I am deeply appreciative of the unique opportunity that USAGM CEO Michael Pack has given me to lead us through this transition as Acting Director of Voice of America, the institution I passionately love and have served for nearly forty years, throughout almost my entire career.
I grew up listening to VOA, and like many of those to whom we broadcast around the world, I began my journey as a refugee. In 1968, my family, having fled communist oppression in Albania, immigrated to the United States, the land of liberty and opportunity where I was fortunate to earn a PhD in political science at Columbia University. My appreciation for having achieved and lived the American dream knows no bounds, and I am so honored to serve VOA’s mission amongst professionals I highly respect.
Throughout my long career at VOA and travels around the world, I have seen the great impact that we have by producing journalism of exceptional value in support of freedom and democracy; serving as a beacon of hope; helping people under dictatorial and authoritarian regimes preserve their independent spirit and achieve their democratic aspirations; and serving as a shining light and standard bearer of truth and core American values.
As I step in to temporarily lead our exceptionally talented journalists, technicians and administrative staff, I will do my best to honor VOA’s Charter and mission and adhere to the highest journalistic standards and ethics. Anybody who has worked with me knows that I am fully dedicated to VOA’s mission – to serve as a trusted source of reliable news and information, present a balanced and comprehensive projection of significant American thought and institutions, and present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively. Our mission is more important today than ever, and VOA is uniquely positioned to tell America’s compelling story, provide U.S. perspectives, and serve as a model of free press. The VOA Charter provides for independent news coverage. I will make every effort to ensure our Charter stands, free of political interference or intervention, as our audiences have come to expect.
To all my colleagues, at home and abroad, who work so diligently to uphold and advance VOA’s remarkable mission, I thank you for the honor of working with you to continue VOA’s tradition, since 1942, of journalism that faithfully serves the American ideals of freedom and democracy. While transitions always bring some level of anxiety and nervousness, please be assured that I will do my best to ensure that VOA will continue to perform its important work as we have for many years. I will do so with the utmost confidence that VOA and its skilled, hard-working staff are up to the task in every way, now and going forward.
Acting VOA Director