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Ten international journalists and communicators are starting their yearlong studies at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University as part of the prestigious Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program.
The mid-career professionals, who are arriving this week, will study journalism, receive leadership training and forge professional affiliations with news organizations in Arizona and across the country.
The journalism fellowship program, now in its third year at the Cronkite School, is an initiative of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs administered by the Institute of International Education.
This year’s fellows are from 10 countries: Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Latvia, Pakistan, Serbia and South Africa. All have undergraduate degrees, at least five years of professional experience and strong English-language skills.
At Cronkite, they will study under the direction of Associate Professor B. William Silcock, director of Cronkite Global Initiatives, himself a two-time Fulbright scholar.
“The Humphrey Fellows help us as faculty listen more closely and understand global events more clearly as they bring us their unique perspectives,” Silcock said. “But by far the biggest benefit is to our students, who through their interaction with the fellows come to know and report the world more accurately.”
2012-2013 Humphrey Fellows in Journalism
Mohammad Farid Afghanzai, from Afghanistan, has a master's degree in public policy and administration and a bachelor's degree in law and political science from Kabul University. He is head of information and external relations for the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan and also directs the Organization for Leadership Development Studies. He plans to develop his leadership and communication skills while at the Cronkite School.
Kareem Awadalla, of Egypt, has a bachelor’s degree in tourism and hotel management from Alexandria University. He is the youngest talk-show host for Egyptian Radio and Television Union, where he hosts a prime-time political program as well as the live morning talk show. During his Humphrey year he intends to study television production, online news and multimedia journalism.
Ilona Bičevska, of Latvia, has a master’s degree in film production from the Baltic Film and Media School and a bachelor’s degree in sports and health education from the University of Latvia. She is the director of Avantis Promo, a Latvian film and music production company, as well as the founder of Avantis Youth, a nongovernmental organization that offers more than 30 social and youth programs. Her most recent project is “15 Young by Young,” a documentary series focusing on the experiences of young people in 15 post-Soviet countries. She hopes to develop an international network to support creative talent from emerging countries.
Nikiwe Bikitsha, from South Africa, holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. An award-winning broadcast journalist with 15 years of experience in radio and television, she is the senior news and current events anchor for the eNews Channel, South Africa’s only 24-hour news station. She also writes a column for the weekly newspaper The Mail & Guardian. She plans to study economic development during her Humphrey year.
Borgia Miguel Samba Bouesso, from Republic of the Congo, has a bachelor's degree in communication from Marien Ngouabi University in Brazzaville. From 2009 to 2011, he served as director of information for Tele Congo, the national public television station. Prior to that, he was chief editor for Radio Liberté, the country’s first privately owned radio station. While at Cronkite, he intends to study new media and the relationship between government and the media in democratic contexts.
Kibnesh Chala Fulas, of Ethiopia, earned a master’s degree in journalism and communications from Addis Ababa University and a bachelor’s degree in English education from Debub University. She has worked in Ethiopia’s nonprofit sector for the past 10 years in fundraising, communications and public relations positions and currently serves as the communications officer of the Joint Ethiopia Programme of CAFOD, SCIAF and Trócaire, the official relief and development agencies of the Catholic Church in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. She hopes to improve her advocacy and social marketing skills to advance her work in the nonprofit sector.
Gwendolin Mokake née Mojoko Messinge, of Cameroon, has bachelor's and master’s degrees in journalism and mass communication from the University of Buea. Since 2005, she has headed public and alumni relations at the university, designing communications programs that promote the school. She also produces the weekly radio program “University Half Hour.” She is interested in advocacy relations, stakeholder management and the use of social media for strategic communication and crisis management.
Fatima Talib, from Pakistan, holds a master’s degree in mass communication from Punjab University and a master’s degree in fine arts from Lahore College for Women University. As a reporter for the country’s Express News Channel, she covers health and social issues, human and women’s rights issues and politics. Prior to joining Express News, she was assistant editor at the think tank Pak Institute for Peace Studies. She is passionate about human and women’s rights in Pakistan and hopes to learn new ways of gathering and presenting news and making documentaries during her Humphrey year.
Alma Telibečirević, from Bosnia and Herzegovina, studied painting and education at the Classical Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo. She is a freelance project manager and public relations and marketing specialist for various concerts, exhibitions, festivals, seminars and other events. For the past nine years she has organized the Kid’s Festival, the largest independent youth event in Southeast Europe, attended by more than 40,000 children each year. She will study public relations at the Cronkite School.
Branko Veselinovic, of Serbia, holds bachelor's and master's degrees in economics from Alfa University in Belgrade and is pursuing doctoral studies in journalism and communications at the United Nations University for Peace’s European Center for Peace and Development. He is the youngest prime-time news anchor at Radio Television of Serbia, the national broadcasting corporation, and also produces and anchors the country’s most-watched weekend morning show. He plans to develop his new media and broadcasting skills while at Cronkite.