East-West Center Announces 2015 Jefferson Fellows

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International group of 15 accomplished journalists will travel together to China,
the Philippines, Singapore and Hawai‘i to study South China Sea conflicts

HONOLULU - (March 19, 2015) -- The East-West Center has announced the selection of 15 accomplished international journalists for its 2015 Jefferson Fellowships travel-study seminar. The journalists from 12 countries and territories will travel together in May to China, the Philippines, Singapore and Hawai‘i to study territorial conflicts, resource issues, environmental concerns and more in the South China Sea. Participants represent a range of top news organizations including the Associated Press, Washington Post, PBS NewsHour, Times of India, Straits Times, Kyodo News and others.

“We’re delighted with the diversity and experience of the group of accomplished journalists that will be traveling together to study crucial South China Sea issues,” says EWC Jefferson Fellowships Coordinator Ann Hartman.  “We’ll be looking at a broad range of strategic and security issues, as well as economic topics like oceans as a key source of food and resources; the importance of sea trade; and the need for regional cooperation to ensure freedom and safety of navigation.”

The selected Jefferson Fellows are:

  • Ms. Qin Chen, Reporter, Caixin Media, Beijing, China
  • Dr. Rungthip Chotnapalai, News Anchor/Producer, Thai Television Channel 3, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Mr. William Englund, Assistant Foreign Editor, Washington Post, Washington, D.C., USA
  • Mr. Jim Gomez, Chief Correspondent, Associated Press, Manila, Philippines
  • Mr. Takuya Hiraga, Reporter, The Asahi Shimbun, Tokyo, Japan
  • Mrs. Huong Hoang, Editor, VietNamNet Newspaper, Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Ms. Shu-ling Ko, Reporter, Kyodo News, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Ms. Gretel C. Kovach, Military Affairs Reporter, U-T San Diego, San Diego, USA
  • Ms. Susan Lannin, Business Journalist, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Sydney, Australia
  • Mr. Siddhartha Mahanta, Assistant Editor, Foreign Policy, Washington, D.C., USA
  • Mr. Sachin Parashar, Assistant Editor – Strategic Affairs, The Times of India, Delhi, India
  • Ms. Ellen Read, National Business Editor, Fairfax Media (NZ), Auckland, New Zealand
  • Mr. Ravi Velloor, Associate Editor, The Straits Times, Singapore
  • Ms. Tracy Wholf, Associate Producer, WNET/PBS NewsHour Weekend, New York, USA
  • Mr. Fitriyan Masrum Zamzami, Editor/Journalist, Republika Daily Newspaper, Jakarta, Indonesia

The program will provide the journalists with an opportunity to deepen their understanding of complex issues including the role that oceans play in the prosperity and security of Asia Pacific countries, the legal frameworks that govern the use of the seas, the disputes over ownership of maritime territory in the South China Sea and prospects for the way forward. Travel to capital cities and small coastal communities in China and the Philippines will provide first-hand perspectives from two of the key claimants in the territorial disputes. In Singapore, participants will explore the shipping trade at the gateway to the Malacca Strait, through which almost 50,000 ships pass each year carrying half the world's trade and one-third of global oil. In Honolulu, journalists will learn about the role of the United States in Asia Pacific maritime issues.

About the Jefferson Fellowships:

The Jefferson Fellowships program is a three-week professional dialogue, study and travel program designed for working journalists from Asia, the Pacific and the United States to broaden their understanding of Asia Pacific-U.S. issues, gain on-the-ground perspectives and build an international network of contacts. Founded in 1967, the Jefferson program is the East-West Center’s most widely-recognized and established seminar program, with an illustrious network of more than 650 program alumni from leading news organizations across the Asia Pacific region and the United States.

The Freeman Foundation of Stowe Vermont provides core funding for the Fellowships along with the East-West Center. Additional funding is provided by: Asia New Zealand Foundation, Mary Morgan Hewett Fund, U.S. embassies in Asia Pacific and journalists' news organizations.