The Foreign Press Association 2007 Scholarship Winners were AYUB NURI (1ST) from Iraq, WU NAN (2ND) from China, FULVIO PAOLOCCI (2ND) from Italy, XIANG JI (3RD) from China, and HENOK FENTE (3RD) from Ethiopia.
AYUB NURI (1ST)
I was born in northern Iraq in 1979 in the Kurdish town of Halabja. When I was four years old my right knee was injured by rocket shrapnel during the Iran-war and only five years later, Saddam Hussein’s army gased my town.
I went to school in Iraq and graduated as a teacher in 2001. I never practiced teaching, but instead I began working as a translator for foreign journalists. When the war started in 2003, I began covering the war as a radio reporter for American and European stations.
During the past four years, I have been traveling extensively throughout Iraq covering the day-to-day life of Iraqis, the insurgency and the sectarian violence that drove thousands of families from their homes.
In August 2006, I traveled to New York to study journalism at Columbia University. This is a great opportunity for me to continue to improve my skills, to tell American people about the situation in Iraq and finally, to be able to contribute to Iraq’s young and still fragile media in the future.
WU NAN (2ND)
Wu Nan is currently a first year student at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley. Before moving to Berkeley, Wu Nan worked for the Boston Globe Beijing Bureau as a news assistant for three years from 2003 to 2006.
Wu has traveled throughout China to study the different varieties of topics prevalent in Chinese society, politics, culture, economy and the environment. From 2005 to 2006 she began reporting on international issues for the Economic Observer, one of the leading Chinese financial weeklies based in Beijing. Her reports focused mainly on Sino-US, Sino-EU and Sino-Japan relations.
During the summer of 2007, Wu Nan will travel to Tokyo and Delhi to report for Yomiuri Shimbun and Business World. Wu states, “Chinese journalists are bound by the chains of suppression, but what is really important is that we maintain a free spirit.”
FULVIO PAOLOCCI (2ND)
My name is Fulvio Paolocci, I am from Italy. I was born and grew up in Rome. Here’s my story. I am a simple guy with genuine ambitions and deep feelings, who could target my goals with very few financial resources. My parents’ selflessness, values and teachings are my true richness. My unstoppable enthusiasm and abiding belief in the beauty of my projects, in the opportunities I can have in the future, come from my family’s love.
I used to live in Rome with my parents and my younger brother. But in March we became three. In fact, my father was seriously ill. I returned to Rome so I could say goodbye to him in his final days. Although he has left us, his love will remain and will guide me to proceed with my studies. I am studying at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. I am one of the very few international students admitted at “J-School.” Although my curriculum vitae made for a successful selection, I could afford this privilege only due to a Fulbright scholarship for the year 2006-07.
I wanted to become a journalist, since high school. I gained a solid education in communication sciences at “La Sapienza” University of Rome, where I graduated in 2005 with full marks plus distinction discussing a thesis on “Italian TV News Production Standards.” In Italy, I have a Master’s in Media Studies. During my university years, I also gained internship experience in TG2 – second national channel’s newscast -, then at CNN in Atlanta and then again in Rome, with the Associated Press Television News.
I worked as a freelancer for APTN for 3 years and flew to the U.S. last summer. I dedicated myself to jounalism for most of my young life, but my resume can’t say everything that I think it needs to be said about me. In fact, I am also a bit of an artist. At some point, before walking the path of journalism I would have liked to become a pianist. This dream always stays with me when I write for print or produce for TV.
Since my future will become harder in a little time, I am happy to receive the Foreign Press Association Scholarship Fund Award. That will help me complete my education and relieve a little financial pressure from my family. I’ll be in New York to talk about the importance of giving, of responsibly receiving and then giving back.
XIANG JI (3RD)
Xiang Ji is a graduate student at the Missouri School of Journalism. Her passions are international business reporting
and online journalism. Before returning to graduate school, Xiang Ji worked for five years in China, first as a public affairs officer at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing, coordinating media affairs during Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s visit to China in 2004. Following that, she became an account executive at Hill & Knowlton Public Relations’ Shanghai office, serving clients including P&G and TNT. She then worked at BusinessWeek magazine’s Beijing bureau, reporting on business, economy, and the automobile industry.
Though deeply impressed by American journalism and the freedom it enjoys, Xiang Ji believes in moderate improvement and constructive dialogue. Her goal is to contribute to the establishment of an independent, open, and eventually free, press in China. Xiang Ji is an ardent traveler and devoted learner. She has visited 20 countries and loves reading, snowboarding, and rock climbing. She is also an active citizen and has volunteered for the Special Olympics and Kham Aid Foundation.
She has a B.A. in television journalism from Communication University of China, and had an internship at CNN’s Beijing bureau.
HENOK FENTE (3RD)
I was born in Mersa, a small town in northern Ethiopia in 1980. After the civil war ended in the early 90s, my family moved to the capital, Addis Ababa, where I completed my elementary, high school, and university education. While growing up, I thought I wanted to be someone working in the practical world of science: a doctor or an engineer. But my interest shifted to journalism when I began publishing articles in the major newspapers while I was still in high school. I changed from my high school major in the natural sciences when I entered college hoping to study journalism.
I worked for national newspapers throughout my undergraduate studies at Addis Ababa University, where I earned a B.A. degree in language and literature in 2004. I continued working after graduation as a reporter and later as editor at the Ethiopian Reporter newspaper. I also worked as a stringer for BBC and reported press freedom issues to a Paris based human rights group called RSF.
Currently, I am studying at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. In September, I hope to return to Ethiopia and help start a journalism school and a weekly newspaper.