Pakistan-United States Journalists Exchange
The Pakistan-United States Journalists Exchange program is designed to increase and deepen public understanding of the two countries and their important relationship, one that is crucial to regional stability and the global war on terrorism. While there have been many areas of agreement and cooperation, deep mistrust remains between Americans and Pakistanis, who rarely get opportunities to engage with each other and thus rely on media for their information and viewpoints. Unresolved issues continue to pose challenges for both countries.
This exchange offers U.S. and Pakistani journalists an opportunity to gain on-the-ground insights and firsthand information about the countries they visit through meetings with policymakers, government and military officials, business and civil society leaders, and a diverse group of other community members. 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; preconceived attitudes among the public and media in both the United States and Pakistan; new perspectives gained through their study tours; and how media coverage between the two countries can be improved. Ten Pakistani journalists will travel to the United States and ten U.S. journalists will travel to Pakistan. This East-West Center program is funded by a grant from the U.S. Embassy Islamabad Public Affairs Section.
The program provides journalists with valuable new perspectives and insights on this critically important relationship, a wealth of contacts and resources for future reporting, and friendships with professional colleagues in the other country upon whom to draw throughout their careers.
“The briefings in Honolulu, and especially the trip to Pakistan, put the disparities between the Pakistani and American narratives in high relief. This more textured understanding of the underlying causes of the tensions will help me in my analyses of U.S. policy in this critical part of the world. It also will have me better prepared to anticipate, identify and consider the implications of the scheduled U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014.” John Diaz, Editorial Page Editor, San Francisco Chronicle
"This visit has provided me so much inside knowledge of United States and also given me direction to gain more knowledge about U.S.A. It will ultimately help me during my documentaries, reports, talk shows and newspaper articles to discuss issues of both countries in a more balanced way and with new approach as I will always compare the situation with my new perspective which I gained during this visit." Shabbir Ahmad, Producer, Geo TV, Islamabad
2013 Pakistan-U.S. Journalists Exchange
Program Dates: March 6-23, 2013
Study Tour for Pakistani Journalists (March 8-20): Washington, D.C., New York City and Columbia, Missouri*
Pakistani journalists will have an opportunity to explore U.S. policy toward Pakistan and learn more about the U.S. system of government and democracy during a visit to Washington, D.C. The New York City program will feature discussions about media coverage of Pakistan and the residual effects of 9/11 on U.S. relations with the Muslim world and the experience of Muslim Americans in the United States. Finally, participants will see a very different part of America in Columbia, Missouri. The prestigious Missouri School of Journalism will host a program that includes discussion sessions covering media topics such as roles and responsibilities of media in a democracy; the media's relationship with government, military and business; and the use of new media and new technologies for newsgathering. It also will provide unique opportunities to experience small town and rural Midwestern American life and a chance to interact with American citizens from diverse backgrounds. The program will include several public forums for Pakistani participants to share their perspectives with American audiences.
*Please note: Due to travel time, Pakistani participants will need to depart Pakistan March 5 and will return on March 25. All journalists will return through Islamabad for a debriefing session with the U.S. Embassy Islamabad staff on March 26. Pakistani participants will return to their home cities from Islamabad on March 26 in the afternoon or March 27 in the morning. Please see draft Travel Calendar for Pakistani journalists for details.
Study Tour for the U.S. Journalists (March 9-19): Islamabad and Lahore, Pakistan
American journalists will have a chance to better understand the situation on the ground in Pakistan and explore Pakistani attitudes and perspectives toward the United States. Meetings will focus on Pakistan’s system of government and democracy, its economic and development challenges, the war on terrorism and rising extremism, as well as the role of the United States and its policies in Pakistan. Additionally, they will have a chance to observe Pakistan’s media environment and discuss coverage of the United States. The program will start in the capital city of Islamabad for meetings with policymakers, political leaders, analysts, students, civil society organizations and others who can provide journalists with a deeper understanding of Pakistan. Journalists will then travel to Lahore, Pakistan's cultural capital, to explore economic and development issues, religion, and politics, and to better understand Pakistan’s history and culture. The program will also feature home visits with Pakistani families and an opportunity to engage with a wide range of Pakistani citizens.
Draft Travel Calendar for American journalists
Honolulu Program (March 6-8, and March 21-23)
The program opens with two-days of briefings and discussions for the Pakistani and American journalists at the East-West Center in Honolulu (March 6-8. Journalists will engage in dialogue sessions on the key issues and challenges in the Pakistan-U.S. relationship. After their respective study tour programs, the journalists will return to Honolulu (March 21-23) to share their new perspectives on the relationship and one another’s countries based on their on-the-ground meetings and visits, and will discuss ways to improve media coverage of the issues and of one another’s countries.
Round trip airfare to Honolulu and for the study tour travel, lodging, visa expenses and per diem to cover meals and incidentals are provided by the East-West Center through a grant from the U.S. Embassy Islamabad Public Affairs Section.
Who Can Apply:
Pakistan: Professional print, broadcast (radio and TV), and online journalists in Pakistan who meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Working in Urdu or local language media;
- No previous travel experience in the United States;
- Minimum five years working experience;
- Ability to communicate in English in a professional, multi-cultural environment;
- Citizen of Pakistan.
American: Professional print, broadcast (radio and TV), and online journalists with a minimum of five years experience. Must be an American citizen. Preference will be given to journalists who have not previously traveled to Pakistan.
Applications are closed for the 2013 program.
Please click here to join our mailing list and receive the application announcement for the 2014 program, which will be announced in the summer of 2013, and about other East-West Center opportunities for journalists.
The 2013 Pakistan-United States Journalists Exchange participants:
- Mr. Muhammad Imran Ahmed, Chief Reporter, Roznama (Daily) Dunya, Karachi
- Ms. Najia Ashar, Senior Anchor/Producer, Geo Television Network, Karachi
- Mr. Abdul Ghani Kakar, Chief Investigative Reporter, Daily Awam, Quetta, Balochistan
- Mr. Nisar Ali Khokhar, Special Correspondent, KTN News TV, Hyderabad
- Mr. Ikram Ullah Moomand, Editor-in-Charge, Editorial Page, Daily AAJ Urdu, Peshawar
- Ms. Sadia Nasir, Reporter, Pakistan Television (PTV), Current Affairs Department, Islamabad
- Ms. Shumaila Noreen, Reporter/Sub-editor, Associated Press Pakistan, Islamabad
- Mr. Shahid Hameed Rind, Bureau Chief, ARY News, Quetta
- Mr. Muhammad Salman, Staff Reporter, Daily Nawa-i-Waqt, Peshawar
- Mr. Pervaiz Shaukat, Senior Reporter, Daily Jang, and President, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, Islamabad
- Ms. Sana Saif Tirmazee, Reporter, Dawnnews TV, Lahore
Click here to view the bios of the Pakistani journalists.
- Ms. Emily Cadei, Reporter, Foreign Policy, Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, Washington, DC
- Ms. Monica DelaRosa, Series Producer, ABC News Network, New York City, New York
- Ms. Lisa Friedman, Deputy Editor, Climate Wire/Environment & Energy News, Washington, DC
- Ms. Elaine M. Grossman, Reporter, National Journal/Global Security Newswire, Washington, DC
- Mr. Kurtis Ming, Anchor/Reporter, KOVR CBS13, Sacramento, California
- Mr. Jerome McDonnell, Host and Producer, Worldview (a global affairs program), WBEZ Radio, Chicago, Illinois
- Ms. Linda Roth, Supervising Producer, “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer,” CNN, Washington, DC
- Mr. Daniel Sagalyn, Deputy Senior Producer, Foreign Affairs & Defense, PBS NewsHour, Arlington, Virginia
- Mr. Sasha Polakow-Suransky, Staff Editor/Op-Ed, New York Times, New York
- Mr. Kris Van Cleave, Reporter, WJLA-TV, Arlington, Virginia
Click here to view the bios of the American journalists.
2012 Pakistan-U.S. Journalists Exchange
The 2012 Pakistan-U.S. Journalists Exchange was held from April 6-22 and provided nine Pakistani and six American journalists the opportunity to visit each other’s country and learn firsthand the complexities of the relationship between their two countries.
Both groups met at the East-West Center before and after their study tours for two days of dialogue sessions. In pre study tour sessions, journalists shared perspectives from their country on some of the key issues in the Pakistan-U.S. relationship: fighting terrorism and extremism, U.S aid to Pakistan, the economic relationship and media coverage. After their study tours, journalists shared their new insights. American journalists gained an appreciation of the complex challenges facing Pakistan and the significant impact of the war on terror on daily life, and the Pakistani journalists emphasized their new understanding of America’s system of governance and people.
The Pakistani journalists started their 9-day U.S. visit in Washington, D.C., where they met with officials at the U.S. State Department, shared lunch at the Pentagon with soldiers who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and participated in a press conference with Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher and Louie Gohmert on their controversial proposals for Baluchistan’s right to self-determination. Through meetings with analysts and visits to America’s monuments and institutions, including a special night tour of the U.S. Capitol by former Congressman Jim Moody, the Pakistani journalists gained insights into the American system of government that helped them to better understand American policy and decision-making in Pakistan. American businesses already in Pakistan or hoping to invest there shared the difficulties in dealing with Pakistan’s bureaucracy. The next stop was New York City, where they had a round table with editors at the New York Times; met with Jewish and Muslim leaders about religious rights and dialogue in America; talked with Muslim-American youth and activists about life in America since 9/11; and observed how Americans continue to mourn their lost loved ones at the newly opened National September 11 Memorial and Museum. Their last destination was Columbia, Missouri where they had a rich program coordinated and hosted by the prestigious Missouri School of Journalism. They learned the latest media trends and tools from media experts and experienced life in the US heartland, participating in a Palm Sunday service at a Methodist church, visiting a farm, talking with students at a local high school, and being hosted by local host families.
The American journalists started their travel in Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, with a program organized by PILDAT. They explored the Pakistan-U.S. relationship with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pakistan’s army, the U.S. Embassy, analysts, aid workers, and politicians. They gained first hand perspectives on U.S. aid through visits to projects funded by the U.S., hearing from beneficiaries of USAID projects, and talking with other NGOs working in Pakistan. Meetings in Karachi, Pakistan’s bustling business center and port, juxtaposed Pakistan’s contrasts; the journalists visited a secular school in a slum set up by The Citizen’s Foundation that requires families to send daughters to school if they are to admit their sons, followed by a visit to Jamia Binoria, a conservative madrassah. A discussion with heads of American companies doing business in Pakistan and a visit to a factory struck a hopeful tone for Pakistan’s economic future with its large youth population and huge untapped market despite the major energy, security and stability challenges, which journalists were experiencing firsthand. Rolling black outs were a regular part of life, and on the journalists’ first day in Karachi the city was shut down by a strike called by the main political party, MQM, in response to recent political killings. The journalists met with leaders of MQM to ask questions about these tactics and were able to explore public attitudes through dinners with local host families, meetings with university students, and discussions with members of Pakistan’s Youth Parliament. Pakistan’s harsh realities, especially for journalists, also were brought home to the Americans when an editor they met in a round table with senior staff at Dawn newspaper was killed two weeks later (see links to related stories below).
In their stories that resulted from the program and in public presentations along the way, journalists offered unique insights into relations between the United States and Pakistan; the wars in Afghanistan and against terrorism; on-the-ground perspectives of Americans and Pakistanis about each other’s countries; difficulties and dangers faced by Pakistan’s media; and how their perspectives had changed after traveling in the two countries.
“My perception towards the real state of affairs between Pakistan and the U.S. has changed a great deal. These kinds of exchange programmes and people-people contacts are of immense importance to bridge the ever-widening gap between the two sides.” (Pakistani journalist, 2012 program)
“I can already feel how beneficial the deeper perspective on Pakistan and the complications to the US-Pak relationship that I gained from this trip will be to my editing. The questions that I’ll ask my writers, the stories that I’ll assign, the context that will be there have all just gotten a power boost.” (American journalist, 2012 program)
Pakistani and American journalists shared their experiences from the program at a public forum in Honolulu.
Check out stories by the 2012 Pakistan-US Journalists Exchange participants:
San Francisco Chronicle
Where drones in Pakistan undermine U.S. interests, April 15, 2012
Pakistan-U.S. relations: Behind the distrust, April 15, 2012
ON THE DANGER IN PAKISTAN
Against the forces of darkness, May 6, 2012
With Strikes and Rolling Blackouts, Life in Karachi Reflects Pakistan's Larger Ills, April 17, 2012
Before His Death, Dawn Editor Razvi 'Wouldn't Leave Pakistan for the Moon', April 20, 2012
Opposition Politician Imran Khan: How to Fix Pakistan's Corruption, Terrorism, April 24, 2012
Helping Women With Career-Building and Empowerment in Pakistan, May 14, 2012
Pakistani Women Counter Country's Violence With Textbooks, TV Shows, May 22, 2012
KFI Radio Los Angeles
Interview with Terry Anzur on Pakistan on Sunday morning news, April 22
Christian Science Monitor
Global News Blog
Another courageous casualty in Pakistan, journalism's most dangerous country
Murtaza Razvi, an editor at one of Pakistan's leading English newspapers, was murdered in Karachi yesterday. He was one of many journalists I met on a recent trip who have refused to give up their work despite threats.
By Jenna Fisher, Asia editor / April 20, 2012
Mahboob Ali, Geo TV, Swat
Programme on FM Radio 96 Pashto Service...The Topic of the programme was the experience of "U.S VISIT": http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/21782473
Karachi-Through the Eyes of Some American Journalists
By Tehmina Qureshi / July 2, 2012
The 2012 Pakistan-United States Journalists Exchange participants:
Ms. Terry Anzur, News Anchor, KFI News, Burbank, California
Ms. Tara Bahrampour, Immigration Reporter, Washington Post, Washington, DC
Mr. Dan Boyce, Capitol Bureau Chief, Montana Public Radio, Helena, Montana
Mr. John Diaz, Editorial Page Editor, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco, California
Ms. Larisa Epatko, Reporter-Producer for Foreign Affairs, PBS News Hour, Arlington, Virginia
Ms. Jenna Fisher, Asia Editor, The Christian Science Monitor, Boston, Massachusetts
Mr. Shabbir Ahmad, Producer, Geo TV Network, Islamabad
Mr. Mahboob Ali, Correspondent, Geo TV Network, Mingora, Swat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Mr. Sajid Hussain, Assistant Editor, The News International, Karachi
Mr. Azam Khan, Reporter, Radio Pakistan, Charsadda, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Ms. Aneela Khalid Khan, Freelance Reporter, Radio Mashaal, Islamabad
Ms. Sumeera Riaz, News Producer, Express News TV, Lahore
Ms. Imrana Saghar, Reporter, Daily Express, Multan, Punjab
Mr. Mushtaq Sarki, Reporter, Sindh TV News, Karachi
Ms. Hafsah Syed, Executive Producer/Head of Features, Dawn News TV, Karachi
For information on the 2011 Pakistan-United States Journalists Exchange, please click here.
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