Ethiopian journalist, Abebe Gelaw awarded Stanford fellowship – By AV Staff Writer, London
The John S. Knight Fellowships for Professional Journalists at Stanford University announced in a press release yesterday that it awarded its coveted Knight Fellowships for the 2008-2009 academic year to nine international journalists including Ethiopian journalist Abebe Gellaw. The international fellows will join 12 U.S. journalists, who will be announced in May 2008.
Exiled journalist and founder editor of Addisvoice.com, Abebe Gellaw, is the first Ethiopian journalist to win the prestigious Knight Fellowship. Stanford has also designated Abebe the 2008-2009 Yahoo International Fellow, the third journalist to receive the honour. Yahoo International Fellowship, fully funded by Yahoo Inc., is aimed at supporting journalists from countries where there are restrictions on freedom of the press, either by governmental agencies or other forces, according to Professor James Bettinger, director of the Knight Fellowships. Previous winners of the Yahoo International Fellowships are Pakistani journalist and BBC reporter Imtiaz Ali and Violet Gonda, an award winning Zimbabwean broadcaster.
A former prisoner of conscience under the Meles regime, Abebe expressed his delight at being honoured to join the Knight Fellows at Stanford. “It is a dream come true. This is a great opportunity for me and my family, who are also welcome to join the Stanford community. As an exiled journalist faced with too many obstacles and glass ceilings, I have never expected to have the privilege of joining a club of such highly accomplished journalists as Knight Fellows at one of the world’s foremost elite universities,” he said. He noted that the fellowship would renew his lifetime commitment to journalism and the struggle for democracy, justice, equality and human rights throughout the world.
Reuters trained journalist, Abebe Gellaw, was awarded the Champions for Change Millennium Award (UK) and BT Community Connections Award in 2002. In 2003 he was also granted a lifetime membership of the Millennium Awards Fellowship for his “commitment and achievement in strengthening and enriching communities in the United Kingdom.” He studied Political Science and International Relations at Addis Ababa University, law at London Metropolitan University and teaches English as a second language at a North London college. A self-taught web designer, Abebe launched Addisvoice.com in May 2006.
“I will make use of every bit of this unique opportunity to promote freedom of expression in Ethiopia and other parts of the world where people have been denied their God given rights. With the help of distinguished Stanford professors and the staff of the John S. Knight Fellowships, I will also focus on ways of creating more vibrant and sustainable independent media organisations to serve Ethiopia, which has been silenced and gagged by one of the most notorious repressive regimes in Africa,” Abebe said.
This year’s Knight international fellows come from Ethiopia, Italy, India, Zambia, Brazil, Nicaragua, Belarus, China and Iraq. The international fellows, along with their American counterparts, will pursue self-tailored studies with guidance from renowned Stanford professors and participate in special seminars and debates.
Launched in 1966 with a grant from the Ford Foundation, the Knight Fellowships at Stanford University are awarded annually to outstanding professional journalists to “broaden and deepen their understanding of a changing world.” Nearly 720 journalists have been appointed Knight Fellows at Stanford University since 1966. Fellows have won numerous honours including 26 Pulitzer prizes and other prestigious media awards, it was learnt.
Every four years Knight Fellows and their families are invited to a special summer reunion conference on Stanford campus.
Nine international Knight Fellows announced for 2008-09
Press Release | John S. Knights Fellowships at Stanford University
April 3, 2008 — Nine foreign journalists have been awarded John S. Knight Fellowships for the 2008-09 academic year at Stanford.
The international fellows include two journalists in exile—an Ethiopian online editor who is currently in exile in London, and a Chinese online editor in exile in North Carolina—and the program’s first fellows from Belarus and Iraq.
During their stay at Stanford, the Knight Fellows will pursue independent courses of study and participate in special seminars. In May, the program will announce the selection of 12 Knight Fellows from the United States.
Financial support for the international fellows comes from sources that include the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Lyle and Corrine Nelson International Journalism Fund, and Yahoo! Inc. The 2008-09 program marks the 43rd year that Stanford has offered fellowships for professional journalists.
Following are the new international Knight Fellows and their areas of study:
Federica Bianchi, editor and reporter, L’Espresso, Rome, Italy; international relations, focusing on the effect of China’s rise on U.S. ties with developing nations.
Dionne Bunsha, senior assistant editor, Frontline Magazine, Mumbai, India; the impact of globalization on India’s environment, and the potential for sustainable growth.
Chanda Chisala, president and editor, Zambia Online, Lisaka, Zambia; the impact of the Internet on the future of African journalism, and the philosophy of human rights.
Pedro Doria, technology columnist and writer, O Estado de São Paulo, Brazil (Knight Latin American Fellow); democracy and its pressures around the world.
Abebe Gellaw, editor-in-chief, Addis Voice/Addisvoice.com (London), Ethiopia (Yahoo! International Fellow); creating a vibrant and sustainable media organization.
Joel Gutierrez, news director, Televicentro de Nicaragua/Canal 2, Managua, Nicaragua (Knight Latin American Fellow); lessons of Ireland and similar emerging countries for Latin American developing nations.
Natalia Koulinka, news editor, Radio Station Unistar 99.5, Minsk, Belarus (Lyle and Corrine Nelson International Fellow); news journalism and models of broadcasting by non-governmental radio in a post-Soviet regime.
Watson Meng, chief editor and manager, Boxun News (Durham, N.C.), China; the impact of online citizen journalism in China and beyond.
Isra’ al Rubei’i, reporter, National Public Radio, Baghdad; freedom of the press in post-conflict societies and the development of media in emerging democracies.