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Pulitzer Center Update July 9, 2021

River Missionaries, Deforestation and COVID-19 Webinar


Media: Author:
Indigenous mother asks missionary Marta Rueda to baptize her son. Photo by Rodrigo Pedroso. Peru, 2019.

Catholic missionaries first arrived in the Amazon five centuries ago. Who are they and what are they...

The Pulitzer Center and Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs hosted a conversation with journalist Rodrigo Pedroso.

Pedroso is a Brazilian journalist who reports for CNN. As part of the Pulitzer Center’s Rainforest Journalism Fund, his project River Missionaries: The Catholic Counteroffensive in the Amazon explores the dynamics and work of Catholic missionaries in an area where evangelical Christians and the theology of prosperity are booming alongside deforestation.

In a conversation with Niyanta Spelman, founder and CEO of Rainforest Partnership, an organization that works with local communities to restore tropical rainforests, Pedroso shared stories of parishes struggling to survive and missionaries who serve hard-to-reach villages in the Amazon region. The discussion took place on April 26, 2021.

They also discussed the role of religious communities in combating deforestation, as well as how Catholic, Indigenous, and local communities in the Amazon are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The dialogue was moderated by the Rev. Fletcher Harper, executive director of GreenFaith, an interfaith environmental coalition based in Highland Park, New Jersey.

Panelists included:

Rodrigo Pedroso: Brazilian journalist who reports for CNN

Niyanta Spelman: Founder and CEO of Rainforest Partnership

The Pulitzer Center invites educators to view this webinar to discover tools for connecting their students with reporting on today's crucial issues. Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions or would like to connect a journalist to your class.

Read more about the project River Missionaries: The Catholic Counteroffensive in the Amazon by clicking here.


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Rainforest Reporting

Rainforest Reporting


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Environment and Climate Change

Environment and Climate Change
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