met so many inspiring and motivating professors and made friends for life, such as Dr. Khawaja Zain-ul-abdin with whom I continue having great research collaboration.”
Dr. McDowell was a close colleague of Dr. Beger and remarked, “Dr. Beger’s doctoral dissertation under the direction of Dr. Juliann Cortese focused on online sexual health education and female cancer prevention in Pakistan. She assessed the applicability of an integrated model of behavior prevention in examining different populations. She has been a research affiliate with our South Asian Media and Cultural Studies program. We are very glad to see her research interests and connections in Pakistan being recognized through this important appointment.”
The fifth annual South Asian Media & Cultural Studies (SAMCS) Conference’s 2019 theme is Cultural Disruptions: Media and Social Change in South Asia and will be held in the Center for Global and Multicultural Engagement on FSU’s campus on January 31 – February 1, 2019.
On this incredible accomplishment and getting to visit Pakistan several times, Beger says “Most people in Estonia don’t know that Pakistan has a lot to offer. What do I like the most there? Its people. I have never met such kind and caring people anywhere else in the world. In addition, Pakistan’s breathtaking nature, amazing food, its fascinating culture, and a mix of old and new made me fall in love with this country at first sight.”