On February 14 and 15, 2011, Pulitzer Center journalist and Washington Post special correspondent, Rebecca Hamilton visited seven Washington D.C. and Virginia schools to share her recent reporting on Sudan.During visits to Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, Washington International School, Yorktown High School, George Mason High School, H.B. Woodlawn Alternative Program, and Thomas Jefferson and Swanson Middle Schools, Rebecca met with over 350 students in grades 8-12. Throughout her talks, Rebecca reflected on her career as a freelance journalist, working as a female journalist in Sudan, and what she views as the challenges and opportunities facing the Sudanese people in both the north and south of the country as South Sudan seceeds and becomes the world's newest nation this July.
Rebecca's presentation provided students with important information about current events in Sudan. As one student from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School remarked in a thank you note to Rebecca, "The conflict in Sudan is one of the more serious in the world, yet I knew very little in regards to its causes. Ms. Hamilton's discussion in our class gave me a much better perspective as to the nature of the conflict, and really opened my eyes to the strife and suffering." Another commented that Rebecca's presentation encouraged him to look into "spending a semester of my gap year teaching English in Sudan."
The presentations also offered students the opportunity to learn more about the work of a journalist, and the importance of international reporting. After the visit, a senior at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School reflected on how meeting Rebecca drastically changed his notion of what it means to be a journalist: "While I know journalism is something completely different from what the paparazzi do, it is what I think of anyways. After hearing Ms. Hamilton speak, I have a newfound respect for journalists." A classmate added, "I loved hearing about her journalism experiences in Sudan. I'm considering studying journalism in college, so her story was inspiring."
Rebecca visited Chicago-area universities February 22-23, 2011, and will be visiting St. Louis-area schools and universities March 7-10, 2011.