HONOLULU (Aug. 15, 2011) – The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, has awarded the East-West Center $1,087,762 over three years to continue and expand several training and exchange programs for journalists. The award will fund the continuation of the Center’s Pakistan-U.S. Journalists’ Exchange program, which was held for the first time in April this year, as well as funding participation by Pakistani journalists in the Center’s existing multinational Jefferson Fellowships and Senior Journalists Seminar programs.
Under the overall theme of “Deepening Democracy through Media in Pakistan,” the objectives of the East-West Center project are to promote free, fair and responsible media in Pakistan to help the country cope with its political and developmental challenges and to bridge the gaps in understanding between the United States and Pakistan.
“U.S.-Pakistan relations comprise one of the most complex and critical international relationships that the United States has today, and the perceptions of journalists on both sides play a major role in that,” said East-West Center President Charles E. Morrison. “The East-West Center is honored to receive this important grant award, which is an indication of the confidence that the State Department and other institutions have in the Center to carry out flexible and credible public diplomacy programs.”
The project reflects a joint effort between the East-West Center’s Seminars and Research divisions and is being conducted with strong support from the Missouri School of Journalism and a network of Pakistani institutions.
The grant will help bridge gaps in understanding between Pakistani and U.S. journalists by continuing and expanding funding for the Pakistan-United States Journalists Exchange, which offers U.S. and Pakistan journalists an opportunity to gain on-the-ground insights and first-hand information through study tours to each others’ countries. All participants meet at the East-West Center in Hawaii before and after their study tours for dialogues focused on sensitive issues between the two countries and how media coverage between them can be improved. The program also involves opportunities for Pakistani journalists to explore media issues in a two-day program with experts at the Missouri School of Journalism, covering topics such as multi-sourcing stories; roles and responsibilities of media as society's watchdog; new media's impact on news gathering; and the media's relationship with government, military and business.
The grant also contributes to overseas training of Pakistani journalists by providing special funding for journalists from Pakistan to participate in two of the EWC's existing multinational exchange programs. The Senior Journalists Seminar is designed for journalists from the United States and Asian countries with substantial Muslim populations and focuses on bridging gaps in understanding between the United States and Muslim world. The Jefferson Fellowships provide journalists from the U.S. and a variety of Asia Pacific countries with an opportunity to travel together to selected cities in Asia or the U.S. and meet with a wide variety of authoritative sources on a particular news theme. The grant will cover funding for two Pakistani participants in each of these programs for the next three years.