Robbie Harris

WVTF/RADIO IQ New River Valley Bureau Chief

Robbie Harris is based in Blacksburg,  covering the New River Valley and southwestern Virginia. 

The former news director of  WBEZ/ Chicago Public Radio and WHYY in Philadelphia, she led award-winning news teams and creative projects.  Early in her career, she was the Humanities Reporter at New Hampshire Public Radio, and also served as a tape editor on Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

Robbie worked at New Jersey Public Television and WCAU/CBS TV in Philadelphia while she pursued  her Master's Degree at the University of Pennsylvania.  During college, she was a Page at Saturday Night Live in New York and a reporter and program host for Cross Country Cable Television in Somerville, NJ.  Robbie also worked at the Rutgers College Radio Station, WRSU and was part of the team which founded "Knight Time Television" at the university.

It’s been said music is the language of the heart, something able to break down barriers between people with different politics, cultures or beliefs. WVTF/Radio IQ’s Robbie Harris visited a rehearsal of a unique ensemble learning to play Arabic music, in Blacksburg. It will debut at the Islamic Worlds Festival at Virginia Tech later this month.

Even though Muslims make up nearly a quarter of the world's population, the political, religious, historical, and cultural aspects of Islam are not known or understood by most Americans. The Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech is hoping to play a part in changing that with an "Islamic Worlds Festival."

It will be a 360-degree view of the large and diverse world of Islam. Impossible to do, that is unless you focus the lens of the arts on this rich topic. 

Whatever your thoughts on fashion, it seems clear that what a woman wears can speak volumes about her, before she ever utters a word. 

In part three of our series on the upcoming Islamic Worlds Festival at Virginia Tech’s Center for the Arts, we explore the message of the hijab: the headscarf worn by Muslim women here and all over the world.

“From what I see as someone that wears a headscarf is, I walk with my religion on my head. So it is a little bit harder.”

The arts have a unique ability to embrace complexity; to hold a variety of ideas at once. They can foster exploration not always possible through other routes. That’s the idea behind the Islamic Worlds Festival at Virginia Tech’s Center for the Arts, which opens next month. 

"There’s such a cultural clinging to tradition that is both admirable and sometimes problematic, but that’s in every culture; if you hold too strongly to tradition."

Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club

An environmental impact statement on the proposed Mountain Valley Natural Gas Pipeline is expected this month, from the companies planning to build the 300 - mile transmission line. 

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