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A TV anchor from Nigeria, an investigative journalist from Bulgaria and a public relations specialist from the Kyrgyz Republic are among the 10 global journalists and communicators studying at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication as part of the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program.
Each year, the Cronkite School welcomes a cohort of mid-career professionals from around the globe to study journalism, receive leadership training and connect with media organizations as part of the Humphrey Fellowship Program, an initiative of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. The 10-month program is administered by the Institute of International Education.
“The Humphrey Fellowship Program enriches the Cronkite School by offering cross-cultural exchanges between the fellows and our students,” said Associate Professor B. William Silcock, director of Cronkite Global Initiatives and curator of the Humphrey Program. “The innovative State Department program is helping to shape the next generation of global journalism leaders.”
Kunal Ranjan, a broadcast journalist from India, said he applied to the program to understand how American broadcast journalism practices can help him as a reporter. Ranjan said he is excited to be a part of a diverse Humphrey cohort at the Cronkite School.
This year’s fellows have a wide range of professional backgrounds in areas such as broadcast journalism, digital media and public relations. They are from Belarus, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Ukraine.
“In my home country, there isn’t much (real world) practice at journalism schools,” Ranjan said. “The Cronkite School offers a great opportunity for students to actually learn the things they’re going to have to do in the future.”
The fellows study under Silcock and participate in classes at the Cronkite School as well as give presentations as part of Cronkite Global Conversations, an annual spring lecture series on global journalism. They also travel across Arizona sharing their experiences and learning about democracy and journalism. In the final weeks of the program, the fellows test their training by working at professional media organizations across the country.
This is the seventh time that the Cronkite School has hosted the program. Since 2010, 68 journalists and communicators from 49 countries have studied at the school.
“We are proud to be one of only two journalism programs in the nation to host Humphrey Fellows in journalism,” said Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan. “This program offers an extraordinary opportunity to foster an exchange of ideas to make a positive impact on global journalism.”
Established in 1978, the Humphrey Fellowship Program provides non-degree academic study for experienced professionals from countries undergoing development or political transition. Fifteen major universities host a total of approximately 120 fellows each year.
The 2016-2017 Humphrey Fellows:
Marie Laurentine Bayala, from Burkina Faso, is a veteran award-winning filmmaker who has worked in new media since 2008. Bayala has directed more than nine films, including “Jusqu'au Bout,” a film examining violent acts against women. The film won a top honor at Ciné Droit Libre regional film festival. She also is the co-founder of Africadoc Burkina Association, an association which promotes documentary filmmaking through the Les Rencontres Sobatè film festival. In April 2013, Bayala was appointed editor-in-chief of information and reports in the media branch of the National Radio and Television of Burkina Faso (RTB). She studied communication and journalism at the University of Ouagadougou and received her master’s in documentary filmmaking.
Tynymgul Eshieva, from the Kyrgyz Republic, has more than 13 years of experience in the nonprofit sector as a communication and public relations expert. She also has worked as a freelance journalist for a radio program and several Kyrgyz newspapers and magazines. In the past six years, Eshieva has served as a PR coordinator at the Soros Foundation-Kyrgyzstan, where she manages communication and advocacy activities for the foundation. Eshieva has an interest in public health, urban and rural development, and a passion for youth empowerment. Her research interests include media, documentary photography, civic engagement and communications and how they intersect with social issues. She earned a Master of Business Administration and the equivalent of a master’s degree in journalism in Kyrgyzstan.
Edine Harr’met-Kimbouala, from the Republic of the Congo, serves as an executive secretary at the Polio Eradication Department at the World Health Organization (WHO) in the Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville, the largest city in the Congo. She was born in in Pointe-Noire, Congo, but spent her childhood in France. She initially attended the University of Bordeaux, studying literature and English civilization before transferring to the Institut Universitaire de Technologie in Périgueux to study tourism. She worked at a travel agency in Paris before deciding to return to Congo to work for UNICEF as an assistant coordinator. There, she coordinated with governments and NGOs to implement development plans founded and designed by donors.
Jean Claude Kabengera
Jean Claude Kabengera, of Rwanda, is the chief news editor for Radio/TV10, with more than seven years of journalism experience. Kabengera is a member of the Central Africa Forum of Journalists for Democracy and Human Rights and is one of 10 African journalists who attended the U.S. State Department’s 2015 African journalist security and press freedom reporting tour in Washington, D.C. and New York. Kabengera holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and communication from the National University of Rwanda.
Adetola Kayode, of Nigeria, is a veteran journalist with more than 15 years of experience in the field. She currently works at Lagos Television (LTV) as an anchor, reporter and editor. As a reporter, she has covered numerous topics, including health, transportation, politics, and family issues, among others. She also hosts shows in which guests discuss Nigeria’s growth as a country. Kayode plans to devote her Humphrey year to acquiring more skills in both areas by identifying issues and challenges that would benefit the public while also developing her managerial skills. She has completed trainings on presentation, elocution and broadcast journalism from NTA TV College and FRCN Training School in Nigeria and RNTC in the Netherlands, among others.
Leanid Pashkouski, of Belarus, is an advertising and media professional who specializes in creating innovative communication campaigns that utilize various mediums. As a founder of the Publicis Belarus agency, he led the development of innovative social responsibility ad campaigns for major Belarusian brands. Previously, he was an editor for 34mag.net, an independent online magazine, which attempts to shine a light on important and suppressed issues. Pashkouski holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Belarusian State Economic University.
Kunal Ranjan, of India, has nearly a decade of experience spanning print, digital and television journalism. He currently serves as an associate editor with Network 18, one of India’s leading broadcasting companies. Previously, he worked with nonprofits such as UN Women and the Aga Khan Foundation. A sociology post-graduate from the Delhi School of Economics, Ranjan has been working extensively to use mass media as a tool to empower people and positively impact lives.
Narmina Strishenets, of Ukraine, is a leading communications professional with nearly a decade of experience developing communication strategies for state institutions, political parties and NGOs in her home country. She currently works for the Ukrainian Center for Disease Control, part of Ukraine’s Ministry of Health, developing communication services. She also is responsible for media relations, public affairs and leadership in communications with donors and international organizations such as the World Health Organization, Global Fund, UNAIDS, UNICEF and the Red Cross, among others.
Ivaylo Vezenkov, of Bulgaria, is a veteran journalist, who has covered important issues such as human rights and education in the past 10 years. Vezenkov has worked a TV reporter, producer and presenter for bTV, the largest private channel in his country. He has received the “Brave Reporters” award from the Media Development Center and won the Contributing to the Awareness of the Aviation Industry award from the Bulgarian Airlines Association in 2015 for his coverage of the aviation industry. Vezenkov holds a bachelor’s degree in literature and the Bulgarian language.
Dina Zhansagimova, of Kazakhstan, has extensive experience in broadcast journalism. She freelanced as a broadcast news journalist for a number of national television companies in Kazakhstan before joining the BBC World Service's Kazakh Section in London. Zhansagimova is active in the development sector, with a leadership position in United Nations Development Program's Poverty Reduction Unit. She also plays an important role on the British Council's Arts and Culture team, the BBC Media Action's arm working in Central Asia, and Caucasus and Internews Kazakhstan, a local media development NGO. Zhansagimova’s background is in economics, with an MBA from the Kazakh Institute of Management, Economics and Strategic Research Program.