Overseas Press Club

Overseas Press Club Foundation
Encouraging the next generation of foreign correspondents

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2005 Winners, OPC Foundation
Seated (l-r) Hildreth, Gillespie, Guevara, and Adelman; Standing (l-r): Hack, Fleischer, Wozniacka, Simhi, Stell, Ahmed, Kearney, and Zhou.

The 2005 OPC Foundation Scholars

John Kearney, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Inspired by a Department of Defense report that revealed frankly the government’s own ineptitude at dialogue with the Islamic world and in understanding Muslim attitudes and concerns, John believes the news media must be both the deliverer of breaking news and the source of history and context. The Oberlin College graduate wrote about an entrepreneurial Palestinian shopkeeper whose business was leveled by Israeli bulldozers.

Emily Steel, University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill

After an internship at Shanghai Daily, this college junior is compelled to investigate the social, policy and economic implications of China’s one-child policy, fully aware that China’s own censors would prevent any internal, meaningful study of the issue. Emily wrote about Zhu Yuanchen, now a student at Harvard, who benefited from the only-child policy that allows the few to “live, dream and become.”

Wanfeng Zhou, New York University Graduate School of Journalism

Earning a Master’s degree at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse, Wanfeng realized how little Americans know about China beyond human rights, birth control and an authoritarian press system. “How to cover China, a new rising power and the fastest growing economy in the world” prompted the second Master’s at NYU to gain the perspective and experience to inform and educate the Chinese public and international readers about the critical economic changes occurring in the country. Whereas once “when America sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold,” today, Wanfeng warns, “when China moves, the world crosses its fingers.”

Sholmi Simhi, Graduate School of Journalism at University of California at Berkeley

An Israeli lawyer and a former law clerk in the Supreme Court of Israel, Shlomi’s experience as a New York City tourist-turned-correspondent for an Israeli newspaper in September 2001 rekindled his original passion for journalism. In his essay he wrote about the possible candidacy of the imprisoned Palestinian Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti to replace Yasser Arafat.

Kristen Gillespie, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

In her essay Kristen wrote about the culture of violence that pervades the city of Baalbek, a Hizbollah stronghold in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley where “the scars of perpetual war refuse to heal.” With both a BA and MA from American University, she intends to return to Jordan, where she previously freelanced, and report on stories in Syria and Lebanon where meaningful reporting might reverse a trend in which “globalization is driving the Arab world and United States further apart.”

Jacob Adelman, University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and Asian Studies

Believing that “accurate, exciting journalism demands reporters who know what they’re talking about,” Jacob intends to use his experience working in Japan and Korea to connect him to stories throughout the rest of Northeast Asia, from the tradition of sumo wresting to the ascendant Chinese economy. In his essay, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst graduate described how Japan was revising its educational policy so graduates of low-achieving academic high schools could find fulltime jobs.

Maria Ahmed, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

London-born and Oxford-educated, Maria would like to study the native languages of Pakistan, the country of her ancestry, to “interview the minorities who retreated to the shadows - Christians, Ahmadis, Parsees - as their country became unrecognizable.” Maria wrote about Lebanese Christian teenagers making a pilgrimage to the Basilica of the Blessed Virgin in the village of Harissa.

Marina Walker Guevara, University of Missouri Graduate School of Journalism

Because she believes a “well reported, documented and written story can raise awareness, mobilize consciousness and affect policy,” Marina is focused on the environmental and health threats posed by powerful Western companies in impoverished areas torn between economic survival and quality of life. An Argentine native, she writes compellingly of the problem of lead poisoning, especially among children, in La Oroya, Peru, where the town’s leading employer is also America’s largest lead producer.

Christina Hildreth, University of Michigan

Christina wrote movingly of the largely unreported story of Haiti’s drinking water crisis, its impact on this impoverished nation, and how a little girl named Maudlin taught her was it felt like be thirsty. The University of Michigan undergraduate wrote that if Americans knew more about the world outside their borders and understood the complexity of global issues it would lead to “a more defined path by which to solve them. Accurate and powerful reporting is crucial if we aim to effect change.”

Charles Hack, New York University Graduate School of Journalism

Charles is fascinated by the small state of Nagaland, tucked in the northeast corner of India. The Great Britain native with a degree from City College of San Francisco plans to tell the story of the Naga people who have been embroiled in an insurgency since the country gained independence from colonial Britain in 1963. He believes the obscure Indian state with a funny name that caught his imagination will captivate others too.

Matthew Fleischer, New York University Graduate School of Journalism

Convinced since his first family trip to Tanzania that travel journalism “can inspire compassion and understanding of a foreign and possibly hostile culture,” Matthew wrote about how a bike trip from Jerusalem to Bethlehem and a refugee camp on the way caused him to question his previous iron assumptions of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The Tulane graduate intends to go to Afghanistan next to report on the impact of humanitarian efforts.

Malgorzata Wozniacka, Graduate School of Journalism at University of California at Berkeley

Born in Poland, raised in France, and a graduate of Boston University, Malgorzata knows a lot about what captivates her most: stories about change. In her essay, she wrote how Soviet-style repression still dominates the political landscape in Belarus, a nation whose location between Russia and the EU mirrors its allegiance to Moscow and its craving for democracy and a liberal market economy. Next, she intends to cover the impact of a violent 15-year separatist movement on the youth of Kashmir, the Himalayan mountain kingdom torn between India, Pakistan, and China.



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