A year ago today, we lost our dear friend and colleague Persephone Miel. Before she died, Persephone said she wanted to be remembered by a fellowship that would help media professionals outside the United States report on their home countries and bring their work to a broader international audience. She asked for the fellowship to be established by the Pulitzer Center and Internews.
We launched the Persephone Miel Fellowship Fund last year according to her wishes and as a tribute to her commitment to freedom of expression. This spring we selected the inaugural fellows, and now new reporting of under-represented global issues is underway, supported by the Fund.
While only one fellowship was planned, three were awarded because of the high quality of applicants, the many compelling reporting proposals, and our desire to raise the visibility of this initiative. We received over 170 applications from all around the world.
The inaugural fellows are:
Marvaiz Khan, a Pakistani radio journalist who publishes under the name Shaheen Buneri and works for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Mashaal Radio in Prague. He is producing a series of reports on the situation in Pakistan's Swat Valley two years after the government deployed 25,000 troops to wrest control of the region from the Taliban. His project, "Taliban Militancy: Is the Game Over in Swat?" is already underway. Learn more and view his latest work.
Tariq Mir, a freelance journalist based in Haryana, India, who served as Kashmir Bureau Chief for Times Now, India's 24-hour English news channel, and before that as a staff writer for The Indian Express. He will report from Kashmir on how the Sufi tradition of Islam, for seven centuries a force for moderation and spiritual co-existence in the region, is now being challenged by a much more doctrinaire and militant strain of Islam imported from Saudi Arabia.
Shivam Vij, a freelance journalist based in Delhi who has worked as a correspondent for Tehelka, Outlook and several other Indian publications. He will produce a multi-part series on the changing nature of India's caste system in a rapidly globalizing society.
The "First Fellow"
Journalist Fatima Tlisova said at the October 2010 memorial for Persephone that she considers herself to be the "first Persephone Miel fellow." Persephone introduced Fatima to the Pulitzer Center, and her resulting reporting project on journalist murders and censorship in the Caucasus became the inspiration for the fellowship.
"It wouldn't have happened without her," Fatima said of Persephone. Fatima's work was featured in the September 2010 issue of Harvard's Nieman Reports; her additional articles and video interviews with targeted journalists are available on the Center's website.
Inspired by Persephone's work, Fatima and other colleagues will participate in a conversation about the challenges of reporting international stories to U.S. and global audiences on July 11. The event is organized by Harvard University's Berkman Center. We cordially invite you to attend.
Support the Fellowship
Each fellowship provides a $7,500 grant to an international journalist selected to report on systemic global issues in his or her home country. The fellowship also provides support from the Pulitzer Center for editorial oversight, multi-media development, outreach and assistance with story placement in U.S. news media outlets. A call for applicants for the 2012 Fellowship will be open in the fall.
We're eager to work with the new Miel fellows and build up the fund to support more journalists. Our goal is to raise $500,000 - enough to endow the program and ensure the funding of several fellows each year. We are on our way, having raised just under $50,000.
To support the Fellowships in honor of Persephone, please consider making a financial contribution to the Fund.
We are so thankful for the tremendous support of the people who loved and worked with Persephone, and honored to carry on her legacy in this way.
With best wishes,
Jeanne Bourgault, President, Internews | Jon Sawyer, Executive Director, Pulitzer Center