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VOA Experts

Voice of America is a valuable source of news and information for international audiences in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East, broadcasting in more than 40 languages through multiple platforms. VOA’s seasoned journalists and staff are available for media interviews or to provide their expertise on various issues and current topics trending in the United States and globally.

To secure an interview with a VOA expert or to request a VOA speaker for an event, please contact the VOA Public Relations team at publicrelations@voanews.com.

VOA Leadership

Elez Biberaj, Ph.D.

Acting VOA Director

Dr. Elez Biberaj was appointed Acting Director of the Voice of America in June 2020. Previously he served as Eurasia Division Director, responsible for VOA’s multimedia programming targeting Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia and the Balkans. Under his direction, the Eurasia Division achieved steady audience growth across broadcast and digital properties and expanded a network of top-rated national affiliates and media partners in the target area.

In response to audience consumption habits and content distribution challenges posed by Russian authorities, Dr. Biberaj accelerated the Eurasia Division’s shift toward engaging digital audiences, harnessing the power of mobile and social platforms. He also worked closely with his counterparts at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty to create the Current Time network, the first joint VOA/RFE/RL programming brand in the history of U.S. international broadcasting, launched to provide fact-based alternatives to Russian-language disinformation.

Dr. Biberaj began his career in VOA in December 1980 as an international radio broadcaster in the Albanian Service and later worked in the Press Division of the former U.S. Information Agency as a senior writer/editor specializing in Soviet and East European affairs. Dr. Biberaj returned to VOA as Albanian Service chief in 1986, and for the next 18 years, helped the service develop into one of VOA’s most successful broadcasting units. For more than a decade, he served in dual capacity as chief of the Albanian Service and director of VOA’s European Division writers and researchers. Dr. Biberaj was named the Eurasia Division’s managing editor in 2004, served as acting division director the following year, and was appointed division director in 2006.

He has a Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University and is the author of four books, including Albania in Transition: The Rocky Road to Democracy.

Expertise: International Broadcasting, Journalism, the Balkans, Albania, Russia

Languages: English, Albanian, Serbian

Location: Washington, DC

Kelu Chao

VOA Program Director

Kelu Chao oversees the production and distribution of television, radio, Internet, and mobile content in 45 languages. In more than twenty years, Chao has worked as a studio announcer, field reporter, and editor; Hong Kong Bureau Chief, Mandarin Service Chief, East Asia Division Director and VOA’s first Language Programming Director (2001-2007). She also served as Director of Performance Review (2008-2014), the quality control and consulting arm of the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, responsible for program review, management efficiency, and research; and as Acting Director of Voice of America (2015-2016). A native of Taiwan, Chao earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from National Chengchi University and a master’s degree in Speech Communication and Instructional Media from Kent State University. She also has a great passion for music and has received years of formal training in piano.

Expertise: International Broadcasting/Journalism, China, and Taiwan,

Languages: English, Mandarin

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @keluchao

Africa Division

Negussie Mengesha

Division Director

Negussie Mengesha has more than 30 years of experience at Voice of America, and has led the Africa Division since November 2014. Previously, he served as the Africa Division’s Program Manager for 14 years, overseeing daily operations and providing editorial guidance to the division’s language services. He was instrumental in launching VOA programs to Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Somalia and Mali. Mengesha also served as Chief of the Central Africa Service for four years and was Chief of VOA’s Amharic Service for more than a decade.

Earlier in his career, he was a writer, reporter, editor and on-air talent in the Amharic Service, where he gained a huge audience as host of flagship panel discussion programs. Mengesha has extensive experience in Africa, covering stories as a reporter, recruiting new talent and training stringers, and organizing VOA “on the ground” activities, including highly successful town hall meetings in Nigeria.

Mengesha started his journalism career as a reporter and anchor for radio and television in his native Ethiopia. He studied political science at the Albertus Magnus University of Cologne and got his practical training in radio and TV journalism at the West German Broadcasting Corporation (WDR).

Expertise: U.S. Africa Policy, Horn of Africa, Ethiopia

Languages: English, Amharic, German

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAAfrica

Abdushakur Aboud

International Broadcaster, Swahili Service

Abdushakur Aboud is a senior editor and video producer with the Swahili Service. During his 25 years with VOA, Aboud has covered major political, social, health and cultural events in East, Central and Southern Africa. Aboud covered South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994, the first multi-party elections in Malawi, the Kenyan elections after the 2008 violence, the fight to eradicate polio in the 1990s in South Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia and the AIDS epidemic on the African continent. A native of the Comoros Islands, Aboud has worked for more than 35 years with international broadcast organizations, starting in the early 1980s with the Voice of Germany and the BBC. He is a graduate of Chiekh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal. He specialized in television broadcast engineering and video production in Germany and Japan.

Expertise: East and Central African Politics, African Union, US-Africa Relations

Languages: English, Swahili, French

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOASwahili

Nathalie Barge

International Broadcaster, French to Africa Service

Nathalie Barge has been an international broadcast journalist with VOA’s French to Africa service since 2008. She is hosting Le Monde au Féminin, a show focusing on women and youth related issues. Barge has traveled to more than 40 countries for professional and cultural reasons. As a freelance reporter in Sierra Leone during the civil war, Barge wrote articles about the victims of the war and child soldiers. Her photos were selected for several exhibitions, as well as the photojournalism festival Visa pour l’Image in France. Barge also covered the elections of 2002 in Sierra Leone and was the only woman to cover the struggle over Tongo diamond mines controlled by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF). She holds a DAEU, a diploma in literature, from Lyon 2 University in France.

Expertise: human rights, women and youth, education

Languages: English, French

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @mondofemVOA

James Butty

Managing Editor, English to Africa Service & Host of "Daybreak Africa," Radio Program

James Butty’s broadcasting career began in Liberia where he worked as a volunteer at the Voice of Pleebo, a community radio station in Pleebo, Maryland County. He later worked as assistant news editor and radio and television newscaster at the Liberia Broadcasting System. Butty came to VOA from the West Africa Magazine where he was a Washington correspondent. He now serves as managing editor and host of Daybreak Africa, Voice of America’s breakfast show to Africa. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota, a master’s degree in Mass Communication from Howard University, and a diploma in radio and television broadcasting from Brown Institute (now Brown College) in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Expertise: Sub-Saharan Africa, US Africa Policy, Liberia

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAAfrica

Carol Castiel

Director of Current Affairs Programming & Host of “Press Conference USA” and “Encounter” Radio Programs

Carol Castiel serves as Director of Current Affairs Programming in VOA’s English Division. Carol moderates and produces Press Conference USA and Encounter radio programs. She also oversees the production of Issues in the News, VOA’s roundup of the week’s top stories by distinguished Washington journalists. Before joining the Voice of America, Carol was a consultant/freelance journalist specializing in the promotion of trade and investment between the United States and Africa. She was also a contributing editor to the London-based West Africa Magazine. She holds a Master of Arts degree in International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.

Expertise: International News, US Foreign Policy

Languages: English, Portuguese, French, Spanish

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOANews

Ray Choto

Senior Editor, Zimbabwe Service

Ray Choto is an award-winning investigative journalist who serves as Managing Editor of the Zimbabwe Service at Voice of America. In April 2016, Choto was asked to collaborate with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in the so-called “Panama Papers” project. The Panama Papers won a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting in 2017. His initial report revealed that Zimbabwe’s leading platinum-mining firm, Zimplats Holdings, allegedly used an offshore company to pay salaries for senior managers in violation of exchange control laws. A former chief investigative reporter for The Standard, a Sunday weekly based in Harare, Choto and his editor, the late Mark Chavunduka, had uncovered several stories about government and business corruption in Zimbabwe. The journalists were illegally detained and tortured by the military for refusing to disclose their sources. They were released after nine days and later honored as joint-winners of the International Press Freedom award, sponsored by the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. They also became the first African journalists to receive the British James Cameron Award. He has published four novels in the Shona language. Choto was a three-year Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University.

Expertise: Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, South Africa Politics, “Panama Papers” and Investigative Journalism, Press Freedom, Threats to Press

Languages: English, Shona

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @Studio7VOA

Peter Clottey

International Broadcaster, English to Africa Service & Host of "One on One with Peter Clottey" TV Program & "Nightline Africa," Radio Program

As the host of Nightline Africa, a radio magazine show on Saturdays and Sundays and One on One with Peter Clottey, a TV segment on VOA’s Africa 54 TV show, Peter Clottey daily interviews African heads of state and other governmental officials, as well as rebel and insurgent leaders. His impartial economic and political news reports to the peoples of Sub-Saharan Africa have established him as a highly respected international broadcast journalist with Voice of America. Prior to VOA, Clottey built a national reputation with Choice 102.3 FM news radio in Accra, the capital of Ghana. He began his journalism career while studying at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering. There he managed the student radio station, Dynamite 88.9 FM. A year into his engineering career, Clottey was drawn back into broadcasting as news anchor for Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (Radio Central), 92.5 FM. There he also hosted a music and sports program. Clottey occasionally contributes stories about the rise of African athletes in the world of soccer and hosts The Sports Box, a television show on Voice of America.

Expertise: Sub-Saharan Africa, US Africa Policy, Ghana, and Soccer

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAAfrica

Idrissa Fall

Senior International Broadcaster, French to Africa Service

Idrissa Fall has been Voice of America French-to-Africa service’s Senior Editor since 1992. Having served at VOA for more than 25 years, Fall has covered numerous crises, conflicts and wars on the African continent. His reporting garnered him two David Burke Distinguished Journalism Awards that recognize courage, integrity and originality by the Broadcasting Board of Governors. In 2013, Fall covered the fighting between Muslim and Christian militias in the Central African Republic, where he barely escaped death in Bangui. He was saved by French soldiers after being attacked by a mob. In 2012, he was the first foreign reporter to enter northern Mali under control of Islamic extremists. In 1996, Fall was also the first reporter to enter the rebel controlled region of former Zaire — now Democratic Republic of Congo — and make a chief rebel known to the world. Laurent Desire Kabila will become head of state in DRC, a country presently ruled by his son, Joseph Kabila. Fall has also covered the crisis in Niger, the rebellion in Ivory Coast and the fall of president Laurent Gbagbo, the rebellion in Burundi and the genocide in Rwanda.

Expertise: Francophone Africa, Ivory Coast, Senegal

Languages: French, English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAFrench

Mayra Fernandes

International Broadcaster, Portuguese to Africa Service

Mayra Fernandes has been an international broadcaster with Voice of America’s Portuguese Service since November 2013. Fernandes concentrates in using various social media tools, such as Facebook and WhatsApp, to engage audiences and boost content for Portuguese speaking African countries. She writes news stories for all platforms, manages the Service’s social media pages, hosts the weekly TV entertainment show “Red Carpet” and co-hosts daily Facebook live programs. Being multimedia and mobile savvy, Fernandes has been training stringers and media outlets overseas on online journalism and social media interaction, as well as how to shoot and edit using mobile devices. Prior to VOA, Fernandes served as an editorial coordinator for PT Comunicações Sucursal in Angola. Born in Angola, she grew up in Portugal, where she graduated with honors from the University of Beira Interior with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Sciences, majoring in Online Journalism. Her post-graduate studies were in Strategic Management of Public Relations, from the Higher School of Communication and Media Studies, in Lisbon, Portugal.

Expertise: Sub-Sahara Africa, Social Media

Languages: English, Portuguese, French

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAPortugues

Steven Ferri

Internet Managing Editor

Steven Ferri is the Internet Managing Editor in charge of digital and social media strategy for the Voice of America Africa Division. He is responsible for the leadership and strategic direction of programming for web sites and social media for sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to VOA, Ferri held various roles within the AOL Time Warner family where he was responsible for strategic content development and media convergence projects at AOL, Warner Bros. Television, and Time Warner Cable. These projects included Telepictures In2TV, where he helped reimagine classic Warner Bros. Television shows for a new generation of Internet audiences; the AOL Sports franchise Time Out with Roy Firestone featuring athletes, such as Oscar de la Hoya and Brett Favre; and Time Warner Cable where he worked on digital media integration. Previously, Ferri was a co-founder of tech startup CineLink and Faultline Pictures, an independent film production company. Early in his career, Ferri reported on distressed communities in the United States for NeighborWorks America. This included award-winning work about people living in at risk communities confronted with gang-related violence. Ferri attended Georgetown University, George Mason University, and the Center for Creative Imaging where he studied digital design and communications.

Expertise: social media, digital journalism, audience development, technology startups, storytelling for digital, film, and television

Languages: English

Location: Washington, D.C.

Mwamoyo Hamza, Ph.D.

Swahili Service Chief

Mwamoyo Hamza is the Chief of the VOA Swahili Service, primarily broadcasting to East Africa. He joined VOA in 1994 and served as the Service’s Senior Editor for 12 years. Since joining the Voice of America, Hamza has covered or planned coverage of some of the most important news events in the Africa Division, including President Barack Obama’s participation in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Nairobi in July 2015. In addition, he was among the first journalists to visit and report from Darfur, Sudan in 2004, after which he traveled to southern Sudan, where he interviewed the leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), Dr. John Garang. A native of Tanzania, Hamza began his career as a reporter for the Daily News and Sunday News newspapers based in Dar es Salaam, where among other assignments he covered the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. Hamza attended the Tanzania School of Journalism. He also holds a bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Howard University in Washington D.C.

Expertise: Tanzania, Kenya, African Union, US-Africa Diaspora

Languages: English, Swahili

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOASwahili

Auriane Itangishaka

International Broadcaster, Central Africa Service

Itangishaka is one of the hosts of VOA Central Africa service’s radio show “MURISANGA.” This daily one-hour live call-in program engages the audience on a variety of issues, such as peaceful conflict resolution, political tolerance, reactions to breaking news, and health issues. She is also one of the anchors of VOA Africa Division’s new TV show “Our Voices”; a round table discussion program with a pan-African cast of four women. “Our Voices” engages African women from around the continent on serious subjects and encourages them to speak out about issues that impact their lives and their futures, including politics, business, and migration. As part of VOA’s Central Africa service for over 14 years, Itangishaka frequently interviews heads of state, religious figures, human rights activists, and other high-level politicians and key leaders on topics pertaining to the Great Lakes region of Africa and the world. She is an experienced journalist with in-depth knowledge of the historic, social, political and economic issues of the region. Itangishaka holds a master’s degree in social action and community development from the University of Maryland.

Expertise: Africa's Great Lakes Region (Burundi, Rwanda, DRC), Sub-Saharan Africa, International Politics

Languages: English, French, Kirundi, Kinyarwanda, Swahili

Location: Washington, D.C.

Twitter: @radioyoyacuvoa

Salwa Jaafari

Executive Producer, French to Africa Service

Salwa Jaafari joined Voice of America in February 2015 as a TV executive producer for the French-to-Africa service. She oversees four TV programs, including “Washington Forum” and “Vous et Nous.” Jaafari’s journalism career started in 2001 when she was selected to be an intern at Reuters news agency’s Rabat bureau for 10 months. Before moving to the United States in 2011, Jaafari earned her journalism chops as a field reporter, anchor and chief editor at Moroccan TV channels 2m TV and Medi1TV. During her 7 years as a TV professional, she anchored prime time French news, covered events in 18 countries, including, Benin, Gabon, Senegal, Cameroon, Egypt, Iran, UAE and Japan and led a team of 20 journalists as a news editor. She has also worked as an Information Specialist at the U.S. Embassy in Rabat, where she oversaw numerous projects and events such as the Millennium Challenge Corporation and visits to the region by U.S. officials including President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. She was granted several State Department awards for her distinguished contributions. Prior to joining Voice of America, Jaafari worked in Washington as a freelance reporter for Agence France-Presse and a producer for Skynews Arabia. Jaafari has a master’s degree in English and a bachelor’s degree in English Linguistics.

Expertise: Francophone Africa Politics, U.S. Africa Policy, France, Broadcast Journalism

Languages: English, French, Arabic

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAFrench

Bagassi Koura

Managing Editor, Bambara Service

An experienced field reporter, Bagassi Koura serves as Managing Editor of Voice of America’s Bambara service since 2012. Defying considerable danger, Koura provided extensive coverage of the July 2013 elections in Mali with daily radio and video pieces and a detailed multimedia blog. His reporting from Mali also included the peace treaty between Tuaregs and the Malian government and was recognized with the David Burke Award in 2014. Prior to VOA, Koura worked as a correspondent in Africa, Europe and the United States, covering international news for major global media networks. His stories have appeared on PBS Frontline/World, Agence France Presse, the Deutsche Welle, Reuters Television, Die Tageszeitung, Panos Institute West Africa, Afrikanet.info, and Afrik.com. In addition, his short documentary “The Stinking Ship” that chronicles the odyssey of an oil toxic waste shipment in the Port of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, won several awards in 2010. He is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley School of Journalism.

Expertise: Francophone Africa, Mali, Documentary Films

Languages: English, Bambara, French

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAFrench

Zoe Leoudaki

Television Producer and Social Media Strategist, English to Africa Service

Zoe Leoudaki is a television reporter, producer, and audience engagement strategist for VOA’s television news shows in English that are broadcast to Africa. Zoe started her broadcasting career in Athens, Greece, as a reporter for BBC radio. She was also among the first women to produce and direct newscasts for private television networks in Greece. After coming to Washington in 1998, she worked as a host of radio news shows for VOA’s Greek Service and was recognized as one of the voices and faces of VOA in Greece for 15 years. In the African Division, she spearheads initiatives in audience engagement on a variety of social media platforms. She created the first Facebook-Live-only show for English to Africa, Shaka: Extra Time, based on audience questions from social media platforms. Leoudaki has a keen interest in how U.S. policies towards Africa affect the lives of women and children in the continent. She also reports on the contemporary African art scene, focusing on art as a tool for social change. Zoe was born and raised in Athens, Greece. She has a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from The American College of Greece and a Master of Science from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

Expertise: Greek crisis, Contemporary African Art, Storytelling in the age of Social Media, Creating Shows for Facebook-Live, Girls Education in Africa.

Languages: Greek, English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAAfrica

Vincent Makori

Managing Editor, English TV to Africa Service & TV Host, "Africa 54"

A native of Kenya, Vincent Makori is a versatile journalist with more than 20 years of experience, working in Africa, Europe and the U.S. Makori has covered a wide range of stories including the Africa Union Summit in Lusaka, Zambia, the UN General Assembly in New York, International Trade and Technology Fairs in Berlin and Hanover Germany, Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, Kenya, the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City, Mexico, and the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has interviewed people from all walks of life, including high ranking officials and presidents, among them, former U.S. President George W. Bush, former Secretary of State John Kerry, President Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi, former President of Ghana John Kufuor, and Noble Laureate Wangari Maathai. Makori holds a post-graduate degree in Mass Communications from the School of Journalism of the University of Nairobi and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Moi University, Kenya.

Expertise: Sub-Saharan Africa, US Africa policy, Kenya

Languages: English, Swahili, German

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAVinceMakori

Heather Maxwell, Ph.D.

International Multimedia Broadcaster, Host and Producer “Music Time in Africa”

Heather Maxwell is the host and producer of VOA’s “Music Time in Africa.” The 60-minute music show is VOA’s longest-running English language program of pan-African music. She also reports on VOA TV and social media about African music and is the author of the “Music Time in Africa” blog. Maxwell speaks fluent French and Bambara. She is a two-time Fulbright scholarship recipient and has published several works on African music. Maxwell travels to Africa regularly to research music stories and trends and to acquire music recordings for all of VOA’s African music programs. She keeps in constant touch with her millions of radio fans and social media followers worldwide. Maxwell holds a Bachelor of Arts in music (voice) and anthropology from the University of Michigan and a Master of Arts and a Ph.D. in folklore and ethnomusicology from Indiana University.

Expertise: African music, Jazz, World Music and Culture

Languages: English, French, Bambara

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @musictimeafrica

Deirdre Murray McIntosh

Executive Producer, “Our Voices," English to Africa Service

Deirdre Murray McIntosh is the executive producer of “Our Voices,” Voice of America’s premier television program for women in Africa. The weekly talk show that launched in November of 2018, features four core hosts from different corners of the continent, representing different cultural, religious and socio-political backgrounds. With nearly thirty years experience in producing television programming for VOA viewers in Sub-Saharan Africa, Murray McIntosh has also served as senior television producer for “Straight Talk Africa”, an international call-in talk show hosted by veteran African journalist Shaka Ssali, as well as other VOA television programs including “Perspective”, “Special Report Africa”, “Healthy living” and “Africa Journal.” Before joining VOA, Murray McIntosh served as production coordinator for Tribune broadcasting affiliate WPHL-TV working with the 76ers, the Philadelphia basketball team. While at WPHL-TV, she received an Emmy award for outstanding sports series from the Philadelphia chapter of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences. She also freelanced with ABC TV’s “Good Morning America” and spent several years working for local radio stations in Philadelphia. A long-time jazz enthusiast, Murray McIntosh got her start in broadcasting in 1986 at Temple University’s public radio station WRTI-FM as the announcer of the “Music Book”, an on-air schedule of jazz entertainment performing in the listening area. Deirdre holds a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and African–American studies from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Expertise: U.S.-Africa Policy, African–American Studies, Sub-Saharan Africa, Women and Civil Rights

Languages: English, Spanish

Location: Washington D.C.

Twitter: @VOAOurVoices @VOAAfrica

Eugenie Mukankusi

International Broadcaster, Central Africa Service

Eugenie Mukankusi is a long-time journalist with VOA’s Central Africa Service. She has been the editor of both the women and health programs that are so critical to the service’s audience in the Great Lakes region. Mukankusi is also the host of a popular live call-in show. A dynamic and articulate on-air talent, she has played an important role in the service’s transition to TV programming, like in-language versioning of VOA60, Voice of America’s short digital video product. The program has been picked up by a Rwandan digital media outlet, and has so far attracted more than 80,000 subscribers in less than a year.

Expertise: Rwanda, Burundi

Languages: English, Kirundi, Kinyarwanda

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAAfrica

Roger Muntu

International Broadcaster, French to Africa Service & TV Host, "RM Show"

Roger Muntu is a radio and television personality of the popular “RM Show” radio program and “Vous et Nous” TV program. Muntu’s daily hour-long show features music and interesting chat with some of the region’s most notable musicians, actors, politicians and other celebrities. He mixes light and serious subjects to excite listeners, who participate extensively through calls, emails, Facebook posts, and SMS messages every day. Prior to joining VOA in 2012, he worked as an international freelance correspondent for several international media outlets and a Media Technologies teacher in Fairfax County Schools. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Information Systems Technology, with a minor in Communications, and he is working on his MBA and Conflict Resolution Certificate at Marymount University. Muntu is often interviewed by international media on various issues. When people in francophone Africa are asked to name their favorite VOA show, usually the first answer is: “RM Show!”

Expertise: Francophone Africa, Music, Culture

Languages: French, English, Swahili, Lingala, Tshiluba, Spanish

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @RMshowVoa

Harun Muruf

International Broadcaster, Somali Service

Harun Maruf is a reporter and writer at VOA Africa Division with an extensive experience in working in conflict zones. He also covers security, extremism, piracy, human rights, politics and other current affairs issues. He secured the first radio interview with the late American jihadist Omar Hammami and two weeks later Maruf was the first to report Hammami’s death. Maruf has also reported on the emergence of pro-Islamic State militants in Somalia; the travels of Somali youth from Minnesota to Syria to fight alongside ISIS and has presented hundreds of original radio documentaries about Al-Shabab, extremism, corruption, piracy, and human rights. In addition, Maruf is the author of hundreds of articles, papers and scholarly works about Somalia and the Horn of Africa and he’s frequently invited to speak on these subjects at international events, conferences, round-table discussions and town halls. Prior to VOA Maruf worked for BBC and Associated Press as a reporter in Somalia, and as a researcher for Human Rights Watch. He holds a Master of Arts in international journalism from the City, University of London.

Expertise: Horn of Africa, Somalia, Security, Extremism, Piracy, Policy analysis

Languages: English, Somali

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @HarunMaruf

Aliyu Mustapha

Hausa Service Chief

Aliyu Mustapha, the current chief of VOA’s Hausa service, had been the managing editor of the service since 1989. In that capacity, he focused on breaking news, as well as the planning and enterprise coverage for a total of 16 hours of weekly radio programming on shortwave, AM and 24/7 audio mobile stream. In June 2015, Mustapha secured the first exclusive one-on-one interview to an international broadcaster with then newly elected Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. Prior to joining VOA, he worked with radio and television stations in Nigeria, including the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). While at NTA, he rose to the position of acting Director, News and Current Affairs Division in his hometown of Sokoto. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of Maryland.

Expertise: Nigerian Socio-Political Culture, History, and Personalities, West African politics, US Africa Policy

Languages: English, Hausa

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @voahausa

Jackson Mvunganyi

International Broadcaster, English to Africa Service & Co-Host of "Up Front" Radio Program

As the co-host of Voice of America’s Up Front, an interactive, fast-paced, radio program connecting youth in Africa and the United States, Jackson Mvunganyi along with his co-host, Nadia Samie, an on-air personality based in Cape Town, South Africa, talk to teens and young adults about trends, lifestyles, health, entertainment, and other issues touching listeners’ lives. Mvunganyi has had a multi-faceted broadcasting career, working in both radio and television, in Africa and the United States. A native of Rwanda, Mvunganyi volunteers his time with African diaspora communities on issues affecting the continent. In addition, he has participated on various panels at the United Nations, World Bank, Harvard University, The Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania, American University and Georgetown University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in multimedia development from American University in Washington D.C., and a master’s degree in information management from the University of Maryland.

Expertise: Sub-Saharan Africa, Youth, Pop Culture, Health, Development, Diaspora, Global Politics, Technology, Conflict, Migration, Media, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Agriculture

Languages: English, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, Swahili, Luganda, French

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @UpfrontAfrica

Ndimyake Mwakalyelye

Zimbabwe Service Chief

Ndimyake Mwakalyelye has served as the Chief of VOA’s Zimbabwe Service since 2014. In this capacity, she manages broadcasts to Zimbabwe in English, Shona and Ndebele on medium wave and shortwave radio, and a daily live webcast of its popular Studio 7 radio program. Prior to her current position, Mwakalyelye was the lead reporter and anchor at large for “Africa 54,” VOA’s live, daily TV program for Africa. She has a strong interest in Africa and other regions of the world and keeps her audiences informed through well-researched video packages and interviews that touch on politics, economics, and other social issues. She is particularly interested in addressing issues that are relevant and of concern to women, children and people with disabilities. Prior to joining VOA, she worked for New Jersey Network, the state’s only public broadcasting station. Mwakalyelye was born in Tanzania and raised in Zimbabwe. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Howard University, and a master’s degree from American University.

Expertise: Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Southern African Politics, Women, Health, and Media Issues

Languages: English, Shona, Ndebele

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @Studio7VOA

Frederic Nkundikije

Managing Editor, Central Africa Service (Kirundi/Kinyarwanda)

Frederic Nkundikije is the managing editor of the Central Africa service. In his more than 20 years in journalism, Nkundikije has interviewed high profile guests including heads of state, former U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering, the former U.S. Special Envoy to the Great Lakes region, Thomas Perriello, as well as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advisor for the prevention of genocide, Adama Dieng. Nkundikije participated in an executive exchange on Burundi at the State Department where he joined Africa experts, including former Director of The Wilson Center’s Africa program, Ambassador Steve McDonald. Nkundikije joined the White House press corps for VOA to cover President Obama’s first official visit to Africa in 2009. Nkundikije has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Burundi and a master’s degree in journalism from Georgetown University. He was also a Hubert Humphrey fellow at Penn State University. Prior to VOA, he worked at the University of Burundi as director of the cabinet to the university president, a position similar to vice president for administration in institutions of higher education in the U.S.

Expertise: Data reporting, video journalism and photojournalism, journalism ethics and digital essentials.

Languages: Kirundi, French, English, Kiswahili, Kinyarwanda

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAAfrica

Edward Rwema

International Broadcaster, Central Africa Service (Kirundi/Kinyarwanda)

Edward Rwema has been an international broadcaster for Voice of America’s Central Africa Service, since 2013. He covers many of Great Lakes biggest stories including the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda’s aftermath of the genocide and just recently the crisis in Burundi. In 2015, under extreme conditions, threats and risk of life, Rwema filed stories each day for Voice of America bringing the world and VOA listeners objective accounts of the crisis in Burundi, covering election campaigns, demonstrations against the president’s third term bid, failed political dialogue, and the impact of the crisis on the people of Burundi. Prior to joining VOA, Rwema reported for a variety of media outlets such as the Associated Press, German International Radio, the Torstar Group and a number of radio and print outlets in Rwanda.

Expertise: Great Lakes Region, Rwanda, 1994 Genocide, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sub-Saharan Africa, International Politics, Diplomacy

Languages: English, French, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, Swahili

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAAfrica

Salem Solomon

Multimedia International Broadcaster

Salem Solomon is a journalist with the Voice of America’s Africa Division. In addition to filing her own reports, Solomon works with reporters from the Division’s 15 language services to bring local stories to a wider audience. Before joining VOA, she was a writer at the Tampa Bay Business Journal and an anchor for Newsy.com, an online news site. She also hosted Global Journalist, a radio show on international news at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. At the Voice of America, Solomon produced How Long Have Africa’s Presidents Held Office?, a special report that won second place in the data visualization category at the 2016 Africa Media Awards. Before coming to the U.S., she was a news anchor for the English News Department of Eri-TV, a state-owned television station in Eritrea. In addition, Solomon is the founder and editor of Africa Talks, a multimedia website about Africa and the global African diaspora and future training hub for African journalists. Solomon holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Asmara and a Master of Arts in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

Expertise: Sub-Saharan Africa, US Africa Policy, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Press & Internet Freedom, Women's Rights, Human Rights, Migration, Drought/Famine

Languages: English, Amharic, Tigrigna

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @Salem_Solomon

Shaka Ssali, Ph.D.

Managing Editor ,English to Africa Service & TV Host, "Straight Talk Africa"

On his show, Straight Talk Africa, Shaka Ssali and his guests discuss topics of interest to Africans and the African diaspora, including politics, good governance and rule of law, economic development, press freedom, health, social issues and conflict resolution. He has interviewed many presidents and prime ministers, from former President of Nigeria, General Olusegun Obasanjo to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas Greenfield, and animal expert and former director of the Columbus Zoo, Jack Hanna. He is a former Ford Foundation Fellow and has received numerous honors, including a United Nations Peacekeeping Special Achievement Award in International Journalism. Other awards include the Kigezi College Butobere — Shaka’s alma mater in Kabale, Uganda and the first ever Highest Achievement Award in International Human Communication. Ssali holds a doctorate in cross cultural communications and history from University of California Los Angeles and a bachelor’s degree from Kigezi College in Kabale, Uganda.

Expertise: Sub Saharan Africa, US Africa Policy, Uganda

Languages: English, Swahili, Luganda

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAShaka

Tewelde Tesfagabir, Ph.D.

International Broadcaster and Host, Horn of Africa Service

With more than 20 years experience in hosting, writing and editing VOA Tigrigna radio programs and digital products, Tewelde Tesfagabir has a deep understanding of the political and cultural challenges facing Eritrea, Ethiopia and the larger Horn of Africa region. Prior to joining VOA, Tesfagabir was a correspondent and editor for Ethiopian State Radio in Addis Ababa. He is one of few VOA journalists who was able to visit his native Eritrea, and interview President Isaias Afewerki. Tesfagabir is known for well-researched video and audio content and interviews on politics, economic development, human rights, press freedom, the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean that has affected the lives of many Eritreans and Ethiopian refugees, and other social issues. Tesfagabir holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and journalism from the University of Asmara, Eritrea, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from Walden University. His published dissertation focuses on indigenous and independent food sustainability in Africa.

Expertise: Multimedia journalism, public policy, U.S Africa policy, food sustainability, press freedom, Horn of Africa, Eritrea, Ethiopia

Languages: English, Tigrigna, Amharic

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOATigrigna

Ernest (E.A.) Torriero

Internet Managing Editor, English to Africa

Award-winning journalist Ernest (E.A.) Torriero is Voice of America’s Internet Managing Editor for English-to-Africa programs with overall responsibility for digital and web English content broadcast into 54 countries on the African continent. During a decade at VOA, Torriero has worked in five agency divisions. He most recently served as China Branch Chief were he led management, leadership, programming and editorial direction of VOA’s Mandarin and Cantonese language services. Previously, he served as the managing editor of VOA’s Extremism Watch Desk, which covers terrorism issues and militancy. Torriero came to VOA in 2010, serving as Middle East editor for the Central News Division and later became executive producer for VOANews.com, the agency’s lead English web site. Torriero has covered many of the world’s major conflicts in the last three decades. From 2000 to 2008, he reported from the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Israel for the Chicago Tribune and was one of the few U.S. reporters stationed in Baghdad before the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime. Torriero also covered some of the biggest domestic stories in recent years, including the campus shootings at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University as well as the Minneapolis interstate bridge collapse. He has won awards from the Overseas Press Club, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Scripps Howard Foundation and the Florida Press Club. He was the winner of the Paul Hansell Award in 1995, the top merit for a Florida journalist for a year’s body of work. Torriero earned an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Notre Dame in and a Master of Science in journalism from Northwestern University, where he has also lectured as an adjunct professor.

Expertise: Extremism, Terrorism, ISIS/ISIL, Foreign Affairs, Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Caribbean

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAAfrica

Abdirahman Yabarow

Somali Service Chief

With over 40 years of journalism experience centered primarily on East Africa, Abdirahman Yabarow has been the Chief of the VOA Somali Service since July 2008. Under his leadership, the service’s audience reach increased to 74.5% in just three years. Yabarow started his career in journalism at Somalia’s Radio Mogadishu. He has also worked for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) launching a Somali broadcasting section for the UN’s Regional Integrated Network. Prior to VOA, he served as a correspondent for the BBC reporting from Kenya and Britain, as well as senior correspondent in the BBC’s Washington Bureau. Yabarow’s reporting spans politics, social issues, culture, science and sports. He also has extensive experience training broadcast journalists. Yabarow has a master’s degree in urban studies from the University of Maryland and a bachelor’s degree in information systems, cum laude, from the University of the District of Colombia (UDC).

Expertise: East Africa, US-Africa Affairs, Middle East and Islamic World

Languages: English, Somali, Afan-Oromo, Arabic

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOASomali

Sonny Young

Host of "Sonny Side of Sports"

Sonny Young’s lifelong love of sports and radio has shined brightly through his Sonny Side of Sports show and throughout his 31-year career at the Voice of America. Young grew up playing a lot of sports, among them, baseball, basketball, football, soccer, volleyball and track and field. He also grew up listening to a lot of radio, including sports call-in shows and live Major League Baseball and National Basketball Association broadcasts. At VOA, Young has covered many of the world’s most popular sporting events, including the Olympics, the World Cup soccer finals and the World Athletic Championships. Two of his biggest sporting thrills were meeting boyhood heroes Smokin’ Joe Frazier, the late former world heavyweight boxing champion, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. Young has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of New Hampshire.

Expertise: Sports

Languages: English

Location: Washington D.C.

East Asia & Pacific Division

Nadia Madjid

Division Director

Nadia Madjid is the director of the East Asia and Pacific division which is comprised of ten language services: Burmese, Cantonese, Indonesian, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Mandarin, Thai, Tibetan, and Vietnamese. Prior to her current position, Madjid served as the chief, VOA Indonesian service for almost three years. Madjid piloted the service’s TV programming and produced one of the agency’s longest-running shows, Dunia Kita. She co-authored a book on democracy in Indonesia and a series of children’s books. Before joining VOA, Madjid taught at the University of Indonesia. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Indonesia and graduated in 2000 from the University of Chicago with a Master of Arts in Humanities, specializing in cinema and media studies.

Expertise: TV production, Democracy and Islam in Indonesia

Languages: English, Indonesian, French

Twitter: @voaindonesia

Xin Chen

Managing Editor, Mandarin Service

As a native of China, VOA Mandarin managing editor, Xin Chen, has extensive knowledge of China’s social, political and economic realities. As a VOA journalist reporting on China since 1997, Ms. Chen has covered China-related issues on a broad scale and has established extensive ties with scholars, decision makers and think tanks that study U.S.-China relations. Her VOA weekly talk show Pro and Con has been a very popular Mandarin program since it started in 2001. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from Washington State University and pursued Ph.D. studies in communications at the University of Arizona before joining VOA.

Expertise: US-China relations, China’s political and social issues.

Languages: English, Mandarin

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAChinese

Chia Hui “Vivian” Cheng

Multimedia Production Specialist, Mandarin Service

Chia Hui “Vivian” Cheng is a multimedia producer at Voice of America’s Mandarin Service. She is a key player in the day-to day operations of VOA Mandarin’s official website and social media platforms and cooperates with reporters, show hosts and editors to publish content that showcases the service’s multimedia broadcasts while addressing the audiences’ media consumption preferences. Cheng’s role is to initiate new multimedia programming and find solutions to the service’s technical challenges. In June 2016, Cheng started live-streaming on YouTube VOA Mandarin’s daily TV show, VOAWeishi. She worked diligently to build an online community by encouraging the audience to ask questions and comment on show topics. Since then, the YouTube chat room has become a great platform for the Mandarin Service to interact with its audience. As a result the number of monthly comments on the service’s YouTube channel has increased sixfold. Cheng is the recipient of BBG’s Gold Medal Award in 2015 and 2016. She holds a master’s degree in information systems from George Mason University.

Expertise: Web design, social media, digital innovations

Languages: English, Mandarin, Taiwanese

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAChinese

Yu-wen Winnie Cheng

International Broadcaster, Mandarin Service and Host of "Weishi TV" and "Issues & Opinions"

Yu-wen Winnie Cheng has been working as a TV host and reporter at VOA’s China Branch since 1999. Prior to joining VOA, she worked at TVBS, a Taiwanese news television station, where she specialized in breaking news writing and editing. She has covered several events such as the missile crisis at the Taiwan Strait in 1996, the U.S. Presidential election in 1996 and the Taiwan Presidential elections in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012. Her present work at VOA includes interviewing news-makers, analysts, experts, as well as U.S., Taiwanese and Chinese officials. She holds a master’s degree in International Relations from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from National Cheng Chi University in Taiwan.

Expertise: Asia-Pacific region (China-U.S., Taiwan-U.S., China-Taiwan, Taiwan-Japan relations); political, social, economic, security, and human rights issues in China.

Languages: English, Mandarin,Taiwanese

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAChinese

Eunjung Cho

International Broadcaster, Korean Service and Host, Weekly Discussion “Washington Talk”, Covers State Department

Eunjung Cho covers the State Department for VOA Korean and is the host of “Washington Talk,” a weekly discussion TV program featuring U.S. experts who analyze American policy towards North Korea. In 2014, Cho filed investigative reports from Qatar on working conditions of North Korean nationals in the country. In 2015, a special United Nations human rights report cited her scoop on Qatar’s Construction Development Company which fired nearly half of its North Korean employees due to their supervisors’ repeated violations of Qatari labor laws. For more than a decade at VOA, Cho has been covering Washington’s perspectives on North Korea from many different angles. South Korean media are picking up many of her reports. Cho joined VOA in 2007 from Arirang TV, South Korea’s leading English network, where she spent six years as an anchor and reporter. At Arirang she served as correspondent to major ministries including Foreign Affairs, Finance and Economy and Unification. Cho received a Bachelor of Arts in French language and literature from Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea.

Expertise: North Korea, South Korea, U.S. Policy on Korea

Languages: English, Korean

Location: Washington DC

Twitter: @VOA_Korean

Chris Decherd

Khmer Service Chief

Before joining VOA Khmer in 2004, Chris Decherd was the Associated Press correspondent in Cambodia (2000-2003) and editor-in-chief of The Cambodia Daily (1998-2000). At the Daily, he led a news operation of 25 Cambodian and 15 international journalists to produce a daily newspaper in English with a substantive Khmer-language section. He led efforts to take the newspaper to six days a week, from five. As a reporter at The Cambodia Daily (1995-98), he covered the final years of Khmer Rouge resistance fighting, gradual mass defections to the central government, the movement’s collapse and the creation of the UN-assisted Khmer Rouge Tribunal. He lived and worked in Phnom Penh for nine years (1995-2004). Previously, Decherd worked as a reporter for six years at the Athens Banner-Herald/Daily News in Athens, Georgia, covering local elections and developments, northeast Georgia, historic preservation, consolidation of the governments of Athens city and Clarke County, football and basketball. Decherd graduated in 1990 from the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism. He grew up in Atlanta but he is a native of New York City.

Expertise: Cambodia, governance culture in developing nations, independent journalism

Languages: English

Location: Washington, D.C.

Twitter: @voakhmer

Daphne Fan

International Broadcaster, Mandarin Service & TV Host, "Strait Talk" Program

Daphne Fan, originally from Taiwan, is an international broadcaster for Voice of America’s Mandarin Service. Fan hosts VOA Mandarin’s Sunday morning show Strait Talk, focusing on US-China-Taiwan issues, and has produced the award-winning WWII documentary “Journey 1945.” She has covered three Taiwan presidential elections and interviewed many leading Taiwanese politicians, including former Taiwan Vice President Annette Lu, Prime Minister Hau Pei-Tsun, Defense Minister Michael Tsai, and Cultural Minister Lung Ying-Tai. She also had a sit-down interview with former US Secretary of Labor, and current Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, who is also originally from Taiwan. Before joining VOA in 2007, Fan worked as Washington, D.C. reporter for World Journal and served as the Washington correspondent for Taiwan ETTV Broadcasting Co., covering US-China-Taiwan related news on Capitol Hill, the State Department, and the White House, reporting live and interviewing scholars and experts in the Washington area. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature from National Cheng-Chi University and a Master of Arts in International Communication from American University.

Expertise: Taiwan Issues/Cross-Strait Relations

Languages: English, Chinese

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAChinese

Yibing Feng

Beijing Correspondent, China Branch

Yibing Feng has been VOA China Branch’s correspondent in Beijing since November 2015. Feng joined the Voice of America in 1996 and before he was assigned to Beijing, he worked in VOA’s Chinese branch in various roles, including international broadcaster, writer, radio program host, radio/TV producer and editor for VOA Mandarin. Prior to joining VOA, Feng worked as a news reporter and announcer at the Asian Broadcast Network in Boston. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the Beijing Foreign Studies University in China and a Master of Arts in Sociology from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Languages: Mandarin, English

Location: Beijing, China

Than Lwin Htun

Burmese Service Chief

The Chief of VOA’s Burmese Service, Than Lwin Htun, joined the Voice of America in 2004. Prior to VOA, Lwin worked for the BBC for more than a decade as a broadcast journalist. During a 2002 sabbatical, he also worked with the international NGO Internews to establish the first Burmese journalism school in Thailand. Born in Rangoon, Burma, Lwin studied medicine before becoming a student leader during the 1988 uprising against Burma’s ruling military government. Fearing for his life, he escaped Rangoon, walking three days through the jungle to reach Thailand. He remained in the jungle until 1990, when British malaria researchers encouraged him to resume his studies in Great Britain. Lwin holds a Bachelor of Science in microbiology from North London University and a Master of Science in social policy and planning from the London School of Economics.

Expertise: Burma/Myanmar policy, Human Rights

Languages: English, Burmese

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @Voaburmese

Paris Huang

International Broadcaster, Mandarin Service & TV Host, “Issues & Opinions” and “Techno 101”, White House Correspondent

Prior to VOA, Paris Huang was the Executive Producer of Chinese Satellite Television Communication Group in Taiwan. In addition, he worked as producer and DJ for Power Radio, and assistant Marketing Manager of Mandarin Technology. After he arrived in the U.S., he served as Greater Washington bureau chief for Hong Kong’s Sing Tao Daily newspaper. In addition to hosting the VOA Mandarin talk show “Issues & Opinions” and the technology segment “Techno 101”, Huang has interviewed a wide range of newsmakers including U.S. Representative Ted Liu, former Director of National Intelligence Admiral Dennis Blair, former White House cybersecurity policy director Robert Knake, former Taiwan vice president Annette Lu, Chinese human rights activist Wei Jingsheng, blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, and many others. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Relations from Chinese Culture University in Taiwan, and an MBA from American University in Washington D.C. He is also the co-author of two books: “Ultimate MP3 2001”, and “Notre Dame de Paris: The Complete Guide”.

Expertise: US-China-Taiwan relations and foreign policy, China cyber threat, Cyber-security, Taiwan politics, Taiwan civil society (minority, LGBTQ rights, etc), White House media coverage, US-China issues

Languages: English, Mandarin, Taiwanese (Hokkien)

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAChinese

Bill Ide

China Branch Chief

Bill Ide is the chief of VOA’s China Branch. Prior to this position he served as VOA’s Beijing Bureau Chief working in China since 2012. Ide covered major developments in the region including the economy, politics, President Xi’s anti-corruption crackdown, the environment, social issues, Internet controls and human rights. As the Chinese economy was quickly shifting gears from double digit growth to a much slower pace, he traveled around the country to learn more about the impact the slowdown was having. Ide wrote frequently about the shifting dynamics of Beijing’s relations with its neighbors, be it tensions in the South China Sea or China’s “Belt and Road Project.” He is also a close watcher of China’s media environment and issues such as freedom of expression, censorship, religion and rule of law. Ide began his career as a journalist in Taiwan. He arrived in Taipei in 1996, shortly after Taiwan’s first direct presidential elections. In Taiwan, he covered a rich range of stories, writing frequently about the island’s legislature, national security, environmental advocacy and other social topics. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese language and literature from Brigham Young University and an Advanced Studies degree from Fudan University in Shanghai, China.

Expertise: US-China relations, political, social, economic, security, and human rights issues in China. Censorship and the environment. China-Taiwan relations, Taiwan-US-China relations, Hong Kong democracy, China “Belt and Road” project, China Model.

Languages: English, Mandarin

Location: Beijing, China

Twitter: @Bill_Ide

Ade Astuti Kidwell

Indonesian Service Chief

Ade Astuti Kidwell is an award-winning journalist and a highly-innovative audience development expert with a global perspective. She took on the role of directing the VOA Indonesian service in April 2019. She previously served as VOA’s Social Medial Lead and was responsible for guiding all 46 VOA language services’ strategy on growing and engaging with their audience on social media platforms. She built and managed partnerships with social media companies and provided training and best practices on owned and paid media channels. She has a long and proven track record of leveraging social media to engage with VOA’s worldwide audience. As a journalist, she covered U.S. politics, financial markets and breakthroughs in technology. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, and a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Indonesia.

Expertise: Social Media Management, Social Media Best Practices, Digital Marketing, Digital Strategy, Digital Journalism, Broadcast Journalism

Languages: English, Indonesian

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @adeastuti

Yiu Ling "Elaine" Lau

International Broadcaster, Cantonese Service

Yiu Ling “Elaine” Lau has been working for VOA’s Cantonese service since 1999 as a radio, TV and web producer. She also serves as radio host, as well as TV and web editor responsible for the service’s special webpage on Hong Kong’s political transformation, highlighting U.S. policy and discussion on the issue. Originally from Hong Kong, Lau was a reporter in Ming Pao Daily news specializing in Hong Kong politics and Sino-Hong Kong relations, prior to joining VOA. She also worked as assistant editor in Reader’s Digest, Hong Kong edition and a research assistant in the Contemporary China Research Project at the City University of Hong Kong. At VOA, she is a recipient of the agency’s Gold Medal Award in 2011. Lau holds a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Essex in the U.K.

Expertise: Hong Kong, China issues

Languages: English, Cantonese, Mandarin

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @voacantonese

Wei Lin

Supervisory Social Media Editor, Mandarin Service

Wei Lin began her career as a journalist at Voice of America in 1998. She started out as a current affairs reporter, and later covered a variety of beats, including science and technology, trade and economics, and sports. She also worked as a news editor, a feature program editor, a web editor, and a long-time editor for mandarin service English Teaching programs. Most recently, she took on the responsibility of leading the service digital effort. Mandarin Service’s social media platforms have seen extraordinary growth under her leadership. Ms. Lin has a Master’s Degree in International Communications from the American University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in English Language and Literature from the Peking University.

Expertise: China

Languages: English, Mandarin

Location: Washington D.C.

Twitter: @VOAChinese

Dong Hyuk Lee

Korean Service Chief

Dong Hyuk Lee joined Voice of America in May 2006 as Chief of the Korean service with more than 12 years of journalism experience, including two years as managing editor at a Korean newspaper. Before joining VOA, Lee worked for three and a half years at Radio Free Asia as senior editor leading a news team producing a daily program at the Korean service. Since 1992, Lee has closely followed bilateral relations between the U.S. and North Korea, the U.S. policy on North Korea, and inter-Korean politics. He has interviewed key U.S. officials handling security issues around the Korean peninsula and nuclear proliferation. Some of his work, including his exclusive coverage of Ri Myung Hun, a North Korean basketball player who played in the NBA from 1997 to 1999, received nation-wide attention in both South and North Korea. As a veteran journalist specializing in U.S.-North Korea relations, Lee has also appeared on U.S. and South Korean news outlets, including Fox Business’ “Mornings with Maria” and KBS. A native of South Korea, Lee holds a master’s degree in Communications from the University of Illinois at Chicago and completed a master’s degree program in Applied English Linguistics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Expertise: Korea, North Korea relations, East Asia

Languages: English, Korean

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOA_Korean

Ira Mellman

International Broadcaster & Anchor, English to Asia

Ira Mellman has been in broadcasting for more than half a century. He has covered events ranging from the 9/11 terrorist attacks to the Olympics, as well as heading a Capitol Hill bureau and leading news operations for Clear Channel stations in the Washington, D.C. area. He has been a broadcast journalist at networks and stations including CBS, ABC, WINS in New York City and WTOP in Washington, D.C. For the past decade, Ira Mellman has been a reporter, host and newscast anchor for VOA English to Asia. His interviews, covering a wide range of issues and topics about Asia and featuring newsmakers and experts worldwide, have made VOA’s flagship Asia news program, VOA Asia, one of the most reliable and stable sources of news about Asia. His interviews have also been highlighted by VOA Central News and many VOA language services in their reporting on Asia. Mellman holds a Bachelor of Arts in broadcast journalism from Ohio State University.

Expertise: Broadcast Journalism, Press Freedom, Asia, East Asia, South Asia

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAAsia

Kimseng Men

International Broadcaster, Khmer Service

Kimseng Men has covered breaking news in Cambodia, as well as the latest developments in the Cambodian diaspora in the U.S. for Voice of America’s Khmer Service since January 2009. Prior to VOA, Men was the United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) communications manager. He also worked at the Agence-France Presse (AFP) Phnom Penh Bureau for over three years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Education from the Royal University of Phnom Penh, a Master of Arts in International Relations from the University of Cambodia and a Journalism Certificate from the American University of Paris.

Expertise: Contemporary Cambodian Politics, Development and ASEAN

Languages: Khmer, English, French

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @voakhmer

Rattaphol Onsanit

Thai Service Chief

Rattaphol Onsanit, a.k.a. Ahn, first joined the Voice of America as an intern in the late 1990’s, before embarking on a journalism career working for AP/Dow Jones and Bloomberg news in Thailand. Amid the country’s political unrest, Onsanit wrote for the Dow Jones Newswire, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News and Barron’s. In addition to working for print media, he also appeared on MSNBC and Bloomberg TV. He also taught news reporting at Bangkok’s Thammasat University where he created an international mentorship project connecting his students with journalists around the world. Onsanit returned to VOA in 2012, as an international broadcaster. This time he started a regular news segment on education and helped to grow VOA Thai’s social media audience. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Duke University. He’s also a graduate of Columbia University’s School of Journalism.

Expertise: Thailand, US-Thai relations, Education

Languages: Thai, English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @voa_thai

Giao Pham

Vietnamese Service Chief

The chief of VOA’s Vietnamese service, Giao Pham, joined the Voice of America in 2017. Prior to his current post, Pham worked at Radio Free Asia’s Vietnamese Service as an international broadcaster for almost 2 years, and at the California-based Nguoi Viet (Vietnamese People) Daily News, the first and largest Vietnamese language daily in the U.S. as the editor for more than 7 years. Pham holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Polytechnique University of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and a Master of Arts in economics from California State University, Fullerton.

Expertise: Vietnam policy, Vietnamese Diaspora in the U.S.

Languages: English, Vietnamese

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOATiengViet

Nova Poerwadi

TV Producer and Anchor, Indonesian Service

Nova Poerwadi is a TV producer and anchor at VOA’s Indonesian service, producing and presenting a variety of content, including on U.S. politics, economy, social issues, and technology. You’ll also see him on Indonesian affiliate stations reporting on breaking news, or developments in the U.S. of interest to Indonesians. Nova brings to his work over 20 years of broadcast experience in Indonesia, the U.K., and the U.S. His broadcasting career in Indonesia since 1992 with three successive stations – TVRI, SCTV and RCTI – coincided with the country’s tremendous transition from a military dictatorship to a vibrant democracy. Some of these changes he reported to an international audience via CNN’s World Report program, of which RCTI was a contributor. Nova joined VOA in 2005 during a time the Indonesian Service’s TV team was in its infancy. VOA Indonesian TV has now developed into one of the most well-known and trusted sources for U.S. news in Indonesia. Nova earned his bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Airlangga University in Surabaya and his master’s in TV journalism from Goldsmiths College, University of London. Nova is multilingual and fluent in English, Indonesian and Javanese, with a desire to add more languages.

Expertise: US Politics, Economy, Social Issues, Technology, Indonesian Politics, Indonesian Culture, Religious Issues, International Relations, Sexual Minority Issues

Languages: English, Indonesian, Javanese

Location: Washington, D.C.

Twitter: @voaindonesia

Sophat Soeung

International Broadcaster, Khmer Service

Sophat Soeung is a multimedia reporter, editor and host at Voice of America’s Khmer Service. As digital strategist since 2010, he focused the service’s digital efforts on social media, particularly Facebook, building the Khmer service’s page from 500 fans to becoming the most popular Facebook page in Cambodia, with over 5 million fans. He also initiated partnerships with two major Cambodian online publications. As a reporter, he has most recently conducted exclusive and high-profile interviews about technology, youth, and media trends in Cambodia, the Cambodian diaspora in the U.S. and Southeast Asia. Prior to joining VOA, Soeung was a lecturer of English at the Royal University of Phnom Penh. He holds a Master of Arts in international peace studies from the University of Notre Dame. A native of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Soeung has lived and traveled in Southeast Asia, Europe, and the United States. His goal is to help connect the world more meaningfully.

Expertise: Cambodia, digital strategy, youth, tech industry, Southeast Asia

Languages: English, Khmer, German

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @SophatSoeung

Jim Stevenson

International Broadcaster & Anchor, English to Asia

For nearly 40 years, Jim Stevenson has been sharing stories with the world on the radio, television and internet. From both the field and the studio, from covering news to sports, he enjoys telling about specific events and uncovering the interesting periphery every story possesses. His broadcast career has been a balancing act between music, news, and sports, always blending the serious with the lighter side, yet highlighted with covering the Olympics Games, World Cups and Super Bowls for the millions of VOA audience around the world. For the last nine years, Jim Stevenson has been the voice of VOA’s English to Asia, anchoring VOA Asia’s flagship daily news programs on Asia and to Asia – Daybreak Asia, VOA Global, and VOA Asia, as well as VOA’s weekly sports podcast, the Game Room. His enthusiasm for news and expertise on Asia news have earned him and VOA English to Asia many young fans in Asia. Stevenson holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Clemson University.

Expertise: Broadcast Journalism, Sports, Asia, East Asia, South Asia

Languages: English

Location: Washington, D.C.

Twitter: @VOAAsia

Tenzin Tethong

VOA Tibetan Service Chief

Tenzin Tethong has extensive knowledge of Tibetan politics and culture, in addition to his background in journalism, public advocacy, government service, and academia. He was the co-founder and editor of “Sheja,” an educational magazine started in 1968. He went on to edit the “Tibetan Review,” a monthly magazine on news and views on Tibet, as well as many other publications. For more than two decades he was the Representative of H.H. the Dalai Lama in the U.S. and started key Tibetan initiatives, such as the International Campaign for Tibet, Tibet Fund, U.S. Tibet Committee, and Potala Publications. He visited Tibet in 1980 as head of a delegation representing the Dalai Lama and the exile government, during a brief period of rapprochement between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government. From 1996 to 2011 he lectured at Stanford University as Distinguished Fellow, Tibetan Studies Initiative, followed by a stint as Director of the Tibetan Service at Radio Free Asia.

Expertise: Tibetan History and politics, community organizations and government

Languages: Tibetan, English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: N/A

Phaysarn Vorachak

Lao Service Chief

Phaysarn Vorachak joined the Voice of America in 1991 as a studio announcer, field reporter and editor, working on several important stories in Laos. In 2000 he joined VOA’s sister network, Radio Free Asia, where he stayed until 2007. As an RFA reporter, he was stationed in Thailand at least five times and traveled extensively to the Thai-Lao border towns to cover regional issues. He has covered numerous Lao-Thai local and regional meetings including the APEC summit in 2003 and he was the first RFA reporter to step foot into Laos. Upon his return to VOA and prior to his current position as chief of the Lao service, Vorachak was in charge of Lao diaspora programming, as well as the service’s website and Facebook page. Vorachak has attended Villanova University.

Expertise: Laos, Lao-Thai border trade

Languages: English, Lao

Location: Washington, DC

Tseten Wangchuk

Senior Editor, Tibetan Service

Tseten Wangchuk was born in Lhasa, Tibet. He was a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) in Beijing before coming to the U.S. to pursue graduate studies at Columbia University. One of the earliest commentators on Sino-Tibetan affairs from inside Tibet, Wangchuk has published on issues ranging from economic reforms in the Tibetan region to the future prospects for Sino-Tibetan dialogue. Recognized as a leading Tibetan expert of Chinese politics and institutional processes, Wangchuk has been a strategic analyst in policy research projects at international think-tanks and universities in both the U.S. and Asia. He holds a Master of Arts in public policy and international affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University and has been senior editor of Voice of America’s Tibetan service for over two decades.

Expertise: Sino-Tibet dispute, Tibet politics, economy and Social issues

Languages: Tibetan, English, Chinese

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOA_Tibet_News

Raymond Yam

Supervisory International Broadcaster, Cantonese Service

Raymond Yam is an editor and radio host for VOA’s Cantonese service since 1999. He’s also the host, editor and producer of the service’s TV program “American Report” since its debut in 2004. He also covers breaking news in the U.S. and Hong Kong through voacantonese.com and Facebook Live and he is a frequent guest of VOA affiliates in Hong Kong covering major political developments. In 2015, Yam was a recipient of BBG’s Gold Medal Award in recognition of exemplary contributions to the agency’s mission. In addition to his journalistic work, Yam has been a senior disaster volunteer at the American Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT) of the National Capitol Region for ten years. He holds a Graduate Certificate in China studies from The George Washington University and a Master of Science in finance and a Master in Business Administration from Temple University in Philadelphia.

Expertise: China, Hong Kong, Chinese Economy, Religious (Catholic issues), Disaster Relief

Languages: English, Cantonese, Mandarin

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @voacantonese

Huchen Zhang

Senior Editor, Mandarin Service

Huchen Zhang is a Senior Editor with VOA’s Mandarin Service. He joined the Voice of America in 1991 and in September 1994, he became VOA Mandarin’s first anchor of the TV program, ”Issues and Opinions.” In addition, he has worked as a radio/TV host, Mandarin Service’s congressional correspondent, assignments editor and TV team leader. He holds master’s degrees from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (1984) and American University (1991).

Expertise: Chinese Politics, Economy and Social Issues

Languages: English, Chinese

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAChinese

Eurasia Division

Dzeilana Pecanin Allison

Bosnian Service Chief & TV Anchor,"Studio Washington"

Dzeilana Pecanin Allison was born and raised in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. From 1990 to 1992, during the war in Croatia, she worked as a translator and guide for foreign journalists. In 1992, she joined the Sarajevo daily Oslobodjenje (Liberation), covering foreign affairs and the United Nations mission in Bosnia. Pecanin Allison covered events in the besieged capital and traveled throughout war-torn Bosnia. She was one of the most prominent journalists in Bosnia during the war, talking to people from all walks of life: from famous French philosopher Henry Bernard Levy, to cult American writer and human rights activist Susan Sontag, to former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros Gali, to notorious accused war criminal, Serb general Ratko Mladic. In January 1995, Pecanin Allison came to the United States, and shortly after, was appointed chief of the VOA Bosnian language service programs. Since 1997, she has been one of the main anchors of the widely popular TV show, Studio Washington. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arabic and English from the University of Sarajevo.

Expertise: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Balkans, South East Europe

Languages: English, Bosnian, Croatian

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOABosnian

Anush Avetisyan

Producer and Reporter, VOA Russian Service

Anush Avetisyan has been working as a producer and reporter for the VOA Russian service since 2012. She was a member of the team that launched Current Time in 2014, line producing the Washington D.C. portion of the daily show co-produced with RFE/RL in Prague. Avetisyan provides in-depth coverage on social issues making them relevant for the Russian-speaking audience. Her primary beat is women’s rights, racial issues and religion. She has interviewed numerous high-ranking female politicians, well-known advocates and experts for social justice. Avetisyan’s coverage of the 2017 Women’s March and Women’s Convention included interviews with Rose McGowan and other leaders of the #MeToo movement. She also covered the Flint water crisis through a mothers’ perspective and provided in-depth coverage of the Charlottesville violence. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the North-Caucasus Federal University and is currently enrolled at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies where she takes classes on U.S. Constitutional Law and International System, women’s rights and security issues.

Expertise: Women's issues, feminism, religious freedom, racial and gender equality

Languages: English, Russian, Armenian

Location: Washington, DC

Jane Bojadzievski

International Broadcaster, Macedonian Service

Jane Bojadzievski is a host, reporter and producer in Voice of America’s Macedonian Service. In this capacity, he covers major political stories, Macedonia and Balkan region-related congressional legislation and reports live from major events, such as summits, conventions, and hearings. Prior to joining VOA, he worked in the highest-rated Macedonia media, both print and television. In addition, between 2000 and 2003, Bojadzievski worked for Deutsche Welle as an editor, where he wrote articles about internal German political affairs, EU enlargement and world news topics. He also moderated the radio program “Retrospective of the Week.” Bojadzievski holds a bachelor’s degree in inter-disciplinary studies of Journalism from Faculty of Law at St. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, Macedonia.

Expertise: Macedonia, Balkans, European Affairs

Languages: English, Macedonian, Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAMacedonian

Vivian Chakarian

Program Manager, Eurasia Division

Vivian Chakarian serves as Program Manager for VOA’s Eurasia Division. She advises the Eurasia Division director on programming and managerial issues affecting the Division’s eight language services – Russian, Ukrainian, Albanian, Armenian, Bosnian, Georgian, Macedonian and Serbian – with a focus on expanding and developing opportunities for audience engagement through television and digital media platforms. Chakarian joined VOA in 1993 as a writer in the Learning English branch. From 1997 to 2012, she worked in VOA’s News Center initially as copy editor and later as head of the Eurasia Desk. In 2017, Chakarian was selected as a Nathanson Scholar to represent VOA at the Socrates Program in Aspen, Colorado, and in 2019, she was accepted as an International Fellow at the Abshire-Imori Leadership Academy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Prior to VOA, Chakarian held research positions at The Brookings Institution and at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She holds a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and French from Mount Holyoke College.

Expertise: Russia, South Caucasus, Balkans

Languages: English, Armenian, French

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @zeriamerikes

Bratislav “Braca” Djordjevic

International Broadcaster, Serbian Service

Bratislav “Braca” Djordjevic is an editor, reporter, producer and host of VOA Serbian’s Open Studio and Weekend Studio TV shows. He joined the service in 2003. Prior to VOA, he worked for the highly regarded Serbian TV channel B92, and various print media, such as the newspapers “Blic” and “Dnevni telegraf”. For more than 20 years Djordjevic has covered domestic and international news in the U.S. and former Yugoslavia, as well as political, economic and social developments. He specializes in covering big political and sporting events, such as the United Nations General Assembly, the U.S. President’s State of the Union address, the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, U.S. Presidential Inaugurations, as well as European and World Basketball Championships, NBA All-Star Weekends, many international basketball games and various tennis tournaments, including the U.S. Open. Djordjevic attended the University of Belgrade’s School of Sports and Physical Education.

Expertise: Serbia, The Balkans, Sports

Languages: English, Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @Otvorenistudio

Ardita Dunellari

International Broadcaster, Albanian Service

Ardita Dunellari is a reporter and host in VOA’s Albanian service with more than twenty years of experience covering U.S. policies towards the Balkans. She has been following political developments and societal shifts in the United States for more than two decades, and she brings VOA viewers stories of the American experience by covering complex policies and unique institutions, social trends and cultural dynamics. She has interviewed prominent politicians, groundbreaking researchers, social scientists and trendsetting artists looking for stories of relevance for her audience — from politics and economics, migration and human rights, to education and health. Raised in communist Albania, where she also attended college, joining the protests for democracy with fellow students, Dunellari moved to the United States for her graduate studies in communications and international affairs. The United States, and the deep South where she first set foot, were a marvel to her from the first day of arrival. She enjoys discussing and covering unique elements of the American political system and society. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English studies and linguistics from Tirana University and a master’s in international policy and practice from George Washington University.

Expertise: Balkans, Societies in Transition, U.S. Foreign Policy

Languages: Albanian

Location: Washington, D.C.

Twitter: @zeriamerikes

Jela de Franceschi

Team Leader, Serbian Service

Jela de Franceschi’s television, radio, print and internet media experience spans more than 30 years. Her interviews with U.S. and international political figures and experts concentrate on military, political and economic developments in the Balkans and offer broad insights of dynamics and developments in the United States, Europe and NATO. Before joining VOA in 1998, she held top media posts in the former Yugoslavia and contributed expertise to Western media organizations, including CNN World Report, CBS Radio, BBC, Thames Television, HBO and Australian ABC TV. In 1991, the former U.S. Information Agency awarded de Franceschi a grant to produce two documentaries and a series of interviews with high-ranking U.S. officials broadcast on YUTEL, then the most viewed TV channel in the region. The two documentaries focused on U.S. policy toward war-torn Yugoslavia and on post-Soviet Russia. She also participated in international TV projects, including an HBO/Thames Television Emmy-nominated documentary about former UN General Secretary Kurt Waldheim’s career as an intelligence officer in World War II (1987) and the BBC’s documentary about Italian war crimes during the Second World War (1988), which received special citation at the International Venice Documentary Film Festival. De Franceschi attended the University of Belgrade School of Law in Yugoslavia.

Expertise: U.S. Foreign Policy, Transatlantic Relations, EU, NATO, Western Balkans

Languages: English, Serbian, Croatian

Location: Washington, D.C.

Twitter: @OtvoreniStudio

Myroslava Gongadze

Ukrainian Service Chief

Myroslava Gongadze is an award-winning journalist and the Chief of Voice of America’s Ukrainian service. In addition to her work at VOA, Gongadze often speaks as a subject matter expert in various forums discussing politics, democratization and media in Ukraine. A champion for democracy and independent media, she periodically contributes to National Public Radio (NPR) Her writing has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR and Journal of Democracy. A holder of a law degree from Lviv State University, Myroslava also has extensive experience in journalism and public relations. She has worked as a journalist, editor, producer and public relations officer in Ukraine and the U.S. for several political and media organizations, including RFE/RL, Internews, IRI and NDI. Gongadze has been awarded a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellowship to study the role of the media in Ukraine’s transition to democracy (2001) and a George Washington University Petrac foundation scholarship (2003). In 2014, she moderated a series of parliamentary election debates with Ukrainian National Ch1. For her outstanding contribution to the development of journalism, active civic stance and professional excellence, Gongadze received the Princess Olha Order, a Ukrainian civil decoration bestowed on women of outstanding personal merit. In 2015, she was ranked at number 53 on Focus Magazine’s list of 100 most influential Women in Ukraine. For the International Women’s Rights Day in 2018, the Ukrainian news and analysis magazine “New Time” included Myroslava among the 100 most successful women in Ukraine.

Expertise: Ukraine, Russia, Eastern Europe, Media, Press Freedom

Languages: English, Ukrainian, Russian

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @MGongadze

Aleksander Y. Grigoryev

International Broadcaster, Russian Service

Aleksander Y. Grigoryev is a writer and editor for VOA’s Russian service since 2009. Grigoryev immigrated to the U.S. from Russia in 2000 and a year later he become editor and then editor-in-chief of the Washington ProFile international agency. Prior to that he worked for a number of media outlets in Russia, including ‘Delovoy Peterburg’ and ‘Kommersant’ newspapers, FM-station Radio Roks, Regional TV etc. He is a graduate of St. Petersburg State University’s School of Journalism.

Expertise: Russia, Defense, Intelligence, Terrorism

Languages: English, Russian, German, Polish, Ukrainian

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @GolosAmeriki

Anna Kalandadze

Georgian Service Chief

Anna Kalandadze has been the chief of VOA Georgian since 2007, having started her VOA career in 2001. She entered the journalism field in 1998 in Georgia, and subsequently held communications positions in the public and private sectors, as well as international development agencies. Anna Kalandadze is a recipient of several professional awards, including the BBG Gold Medal Award — the highest honor in U.S. government broadcasting — for serving as a distinguished example of initiative, and excellence to the mission of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. During her tenure at VOA Georgian, she has been instrumental in implementing several flagship projects for television, radio and web platforms. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish languages from the Tbilisi State Institute of Foreign Languages and Cultures and a master’s in public policy from American University in Washington D.C.

Expertise: Georgia, Caucasus, Russia, US-Georgia relations, post-Soviet States, Transitional Democracies, Disinformation, Ethics and Journalism

Languages: English, Georgian

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @voage

Lilica Kitanovska

Macedonian Service Chief

Lilica Kitanovska joined the Voice of America in 1999 as one of the pioneers of the Macedonian Service, beginning as a contractor and serving in progressively more responsible positions as an international broadcaster, editor, lead anchor and since 2015 service chief. She has reported extensively on issues related to American culture, values and politics, focusing especially on topics Macedonians have little experience with, as well as corruption, human trafficking, conflict resolution and legal and judicial reforms in Macedonia and other Balkan countries. She has also covered numerous high-profile assignments, such as U.N., NATO and World Bank meetings and conducted exclusive interviews with high-ranking U.S. and Macedonian officials. Prior to coming to VOA, Kitanovska worked as a freelance journalist, establishing the first freelance post in the U.S. for Macedonian media. She is a graduate of the Saints Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje with a Bachelor of Arts in Law and International Studies.

Expertise: Macedonia, Balkans, Inter-Ethnic Relations, Corruption, Judiciary Reform, Refugee Crisis

Languages: English, Macedonian, Serbian

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAMacedonian

Tatiana Koprowicz

International Broadcaster, Ukrainian Service

Tatiana Koprowicz is a host, reporter and producer of VOA’s Ukrainian Service. In this capacity, Koprowicz covers major political stories, Ukraine and Russia-related topics and reports live from major events, such as summits, conventions, and hearings. Prior to joining VOA, she worked in the highest-rated Ukrainian media, both print and television, contributed to BBC and CNN, wrote and produced a made-for-TV documentary and published two non-fiction books. Koprowicz served as a Mass Media adviser to the OSCE Project Coordinator in Ukraine from 2005 to 2007, during which time she launched and oversaw multiply projects aimed at media development, improving freedom of speech and raising understanding between different regions of the country. Koprowicz holds a master’s degree in history from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv and a Master of Science from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism. She also writes a blog on being a working mother in the U.S.

Expertise: US-Ukraine Relations, Developments in Ukraine

Languages: English, Russian, Ukrainian

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @chastime

Keida Kostreci

International Broadcaster, Albanian Service

Keida Kostreci is a seasoned Albanian service reporter, senior editor and host who has covered a broad array of topics ranging from U.S. politics, international affairs, Balkan politics, justice reform in the region and radical extremism, to gender equality, immigration, culture and the arts. Kostreci has covered political conventions, inaugurations and hearings and has interviewed senior officials from the Balkans, including Presidents and Prime Ministers, as well as senior U.S. officials and experts. Coming of age in the early years of regime change in her native Albania, gave Kostreci a front row seat to the country’s political transformation from communism to democracy, to the human drama of fellow Albanians leaving the country in droves and to social unrest. Kostreci started her career as a newswoman for the only news agency at the time in Albania. She was later the first female editor in charge of politics in one of the most prominent dailies, shaping coverage at a time of political turmoil. She was also a regional editor during the Balkans conflicts in the late 1990s. She holds a bachelor’s degree in foreign languages from the University of Tirana (1996) and a master’s degree in international relations from American University (2010) in Washington, D.C. She was also an Abshire-Imori Leadership Academy International Fellow (2019) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Expertise: Albania, Kosovo, the Balkans, US Foreign Policy, International Affairs, Gender and Politics, Media

Languages: English, Albanian, Italian

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @zeriamerikes

Oleksiy Kuzmenko

International Broadcaster, Ukrainian Service

Oleksiy Kuzmenko’s big break at VOA came in early 2017 when he dug deeper into a widely distributed cyber report by CrowdStrike, an American cyber security company. The latter linked the DNC hacking, allegedly conducted by Russia in 2016, to a bizarre hacking event in Ukraine. Kuzmenko uncovered that CrowdStrike misinterpreted data and used dubious sources for its conclusions. While working for VOA Ukrainian, he has also contributed multiple in-depth articles to VOAnews.com on topics ranging from LGBT rights to coup-mongering nationalists in Ukraine, from Ukrainian women’s struggle for equality in the military, to Ukraine’s stalling reforms. Kuzmenko is a graduate of Ukraine’s Kyiv-Mohyla School of Journalism. He is also an avid runner and boxing enthusiast.

Expertise: Ukrainian far-right and nationalist groups; Cyber Security; Hate groups in Ukraine; LGBT human rights equality in Ukraine

Languages: English, Ukrainian, Russian, French, German

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @chastime

Ia Meurmishvili

International Broadcaster, Georgian Service & TV Host, "Washington Today," Reporter, Polygraph.info

Ia Meurmishvili is a journalist, editor, and the lead anchor for “Washington Today,” Voice of America’s Georgian-language weekly TV news magazine. In this capacity, she has presented American foreign policy, values and culture to audiences in her native Georgia since 2009 and has interviewed senior American and Georgian leaders, including U.S. Senators, cabinet members, and other senior administration officials. In addition to her work for the Georgian Service, Meurmishvili writes investigative, fact-checking stories for Polygraph.info, a joint VOA/RFE fact-checking publication responding to disinformation and misinformation around the world. She is an expert on European and South Caucasus energy security issues, South Caucasus regional conflicts, North Caucasus political, economic and security issues, and NATO enlargement. Prior to working for the Voice of America, Meurmishvili held a variety of positions in the private and non-profit sectors, including positions at the Eurasia Foundation, Finmeccanica, and the office of a U.S. member of Congress.

Expertise: Georgia, Russia, South Caucasus, North Caucasus, energy security

Languages: English, Georgian, Russian

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @voage

Inesa Mkhitaryan

Armenian Service Chief

Inesa Mkhitaryan was appointed chief of VOA’s Armenian Service in June 2016, having played a critical role in the Service’s success for a number of years. She joined VOA Armenian as a contractor in 2004, working as a reporter, editor, anchor and producer. As an accomplished broadcasting professional with experience in television, video and film, Mkhitaryan has been instrumental in helping the service transition from radio to TV. She was the host and producer of VOA Armenian’s flagship weekly View From America show. Mkhitaryan was born and raised in Yerevan, Armenia, where she worked as a print and freelance television reporter. She holds a Master of Arts in Communications, specializing in film and video production, from American University in Washington, D.C., and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Film and Theater in Yerevan, Armenia.

Expertise: US-Armenia, Russia-Armenia Relations, Political Developments in Armenia

Languages: English, Armenian, Russian

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAArmenian

Rafael Saakov

International Broadcaster, Russian Service, TV Anchor and Reporter

Rafael Saakov is an anchor of the VOA’s Sunday live talk show “Nedelya” (The Week) from Washington on the Current Time TV channel. As an anchor for VOA’s Russian-language television programming, Rafael Saakov regularly covers the U.S. Congress and is very active on social media. During his 15 years as an international broadcaster, he has reported from Moscow, London and now Washington, D.C. Saakov has covered local, parliamentary and presidential elections in Russia and Ukraine; the largest opposition rallies in Moscow in 2011 and 2012; and the main court trials of Russian opposition leaders and activists. Saakov has also covered major sporting events, including the Olympics in London, Sochi and most recently PyeongChang, South Korea, where he was VOA’s sole reporter covering the Winter Games. In 2014, The Guardian newspaper reported that Saakov is among the top news tweeters on the post-Soviet world. Prior to VOA, he was BBC’s Russian service multimedia correspondent based in Moscow, with regular assignments in London. Rafael Saakov holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Moscow State University’s Faculty of Journalism.

Expertise: Russia, Russian Politics, Russian Diaspora in the U.S., U.S. Politics, Social Media, Summer and Winter Olympics

Languages: English, Russian

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @GolosAmeriki

Yulia (Julia) Savchenko

International Broadcaster, Russian Service & Host, "Current Time. ITOGI"

Yulia (Julia) Savchenko is an award-winning international journalist and anchor currently working for the Russian service of the Voice of America in Washington, D.C., where she covers international relations, conducts high profile interviews and anchors the weekly TV show CURRENT TIME. ITOGI. Savchenko holds three Excellence Awards from the International Broadcasting Bureau, and has reported and anchored various TV and radio shows internationally. Prior to joining VOA, she worked for the BBC World Service in London, Moscow and Washington, as both a radio host and a reporter covering international and European politics. In 2004, Savchenko received a United Nations Development Fund Award. In 2005, she was awarded a Reagan-Fascell fellowship by the National Endowment for Democracy, where she conducted her research on participatory journalism in post-Soviet countries. In 2013 Savchenko was awarded a RIAS fellowship to conduct research on the Transatlantic cooperation in Germany. Savchenko started her journalistic career at the age of 17 in Central Asia. Serving there as a television anchor and journalist, Yulia achieved public recognition for her breakthrough talk show UNFILTERED in Kyrgyzstan, which featured perspectives and debates on issues of political and social interest in the region. A graduate of Stanford University’s Program for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, a graduate of the Fletcher Institute for the Advanced Study of Nonviolent Conflict at Tufts University, as well as a graduate of the OSCE Academy of the Austrian Study Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution, Savchenko is an expert on Russian, European and Central Asian affairs.

Expertise: Russia, Central Asia, South Caucus, Europe

Languages: English, Russian

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @YuliaVOA

Zoran Zic, Ph.D.

Serbian Service Chief

Dr. Zoran Zic, a former research assistant and research associate at the Institute of International Politics and Economy in Belgrade (1975-1986) and a former Deputy Director of the Center for Strategic Studies in Belgrade (1987-1988), came to the U.S. in 1989 as an academic, teaching political science and international relations at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, the University of Louisville, as well as Rockford College, in Rockford, Illinois. He joined VOA Serbian in 1998 as a journalist and editor of the service’s radio and TV programs. In February 2008, he was appointed Chief of VOA’s Serbian service. Dr. Zic holds a law degree (1974), a Master of Arts in law and international relations (1979) and a Ph.D. in political science (1984) from the University of Belgrade, Serbia.

Expertise: Serbian and Balkan politics, European security issues

Languages: Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, English, Spanish

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @Otvorenistudio

Irina Van Dusen

Chief, VOA Russian Service

A veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in mass media, Irina Van Dusen joined VOA’s Russian Service in 2004 as an international broadcaster. She subsequently served in progressively more responsible positions, and in 2011, was selected as service chief. Under her leadership, the service has developed new programming strategies and innovative multimedia products to meet the challenges of a changing geopolitical landscape and continually shifting audience attitudes, needs and consumer habits. She has been instrumental in creating an atmosphere of teamwork, responsibility and shared values that are paramount to the success of Russian-language programming at VOA. For her contributions to the advancement and accomplishment of the agency’s goals and mission, Van Dusen has been awarded VOA’s top commendation, the Gold Medal Award. She is a graduate of the Moscow State University School of Journalism and holds a master’s degree in Russian language and linguistics from the University of Maryland and an MBA from Johns Hopkins University.

Expertise: VOA Russian Service programming

Languages: Russian, English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @golosameriki

Oleksandr Yanevskyy

International Broadcaster, VOA Russian Service

Alex Yanevskyy is a reporter at VOA’s Russian service. He joined VOA in 2014 and has covered a broad array of topics ranging from U.S. foreign policy and Ukrainian-Russian relations, to human rights, cyber issues, and U.S. culture. Some of the major U.S. events he has covered for VOA include: the United Nations General Assembly and the special elections in Utah in 2017. Yanevskyy was one of two VOA journalists who covered the presidential elections in Russia in 2018. For his comprehensive coverage of the Russian presidential elections, he received an award from VOA. He has also interviewed senior Pentagon officials, members of Congress and think-tank policy analysts. Prior to VOA, Yanevskyy was working for the top ranked TV channel in Ukraine, 1+1, and on the main news channel, 5 Channel. He graduated with honors from Kyiv’s National University and holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism.

Expertise: U.S. Foreign Policy, Ukraine-Russia Relations, Foreign Affairs

Languages: English, Ukrainian, Russian

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @golosameriki

Latin America Division

Clara Dominguez

Division Director & VOA Director of Partnerships

As the Director of the Latin America Division, Clara Dominguez oversees broadcasts to Haiti and the Spanish-speaking countries of the Americas over radio, television and web. Concurrently, she serves as the Director of Partnerships for the Voice of America, a position created in January 2017. Previously, Dominguez was Managing Editor of VOA’s multi-platform News Center, where she led teams of journalists worldwide covering U.S. and international news. Dominguez began her career with VOA in 2010 as Managing Editor of the Latin America division and later Director of the division (2013). Prior to joining VOA, she served five years as News Director at the Office of Cuba Broadcasting in Miami, Florida. In the past few years she has been published on several topics including the evolving role of social media and the threats to freedom of the press in Latin America, as well as the Hispanic Vote in US elections. A native of Havana, Cuba, Dominguez has a master’s degree in international affairs from George Washington University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Miami’s School of Business.

Expertise: Latin America, Cuba, Social Media, US News

Languages: English, Spanish, French

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOANoticias

Gonzalo Abarca

International Broadcaster & Host, “Foro Interamericano”

Gonzalo Abarca is the anchor of “Foro Interamericano,” one of VOA’s most successful TV shows in the Western Hemisphere. Gonzalo is known for his international political expertise. A seasoned reporter with deep, well-rounded experience on U.S. and Latin America relations, he is also known for his in depth one-on-one interviews with dignitaries and personalities. Abarca began his career in Telemundo Network as reporter, editor and executive producer. He has also worked as language editor for the Discovery Channel, as senior editor for Univision.com and as a producer and reporter for the BBC World Service. Abarca holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Pace University of New York and has done some graduate studies on International Relations and International Law at Florida International University.

Expertise: Latin America, U.S. Foreign Policy to Latin America, Immigration, Latino Issues, Central America, International Security, Terrorism in the Americas

Languages: English, Spanish

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOANoticias

Ronald Cesar

Creole Service Chief

Ronald Cesar has been the Chief of VOA’s Creole Service since 2008. He joined the Voice of America in 1991 as a broadcaster and was later promoted to editor. Prior to coming to Washington to work for VOA Creole, Cesar worked as a stringer for the service in Haiti. He has been interviewed on several occasions by news organizations as an expert on the political situation in Haiti and the US-based Haitian diaspora. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from Strayer University, and a bachelor’s degree in management.

Expertise: Haiti

Languages: English, Creole

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAKreyol

Celia Mendoza

International Broadcaster, Spanish Service

A seasoned international multimedia journalist for Voice of America since 2013, Mendoza reports on the latest developments that impact Latin America. Based in New York City, Mendoza has more than 10 years of experience in television news. She is a three times Emmy-nominated journalist who started her career in Colombia while finishing her bachelor’s degree in communications and journalism at the University of Colombia, covering sports as a regular reporter for El Diario Deportivo. After moving to the United States, she worked for Telemundo and Univision in Colorado, where she reported and anchored the local news. In 2010 Mendoza relocated to New Jersey to work for News 12 New Jersey, working in Spanish and English. Since joining VOA, she has provided TV and radio affiliates in Latin America with live interactive on every major news story, from Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S., to the opening of the U.S embassy in Havana, the crisis of unaccompanied minors entering the U.S. illegally across the Texas border, and the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.

Expertise: Latin American issues, Colombia Peace Process, Cuba, Venezuela, Immigration, Human Trafficking, Deportations and their impact on families and businesses in the United States

Languages: English, Spanish

Location: New York, NY

Twitter: @VOANoticias

News Center

Yolanda Lopez

Director

A veteran journalist and producer, Yolanda Lopez oversees the editorial and content output of VOA’s News Center. She joined VOA in 2015 as Latin America Division Director. Under her leadership, the division experienced significant growth in audience by expanding media partnerships and affiliations. A native of Barcelona, Spain, she worked for the Spanish language television network Univision as news executive, producer, and executive producer. Prior to joining Univision, she was an on-air personality for the Telemundo television network. Lopez has also worked as a communications and digital media professional in Barcelona. Lopez is the recipient of three Emmy awards – two from the Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS), and one from the Los Angeles Chapter of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (ATAS). She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona.

Expertise: Latin America, US Foreign Policy to Latin America, Spain

Languages: English, Spanish

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOANews

Carla Babb

Pentagon Correspondent

Carla Babb is an award-winning reporter who joined VOA News in 2008. She currently serves as the Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Babb has interviewed senior defense leaders including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joe Dunford and US Army Europe commander General Ben Hodges. She has reported from all over the world, with datelines from Kabul to Baghdad, and has covered transformative events including the killing of Osama bin Laden by US forces in Pakistan and the decision to carry out US strikes against Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria. Prior to her current post, Babb was a general assignment reporter for VOA and frequently filled in at the White House and the State Department. She also anchored VOA’s flagship Learning English Television program, which teaches English to millions worldwide. Babb’s reporting and producing has won a Public Service Emmy and three student Emmys from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. In addition, she has earned national and regional awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Communications from North Carolina State University and a Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Expertise: Defense, International Security, President Trump Administration's Defense Transition

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC/ Pentagon

Twitter: @CarlaBabbVOA

Aline Barros

Immigration Correspondent

Aline Barros is an immigration correspondent for VOA’s News Center in Washington, D.C. Before joining VOA in 2016, Aline covered Pope Francis’ visit to the United States in 2015, Maryland state and county elections, immigration and local politics for the Gazette Newspapers and Channel 21 Montgomery Community Media in suburban Washington. She has been published by the Washington Post, G1 Portal Brazilian News, and Fox News Latino. Aline’s work was recognized by the Maryland, Delaware, D.C. Press Association where she won first place in the profile category. She was selected for the Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. At VOA, she covers American immigration policy as it relates to DREAMers, asylum cases, international deportations and the immigration courts. Originally from Brazil, Barros holds a broadcast journalism degree from the University of Maryland.

Expertise: Immigration, International News, Diaspora Communities

Languages: English, Portuguese, Spanish

Location: Washington, D.C.

Twitter: @AlineBarros2

Margaret Besheer

UN Correspondent

Margaret Besheer has been Voice of America’s United Nation’s correspondent since 2008, covering stories from headquarters in New York and in the field. She has also reported for VOA from Iraq (2006-07) and covered the Hezbollah-Israel 2006 war in Lebanon. Prior to joining VOA in 2002, Besheer spent a decade as a print journalist in Beirut, Lebanon, and Washington, D.C. She is co-author of Cultures of the World: Saudi Arabia (Times Publishing, 2003). She holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations and a master’s degree in journalism, both from American University in Washington, D.C.

Expertise: UN issues – Humanitarian, Political, Peacekeeping, Human Rights, International Justice (ICC), Proliferation (Iran, DPRK), Climate Change, Sustainable Development.

Languages: English

Location: New York, NY / United Nations Bureau

Twitter: @mbesheer

Nike Ching

State Department Correspondent

Nike Ching is VOA’s State Department correspondent. She has traveled with three Secretaries of State under Democratic and Republican administrations. As a veteran bilingual correspondent, she reports regularly in both English and Mandarin in multiple platforms, with an emphasis on geopolitics, international affairs, U.S. foreign policy, and human rights.

She has appeared on CNBC India, South Africa’s Open News, Nigeria’s Channels TV, and BBC.

Nike had served as an anchor for VOA Mandarin’s TV program. She covered Capitol Hill and was a senior global affairs correspondent for VOA Mandarin.

Prior to VOA, she was the Washington Bureau Chief for Broadcasting Corporation of China (BCC,) the largest radio network in Taiwan, and Taiwan’s Global Television. She graduated Summa cum laude from Taiwan’s National Chengchi University with a bachelor’s degree in Diplomacy. She also earned a master’s degree from the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at the Johns Hopkins University.

Expertise: U.S.-East Asia and the Pacific Foreign Policy, North Korea Nuclear Proliferation issues, Maritime Security in the South China Sea, U.S.- China and Taiwan Relations

Languages: English, Mandarin

Location: Washington, DC / U.S. State Department

Twitter: @VOANews

Mariama Diallo

Senior Correspondent, Foreign Desk

Mariama Diallo is a senior reporter covering national and world affairs for Voice of America in multiple languages. Until recently, she was the acting bureau chief of VOA’s West Africa office. Diallo hosts a daily news roundup VOA60 Africa and is also a regular, long-time contributor to many other VOA television programs including English to Africa’s flagship program, Straight Talk Africa. She began her journalism career at the Radio and TV of Senegal where she studied at the School of Economics at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar. She later graduated from American University in Washington, DC with a degree in broadcast journalism and computer science.

Expertise: General News, Foreign Affairs, US Africa Policy, Sub-Sahara Africa

Languages: English, French, Wolof, Fulani

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOANews

Kane Farabaugh

Midwest Correspondent

Kane Farabaugh is the Midwest Correspondent for Voice of America. He is an Emmy award-winning documentary producer and director, an experienced television and radio news reporter, writer, digital content provider, and a proficient “one-man band” video-journalist. He has reported from the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and has traveled to more than 50 countries covering a wide range of news events from unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, to global warming in the Arctic, to Muslim extremism in Pakistan. He is also a seasoned sports reporter, and has covered many major events including the World Series, Super Bowl, and Olympics. He has interviewed world leaders including Polish President Lech Walesa and former U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush. Farabaugh is a recipient of a National Headliner Award, several RTDNA Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, several Associated Press Awards including Best Enterprise Reporter and Outstanding One Man Band video-journalist and the New York Festivals Award.

Expertise: Presidential History, Politics, Immigration, Sports, General News

Languages: English

Location: Chicago, IL

Twitter: @VOANews

Masood Farivar

Justice Correspondent

Masood Farivar is the Justice Correspondent for Voice of America. As of early 2017, he covers the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, law enforcement and legal issues. Farivar joined VOA in 2013 as the Chief of the Afghanistan service. Under his leadership, the service launched a number of content and programming initiatives that drove VOA’s audience growth in Afghanistan. Before joining VOA, Farivar worked as a journalist in his native Afghanistan where he led the country’s largest network of independent radio stations. Prior to that, he was a New York-based journalist. A graduate of Harvard College, Farivar spent the 2011-2012 academic year as a Knight Fellow in Journalism at Stanford University. He is the author of a memoir and a contributor to 110 Stories: New York Writes after September 11.

Expertise: Afghanistan, criminal justice, legal affairs, FBI

Languages: English, Dari, Pashto

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOANews

John Featherly

Managing Editor

John Featherly is the Managing Editor of VOA’s News Center. He is responsible for the day-to-day oversight and operations focusing on breaking news, the planning and enterprise coverage for all platforms. Featherly also works to ensure content is appropriately produced and available for digital platforms and broadcasts as VOA expands TV and radio audiences in critical regions and increases digital engagement. Previously, since July 2015, Featherly served as the Real Times News Desk Managing Editor. In that capacity, he oversaw English online platforms, as well as content for VOA language services. He also focused on the implementation of the digital first strategy and the transition to multimedia digital reporting. He has held several positions since his arrival to the Voice of America 14 years ago, including Senior Digital Producer and Senior Editor. Featherly is a graduate of the State University of New York at New Paltz, where he majored in English and visual arts.

Expertise: General News, International News, Digital Media/ Social Media, Managing across cultures and divisions, Digital and multimedia story telling

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOANews

William Gallo

Seoul Bureau Chief

William Gallo is the VOA Seoul bureau chief and regional correspondent. He covers South Korea’s response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the North Korea nuclear diplomacy, and U.S.-South Korea relations. Prior to coming to Seoul, Gallo covered U.S. foreign policy and international affairs for the Voice of America at the White House, Pentagon, and State Department. He has also traveled throughout South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East as part of the Pentagon press corps. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the Moody Bible Institute.

Expertise: U.S.-South Korea relations, U.S. policy in Northeast Asia, North Korea diplomacy, North Korea nuclear program

Languages: English

Location: Seoul, South Korea

Twitter: @GalloVOA

Katherine Gypson

U.S House of Representatives Correspondent

As the US House of Representative Correspondent, Katherine Gypson reports on the latest developments from Capitol Hill for the Voice of America’s News Center. During the 2016 presidential election, she also covered all major campaign events with a focus on Trump voters nationwide. Prior to joining VOA in 2013, Gypson produced documentary and public affairs programming in Afghanistan, Tunisia and Turkey. She also produced and co-wrote a 12-episode road-trip series for Pakistani television exploring the United States during the 2012 presidential election. Her work mainly focused on US foreign policy towards the Middle East and South Asia – including newly open media environments, internet freedom issues, democratic movements and foreign aid projects in Afghanistan. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from American University and a bachelor’s degree in history and writing from Marlboro College.

Expertise: Congress, US Politics, Afghanistan.

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOANews

Steve Herman

White House Bureau Chief

Steven L. Herman is the White House Bureau Chief for the Voice of America. During the Trump administration, he has been a regular participant in the White House media pooling system, questioning the president in the Oval Office, on Air Force One, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room and at overseas news conferences. Herman has traveled with the president to more than a dozen states and 16 countries. ​The veteran journalist spent more than a quarter of a century in Asia, including years of reporting from Tokyo and subsequently as a VOA correspondent and bureau chief in India, South Korea and Thailand. In 2016, he also served as VOA’s Senior Diplomatic Correspondent, based at the State Department. Herman appears frequently on such networks and channels as ABC News 24 (Australia), ABC World News Weekend, ABS-CBN News (Philippines), Arirang TV, the BBC, CBC Radio, the CBS Evening News, Channels TV (Nigeria), CNN, Euronews, eNCA (South Africa), Fox News, John Batchelor Show (WABC New York), KBS Radio (Korea), KNPR (Nevada Public Radio), Radio New Zealand, RTHK Radio 3, Thai PBS World, TRT World (Turkey) and numerous TV news networks in India. His articles, columns and reviews have been published in numerous newspapers and magazines including the Far Eastern Economic Review, Harvard Summer Review, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Japan Quarterly, Japan Times, Popular Communications, Proceedings (U.S. Naval Institute), Radio World, Shukan Bunshun, Shukan Gendai, South China Morning Post and the Wall Street Journal. Herman is a life member of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, of which he was elected president for the 1997-98 term. He also served as president of the Seoul Foreign Correspondents’ Club and the Japan-America Club of The American University. He was previously on the board of governors of the Overseas Press Club of America.

Expertise: White House, U.S. Foreign Policy, Asia, Korea, Japan

Languages: English, Japanese

Location: Washington, D.C.

Twitter: @W7VOA

Jessica Jerreat

Press Freedom Editor

Jessica Jerreat, VOA’s Press Freedom Editor, has worked at the intersection of press freedom and international news for organizations including the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists and The Times of London. Prior to joining VOA in March 2020, Jerreat was senior editor at CPJ, where she edited in depth reports into global censorship and attacks on the press. She previously edited news for the broadsheet press in the U.K. including for the foreign desk of The Times and at the Daily Telegraph. Jerreat has a master’s in War, Media, and Society from the University of Kent at Canterbury, with a focus on propaganda, the press and conflict in the Korean war.

Expertise: Press Freedom

Languages: English

Location: Washington, D.C.

Twitter: @jessicajerreat

David Jones

Deputy Managing Editor

During a 40-year journalism career, David Jones has reported from more than 30 countries on five continents. He began his career with United Press International in his native Toronto and later worked as a reporter and editor for UPI in Washington and Hong Kong; as a bureau chief in Manila and Nairobi; and as editor for Europe, Africa and the Middle East based in London. From 1989 to 2009 he worked at The Washington Times, first as foreign editor and later as managing editor, traveling widely and routinely speaking in Washington with visiting presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers. He joined VOA as East Asia regional editor in 2010 and was promoted to deputy managing editor of the VOA News Center in 2012. He is broadly knowledgeable about U.S. foreign policy and international affairs. Jones holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia University, class of 1971.

Expertise: International affairs

Languages: English

Location: News Center

Twitter: @VOANews

Amy Katz

Senior TV Executive Producer

Amy Katz is the Senior Executive Producer for TV in the News Center. She began her VOA career 20 years ago as a TV reporter for the News Center. Prior to VOA, Katz worked for ABC News in New York on the “World News Tonight with Peter Jennings” show and later relocated to the network’s Washington bureau to work on “This Week with David Brinkley.” Throughout her career she has covered major world events, has coordinated numerous special projects and traveled the U.S. and the world as Peter Jennings’ field producer. She also contributed to the launch of the Fox News Channel in New York and served as a Senior Producer for Discovery Health Channel’s “Birthday Live” annual programs. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

Expertise: General News, Media, New Media, TV News Coverage, Fashion, Arts

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOANews

Elizabeth Lee

Multimedia Correspondent, Los Angeles

Elizabeth Lee is a multimedia correspondent for Voice of America based in Los Angeles. She shoots, writes, edits and reports primarily on technology and the diaspora communities from Asia. Throughout her television career spanning more than 20 years, she has covered breaking news, especially natural disasters, such as floods in the Midwest and the aftermath of hurricanes along the Gulf Coast. Prior to VOA, Lee worked in local news with NBC and CW affiliates, where she covered the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster from Houston, the immigrant situation from the Texas-Mexico border and Cross-Straits relations from Taiwan. Lee is an FAA-certified drone pilot. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and English from Wellesley College.

Expertise: Diaspora Communities, Technology and Trends, Natural Disasters

Languages: English

Location: Los Angeles

Twitter: @VOANews

Natalie Liu

Diplomatic Correspondent

Natalie Liu is an award-winning journalist. Her feature story on legendary Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky was awarded First Place in Multimedia/Online Journalism at the 2017 Chesapeake Associated Press (AP) Broadcasters Association contest. Liu joined VOA in 2002 upon graduation from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service (MSFS). In addition to Georgetown, she has studied history, government and literature at The University of Pennsylvania, Harvard and Peking University. Prior to VOA, she covered international news for The Washington Times and CBS News. She writes and publishes in both English and Chinese, with an emphasis on foreign policy, geopolitics and human rights. Outside of work, her interests include classical music, calligraphy, and comparative intellectual history.

Expertise: Confucianism, Communism, Chinese strategic thinking, geopolitics, public diplomacy

Languages: English, Mandarin

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOANews

Heather Murdock

Middle East Correspondent

Currently based in Istanbul, Heather Murdock covers the Middle East and North Africa for Voice of America. She has worked in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Nigeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Territories, D.R. Congo, Rwanda, Ethiopia and in countries across Europe during the European refugee crisis and the Iran nuclear deal. She has also worked with the Associated Press, The Christian Science Monitor, Bloomberg News, The Washington Times, Time.com, CBS Evening News, CNN, PRI The World, The New Statesman, GlobalPost, Radio France International, The Daily Beast and others. She is the author of the memoir “Everything is Possible in Yemen: The misadventures of a first time journalist in the Middle East” and an Associated Press Managing Editors “International Perspective” award recipient for stories from Yemen for The Washington Times. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and journalism from the University of Connecticut.

Expertise: Middle East politics and society, refugee crises and other human rights disasters, Islamic State and other militant groups.

Languages: English, Arabic

Location: Istanbul, Turkey

Twitter: @VOANews

Mike O’Sullivan, Ph.D.

Los Angeles Bureau Chief & Correspondent

Mike O’Sullivan serves as Los Angeles bureau chief and correspondent for the Voice of America. He shoots, writes and edits stories on politics, immigration, science, entertainment and other topics, and has covered breaking news and features in the Western United States since the early 1980s. He has won awards from the Los Angeles Press Club for political and entertainment reporting, and twice won the Religion Newswriters Association first prize for best network news report on religion. O’Sullivan holds a Ph.D. in Religion and Social Ethics from the University of Southern California, and has worked for community newspapers and in public radio. He has also taught at several universities in California and Japan.

Expertise: West Coast US Culture and Politics, American Religion

Languages: English

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Twitter: @VOANews

Aru Pande

National Security/Foreign Policy/Defense Editor

As National Security/Foreign Policy/Defense editor, Aru Pande heads a team of correspondents focused on the U.S. role overseas. Pande served as VOA’s White House correspondent from 2014 to 2016, traveling with the WH press corps to Kenya, Ethiopia, India and Paris. She covered the landmark U.N. climate change agreement, the Iran nuclear deal and the fight against the Islamic State militant group in Syria. Pande also covered the 2016 U.S. presidential primaries, traveling across the country to talk to American voters about the issues that matter most to them. Prior to the White House, she served as South Asia bureau chief from 2013 to 2014, based in New Delhi. Pande began her career at VOA in 2007 as a writer and then regional editor on the South Asia desk, covering among other issues, the U.S. war in Afghanistan, counterterrorism, and political unrest in Pakistan. Prior to VOA, she spent nearly a decade as a local reporter and anchor at WJLA/Newschannel 8 in Washington D.C., WTAJ-TV in Pennsylvania, WBOY-TV in West Virginia and KDUH-TV in Nebraska. Pande holds a Master of Arts in Broadcast Journalism from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Expertise: South Asia, White House, US foreign policy

Languages: English, Hindi

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @aru_pande

Penelope Poulou

Senior International Broadcaster & Film Critic

Penelope Poulou was born in Greece and came to the US in 1986 to pursue a Ph.D. in History at Kent State University. While completing her studies there, Poulou discovered the significance of popular culture in history and focused her research on the subject matter. In 1989, while teaching at the University of Akron, she incorporated the study of movies into her classes to help her students understand more viscerally the cultures and political environments they were studying. In 1993, Poulou was offered a full time position as a reporter and radio broadcaster at the Greek Service of the Voice of America in Washington DC. There, she covered politics, science and culture. In 2000 she accepted a position as a radio broadcaster and reporter at the English Features unit of the Voice of America. In 2003 she worked with a select group on the daily radio show “Main Street” covering topics about American life, culture, society and politics. At that time she developed a segment on film and entertainment interviewing filmmakers and actors on a number of topics about the film industry. In 2005 she trained extensively in video editing and TV Production and started her own TV coverage on film and popular culture. Since then, she has interviewed countless of celebrities, award winning actors, movie producers and filmmakers. Her work features regularly on VOA’s international broadcasts, on VOA’s website and other online sites. Poulou holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the American College of Greece and a Master of Arts in History of the Balkans from the University of London.

Expertise: Domestic & International Films

Languages: English, Greek

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOANews

Anita Powell

Southern Africa Correspondent

Anita Powell is Voice of America’s southern Africa correspondent based in Johannesburg, South Africa, covering 15 African countries. Before officially joining VOA, Powell worked as a freelance journalist for the news agency, as well as other news outlets such as the Associated Press, The New York Times, Al Jazeera and The Root, covering numerous topics and events on the African continent, including the death of Nelson Mandela. Powell also enjoys writing about fashion and women’s issues. Several of her articles have been published by Elle and Marie Claire magazines. She has covered extensively the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and several other global hot spots and has reported from Pakistan, Ethiopia, Congo, Ukraine, South Africa, Zimbabwe and a number of other countries. Powell began her career in journalism as a reporter for the Austin American-Statesman daily newspaper in Texas. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin’s Plan II Honors Program.

Expertise: Southern Africa, African Politics, African Conflicts, Pan-African Trends, African Culture, African Fashion, African Media

Languages: English

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

Twitter: @VOANews / @VOAAfrica

Carolyn Presutti

Senior Correspondent, Coverage Desk

Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy-award winning television correspondent who works in VOA’s Washington headquarters. Her specialty is enterprise reporting, speaking to people outside the D.C. beltway about current events or politics. In 2019 Presutti revealed the inner workings of Congress in “Climbing the Hill,” as she followed a male Republican and a female Democratic U.S. Representative through their first year. In 2018, Presutti aired an emotional expose of underage marriages in the United States as part of an agency wide project entitled “Worth of a Girl.” That same year, she published an in-depth series on sex trafficking, featuring a victim and her mother, a law enforcement sting, and the latest treatment and prevention. In late 2017, Presutti aired a series on Women Running for Office, in which she profiled political neophytes. She was chosen as a 2016 Nathanson Scholar at the Aspen Institute in Colorado, where her concentration was Artificial Intelligence. In 2015, Presutti graduated from the U.S. government’s 9-month Executive Leadership Program. She is a past president of the Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association. Her awards include a Silver World Medal, the AP Broadcaster’s Best of Show, and a Clarion. Prior to VOA, Presutti worked at CNN, AARP and as the D.C. Correspondent for Belo’s 23 TV stations. Her first job in Washington was as the morning anchor at WUSA-TV (CBS). Presutti holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Media Communications and a minor in Ballet Performance from The University of Akron in Ohio.

Expertise: General News, International News,

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @CarolynVOA

Michelle Quinn

Silicon Valley Bureau Chief

Michelle Quinn serves as Voice of America’s Silicon Valley Bureau Chief. Prior to joining VOA, Quinn was the business columnist for the Bay Area News Group, the largest publisher of daily and weekly newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including its flagship, San Jose Mercury News. Prior to that, she was the Silicon Valley correspondent at Politico covering tech policy and politics. She has also covered the tech industry for the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. In 2002, she was selected for the Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellowship program at the University of Michigan, an award given to mid-career journalists with at least five years of full-time, professional experience in the news media. Quinn holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Delaware and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkley.

Expertise: Business, Trade, Tech Industry

Languages: English

Location: San Francisco, CA

Twitter: @michellequinn

Steve Redisch

Managing Editor

As a managing editor for Voice of America’s News Center, Steve Redisch works with reporters and editors to produce television reports for VOA TV programs and digital platforms. Previously, he served as VOA’s Executive Editor, responsible for VOA’s news, programming, broadcast operations, and internet departments. Redisch came to VOA in January 2008 after a 20-year career at CNN, serving as the network’s Washington deputy bureau chief and executive editor. He is the recipient of two Emmy Awards and led the team honored with a Best Newscast National Headliner Award for “The World Today,” CNN’s flagship primetime news show. Redisch began his broadcasting career in 1979 at WTOP all-news radio in Washington, D.C. after attending American University.

Expertise: General News, International News, Broadcast Journalism

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOANews

Cindy Saine

US State Department Correspondent

As the State Department Correspondent, Cindy Saine covers U.S. foreign policy and international affairs for the Voice of America. Previously, she served as Congressional Correspondent for seven years and thereafter joined the White House Press Corps in April of 2016. Saine began her career with the Voice of America in 2001, as an Editor in the News Center. Prior to joining VOA, she worked as a parliamentary correspondent and newscaster for Deutsche Welle, Germany’s public international broadcaster based in Bonn and Berlin. Saine holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and spanish from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, she studied abroad at the Universidad de Sevilla in Spain. In addition, she earned the Goethe Institute’s German Language Diploma in German language, culture and literature from the Ludwig Maximilian Universitaet in Munich.

Expertise: U.S. Foreign Policy, Human Rights issues, U.S. Race Relations, Immigration, US-Europe ties, U.S-Russia relationship, President Barack Obama's legacy, Workings of the White House and the U.S. Congress, White House and Capital Hill relations.

Languages: English, German, Spanish

Location: Washington, DC/ US State Department

Twitter: @cindysaine

Daniel Schearf

Africa Coverage Editor and Nairobi Bureau Chief

Daniel Schearf is VOA’s Africa Coverage Editor and Nairobi Bureau Chief. He coordinates the VOA News Center’s Africa stringers and correspondents. Previously, he was VOA’s correspondent in Moscow where he covered developments in Russia and the former Soviet space. Prior to that he was VOA’s Northeast Asia correspondent, reporting on the Korean peninsula, VOA’s Southeast Asia correspondent, reporting from Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines and VOA’s China super-stringer. Reporting highlights include coverage of the 2008 Szechuan earthquake and the Beijing Olympics; the 2010-2011 Thai military clashes; the opening up of Burma/Myanmar and the transition towards democracy; the sinking of the South Korean ferry; Russian military’s seizing of Crimea in 2014; Ukraine’s ongoing military conflict with Russian-backed separatists; the assassination of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in 2015; Russia’s rising nationalism and struggling economy; the migrant/refugee crisis in Europe, and Russia/NATO tensions. Schearf holds a Bachelor of Arts in broadcast journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Master of Arts in journalism from the University of Westminster in London, United Kingdom.

Expertise: Russia, Europe, NATO, East Asia

Languages: Russian, Mandarin, Spanish

Location: Nairobi, Kenya

Twitter: @DanielSSchearf

Jeff Seldin

National Security Correspondent

National Security Correspondent Jeff Seldin covers what is happening, why it is happening and how that influences what may happen next. Seldin has reported extensively on the spread of terror groups like Islamic State and al Qaeda, as well as on Russia’s efforts to make itself an indispensable player on the world stage, Iran’s ventures across the Middle East, and North Korea. Before becoming national security correspondent, Seldin covered the Pentagon and U.S. military affairs for VOA. Prior to VOA, he worked at all-news radio WTOP, at Federal News Radio in Washington, D.C., and as a stringer for CBS Radio, covering government and a variety of business and consumer issues. He has also worked in television and radio news in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Wilmington, Delaware. His travels have taken him across much of Europe and parts of North Africa and the Middle East, where he reported on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and worked on an archaeological dig. He holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Syracuse University.

Expertise: national security, terrorism, counterterrorism, homeland security, intelligence/espionage, violent extremism, cyberwarfare, cybersecurity, NATO

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @jseldin

Kathleen Struck

Digital Managing Editor & Education Editor

Kathleen Struck serves as Digital Managing Editor and Education Editor of Voice of America’s Student Union, an online community helping international students navigate the university experience in the U.S. Student Union focuses on the global youth audience. Kathleen has worked as staff and freelance in print, photo, broadcast and digital media, including the Baltimore Sun, Washington Post, Stars and Stripes, Newsday, Globe and Mail, Everyday Health, and other major news outlets. She has a long history in management, and loves working with interns and new journalists. She lived and worked for nearly 15 years in Jerusalem, Cairo, Tokyo and Toronto as a reporter and editor, traveling throughout Europe, Asia, the Mideast, Australia and North America. She also has deep experience in local news. Kathleen is a graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism. In 2003-2004, she attended mostly military, defense and leadership courses at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University as an affiliate in the Nieman Fellowship program.

Expertise: Education, Study Abroad, Health, Foreign Affairs, Defense, Digital news/journalism

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @voastudentu

Ayesha Tanzeem

Afghanistan & Pakistan Bureau Chief

Ayesha Tanzeem serves as the Chief of Voice of America’s Afghanistan and Pakistan bureau based in the city of Islamabad, Pakistan. She is one of a few foreign correspondents that has traveled to areas under the control and influence of the Islamic State militant group while it was at the peak of its power in eastern Afghanistan in 2015. Her reporting that brought to light tales of harrowing cruelty and suffering, earned her the David Burke award for Courage in Journalism. She has also been the host of “On the Line” and “Access Point with Ayesha Tanzeem,” two VOA current affairs TV shows. Tanzeem has lived and worked in three continents — Asia, Europe, and North America — working for various media outlets including the BBC. She has covered subjects as widespread as U.S. presidential elections, terrorism, and conflicts in the Middle East, the Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S., the Syrian refugee/migrant crisis in Europe, and the efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan. In her current position, she covers issues related to politics, governance, militancy, terrorism, and human rights, particularly women and minority rights in Afghanistan and Pakistan. She frequently travels to conflict zones in both countries to capture first hand accounts of life under the shadow of violence. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Georgia State University.

Expertise: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Human Rights, US-Pakistan relations, Afghanitan-Pakistan relations, India-Pakistan relations, US-Afghanistan relations, Pakistan-China relations, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Syrian migrants to Europe, Afghan migrants to Europe

Languages: English, Urdu, Punjabi, Hindi

Location: Islamabad, Pakistan

Twitter: @VOANews

Fatima Tlis

Investigative Reporter, Polygraph.info

Tlis is the investigative reporter for VOA on Polygraph.info, a globally aware and nonpartisan website responding to disinformation and misinformation around the world. She has written extensively on extremism and terrorism and has covered the Boston Marathon bombing. Prior to VOA, she was Editor in Chief of the Regnum News Agency, worked as a special correspondent for Novaya Gazeta, and reported for the Associated Press. In 2007, 2009, and 2012 she testified before the United States Congress on human rights and freedom of expression in Russia. In 2015, she was among three journalists invited to the White House by former President Barack Obama on World Press Freedom Day, in recognition of their contributions to freedom of the press globally. Tlis was a fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (2007-2008) and a Nieman Journalism Fellow at Harvard University for the 2008-2009 academic year. She has won international awards including the Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University; the German Zeit-Stiftun Award; the British Rory Peck Freelancer’s Choice Award; the Human Rights Watch award; the Amnesty International Media Award. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Russian language and literature from Stavropol University, Russia.

Expertise: Extremism, Terrorism, ISIS/ISIL, Foreign Affairs, Russia, Caucasus, Central Asia, the Balkans.

Languages: English, Russian, Circassian

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @fatimatlis @PolygraphInfo

Subhash Vohra

Writer Editor (Internet)

Subhash Vohra’s career has stretched nearly five decades. He has worked at All India Radio and TV; the British Broadcast Corporation (BBC); the Deutsche Welle and the Voice of America. He joined VOA English Programs Division in 2003. Earlier, he was with VOA’s Hindi service, beginning in November 1987. In the English Division, until 2008, he was the web editor for VOA’s public affairs programs; was responsible for editing and preparing Talking History, a weekly show from the Organization of American Historians; contributed news and feature stories for VOA News Now. In his long broadcasting career, Vohra conducted hundreds of interviews from around the world and covered many important events, including India’s Parliament Elections; the European Union Summit in Brussels; Leipzig Trade Fair in the former East Germany; International Science Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland; Berlin Film Festival, and the 100th Anniversary of a World-Famous Speech by Indian Philosopher and Author Swami Vivekananda in Chicago. He is the author of the book “Journey of a Broadcaster”, a memoir covering his experience of working as a broadcaster in four very different countries: India, Britain, Germany, and the United States. Vohra holds a Master of Arts degree in international affairs from Georgetown University, where he also taught courses in the German language.

Expertise: International and regional affairs in South Asia and Europe

Languages: Hindi, German, Punjabi Urdu, French and Spanish

Location: Washington, D.C.

Twitter: @VOANews

Patsy Widakuswara

Senior White House Correspondent

Patsy Widakuswara joined Voice of America in March 2003. With more than 20 years of experience in international broadcast journalism, she currently reports via multi-media platforms from the White House, where she focuses on delivering informative and engaging U.S. content to an international audience. Prior to her post at the White House, Widakuswara was senior producer and anchor for VOA’s Indonesian service, where she supervised the service’s development and production of news and current affairs programs, anchored a number of shows and served as the main reporter for breaking news and major events, as well as the main producer for long-format investigative pieces. Widakuswara started her media career as a radio journalist for a leading station in Jakarta. Later she was hired by Indonesia’s first news station, Metro TV, as a reporter and anchor. Prior to joining VOA, she lived in London and worked as assistant producer for BBC Current Affairs and Channel 4, producing several documentaries. Widakuswara holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations, specializing in Asia-Pacific security issues, from Universitas Indonesia. In 2001 she was awarded the Chevening Scholarship by the British government and obtained a Master of Arts in TV journalism from the University of London.

Expertise: U.S. Politics, Indonesian Politics, Indonesian Media and Culture, Religion and Race Relations

Languages: Indonesian, Javanese, English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOANews

Persian Division

Setareh Derakhshesh

Division Director

An award-winning television journalist, Setareh Derakhshesh has been Director of VOA Persian since 2014. Derakhshesh played a key role in the launching of VOA Persian’s television programs to Iran, serving as the lead anchor and managing editor of its flagship news show. During her 25-year career at VOA, Derakhshesh has traveled extensively to cover U.S. presidential trips and major international news events throughout the world. She has also interviewed a number of world leaders, newsmakers, and politicians, including Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Secretary of State Pompeo, former President George W. Bush, former First Lady Laura Bush, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, among others. Prior to her career in radio and television news, she was a print reporter and magazine editor. Derakhshesh graduated summa cum laude from the Sorbonne in Paris, with a Ph.D. in political science and a master’s degree in law and political science. She has also taught at Georgetown University and American University in Washington, D.C.

Expertise: Iranian Politics, US & Middle East Policy

Languages: English, Farsi, French

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAIran

Michael Lipin

Bridge Editor

A multimedia journalist with 20 years of experience as a writer, reporter, copy editor and producer/host of TV & radio shows, Michael Lipin covers foreign policy and international affairs for VOA broadcast and digital platforms. Based in Washington, he is on regular assignments in Israel, where he interviews current and former senior political and military figures about Israel-Iran tensions, and where he covered Israel’s April 2019 Knesset election and the visits of U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to Jerusalem, Israel’s U.S.-recognized capital, in 2017 and 2018. From October 2015 to September 2016, Lipin was the co-host for VOA English weekly live TV program “Hashtag VOA,” featuring panel discussions on domestic and international issues trending on social media. Prior to VOA, he worked for TV and radio networks in Hong Kong, including CNN International. Lipin holds a master’s degree in politics, philosophy and economics from Oxford University.

Expertise: Iran, Israel, Hong Kong

Languages: English, Hebrew

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @Michael_Lipin

Arash Sigarchi

Internet Managing Editor

Arash Sigarchi is an award winning journalist and blogger for Voice of America’s Persian service since 2009. Sigarchi started his career in journalism as a teenager writing on sports for local publications. As a college student in Tehran, he reported for reformist newspapers. In 2000, he moved back to his home town in northern Iran and worked as editor-in-chief for Gilan-e-Emrouz (Gilan Today), a small local paper. At about the same time, he started a blog, “Panjare Eltehab” (Window of Anguish) which featured news, commentary, and poetry. Sigarchi became a prominent member of Iran’s online dissident community reporting human rights violations on his blog. He was arrested in 2005 as part of a sweeping crackdown on the opposition. Convicted on trumped up charges of espionage and undermining national security, he was sentenced to three years in prison. After more than a year in prison, he was diagnosed with cancer and granted medical leave. In 2008, he fled to the United States where he was granted asylum. Sigarchi won top prize at the 2012 Deutsche Welle International Blog Awards – known as the BOBs. He is also a two-time recipient of the prestigious Hellman/Hammett grant awarded to writers who have been targets of political persecution. He holds a master’s degree in interactive journalism from American University.

Expertise: Iranian Politics, US & Middle East Policy, Press Freedom, Threats to Press

Languages: English, Farsi

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @sigarchi

South & Central Asia Division

Eric Phillips

Acting Division Director

Eric Phillips currently serves as Acting Director for VOA’s South and Central Asia Division. Previously he served as Managing Director of VOA’s Persian division, March through June 2020. Past appointments include Program Manager for the South and Central Asia division from June 2007 to September 2019, Acting Director for the South and Central Asia division from July 2014 to April 2015, Acting Director for the Latin America Division from April 2015 to September 2015 and Program Manager for VOA’s Urdu Service from November 2003 to June 2007. Prior to accepting a career position with VOA, he served as a contractor announcer with VOA Europe from 1987 to 1997. Eric has also held a number of different positions with various media organizations in the Washington – Baltimore region between 1997 and 2003.

Expertise: South and Central Asia regional issues

Languages: English

Location: Washington D.C.

Hasib Danish Alikozai

Managing Editor, Extremism Watch Desk

Hasib Danish Alikozai is the Managing Editor of VOA’s Extremism Watch Desk, overseeing the coverage of news related to terrorism and extremism around the world. Prior to his current role, Alikozai was the Supervisory News Editor (Digital) for VOA’s South and Central Asia division. He has also worked for several years as a senior editor in VOA’s Afghanistan service including as acting managing editor for VOA Pashto. Before joining VOA in 2009, he served as a cultural adviser at NATO Headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, providing cultural advice and language translation to senior U.S. military and NATO commanders in Afghanistan. Alikozai graduated from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Arts in international affairs. He also holds a Master of Arts in global security studies with a concentration in economic security from Johns Hopkins University and a second master’s degree in international development and foreign service from American University’s School of International Service. Alikozai also completed the Excellence in Government Fellowship, a year-long leadership development program designed for senior federal government employees to prepare and train them in executive core qualifications.

Expertise: Foreign Policy, National Security, South and Central Asia, Counter-Insurgency, International Development, Transnational Threats, Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Extremism

Languages: English, Dari, Pashto, Urdu, Farsi

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @Alikozai86

Asgar Asgarov, Ph.D.

Azerbaijani Service Chief

Asgar Asgarov is an award-winning multimedia journalist who joined VOA in 2004. He is currently the chief of VOA’s Azerbaijani service. During his tenure at VOA, Dr. Asgarov has functioned in numerous capacities which have included news casting, production, and program development. As the anchor of his service’s prime time TV shows and radio programs, he has interviewed government officials, legislators, experts and dissidents on a vast range of subjects. Dr. Asgarov has expertise in global history, international affairs, and U.S. foreign policy. He has frequently filed reports and conducted interviews on human rights violations and democracy-building. He holds a doctoral degree in history from the University of Maryland. He received his Master of Arts in Russian and East European Studies from Stanford University and his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science with concentration in international affairs from St. Olaf College. He has taught at the University of Maryland and the George Washington University. Dr. Asgarov speaks five languages including Azerbaijani, Russian, French and Turkish.

Expertise: global history, international affairs, and US foreign policy

Languages: Azerbaijani, Russian, French and Turkish

Mutlu Civiroglu

TV Host & Web Editor, Kurdish Service

Mutlu Civiroglu has more than 15 years of experience as a journalist and analyst. His expertise spans a variety of topics including Kurdish affairs, human rights, and freedom of the press in Turkey and the Middle East. His area of concentration is the Kurdish issue in Syria and Turkey and in particular YPG’s fight against ISIS and other extremist groups. Civiroglu is frequently interviewed by media outlets like BBC, ABC, France 24, CTV, AJ English, DW and is quoted by major news agencies including AP, AFP and Reuters about the developments in the Middle East and North America. In addition, he is frequently invited to academic conferences and panel discussions to speak about the Kurdish regions in Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran and is regularly consulted for his expertise by think tanks and non-governmental organizations. On social media he is considered an important source of information about Kurdish developments and his Twitter account @mutludc has more than 114K followers worldwide. He joined VOA in 2009, as a radio and TV host. He is the editor of the Kurmanji website of VOA Kurdish and the host of the weekly Kurdvizyon TV show airing on Ozgur Gun TV in Diyarbakir. Prior to VOA, Civiroglu worked as a stringer while in college in Ankara. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s in education.

Expertise: Kurdish issue, Turkey, Syria, Middle East, YPG, YPJ and SDF fight against ISIS, Nusra and other jihadist groups

Languages: English, Kurdish (Kurmanji dialect), Turkish

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @mutludc

Dakhil Elias

International Broadcaster, Host "Kurd Connection," Kurdish Service

Dakhil Elias, joined VOA in 1999 as an international broadcaster. Born in Sheikhan, Iraq, a town of mixed population of Yazidis, Christians, and Muslims, Elias is the host of two weekly shows: “Kurd Connection” (TV) and “We and Politics” (Radio). Prior to VOA, he worked as an editor, writer and researcher for Lalish, a magazine based in Duhok, Kurdistan, specializing in Yazidi research and cultural studies in both Kurdish and Arabic languages. He also worked as an editor, translator, and journalist for the daily newspaper, “New Kurdistan” and translated the book “Yazidis and their Religion” by Kurdish writer Shakir Fatah. As a human rights and religious minorities advocate, Elias has participated in multiple conferences and meetings within the Department of State, Congress, Department of Defense, the UN, as well as academic institutions on the topics of Iraq, Kurdistan and religious minorities in that region. He is also the founder and director of the American Ezidi Center in Washington D.C., dedicated to educating the U.S. government, institutions, scholars, and the public about Ezidi history, heritage, and culture. He’s a graduate of the Technical University in Baghdad, Iraq and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in government and international politics from George Mason University.

Expertise: Kurdistan issues, US Kurd Policy

Languages: English, Kurdish

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAKurdish

Kokab Farshori

Urdu Service Chief

Kokab Farshori is a seasoned print and television journalist who started his career in Pakistan. He joined Voice of America in 2005. Since then Farshori has held various positions such as Managing Editor for Urdu TV and Program Coordinator and Senior Editor for VOA’s South and Central Asia Division. He has also worked at VOA’s Extremism Watch Desk that gathers news from regions directly affected by extremist groups like ISIS and the Taliban. He is fully bilingual in Urdu and English and has hosted live radio and television programs in both the U.S. and Pakistan. He holds a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Karachi.

Expertise: Pakistani and South Asian Politics and History, Muslims and South Asians in the United States

Languages: English, Urdu

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @kfarshori

Roquia Haider

Bangla Service Chief

Roquia Haider, came to VOA in 1981 with a rich broadcasting background from Bangladesh Radio and Television, just after completing a training in TV News Presentation and Interview from Asia Pacific Broadcasting Development Institute in Malaysia and Australian TV in Sydney. At VOA she started as newscaster, reporter, editor and sportscaster. She was the first Bangladeshi woman to cover the Olympics which made headlines in Bangladeshi and Indian media. She has interviewed world class sports personalities, such as Greg Louganis, Jacki Joyner Kersee, Sebastian Coe, Jimmie Connors, the International Olympic Committee President Jacques Roggae and FIFA President Sepp Blatter, but her prized interview was with Mother Teresa in 1987. She has since interviewed Nobel Laureates, Prime Ministers, politicians and human rights activists and has received many VOA Excellence in Programming Awards. She became the Chief of the Bangla Service in June 2011.

Expertise: Human Rights/Gender Equality/South Asia-US Politics/Sports/Terrorism in South Asia and the US. Human Rights/Gender Equality/South Asia-US Politics/Sports/Terrorism in South Asia and the US.

Languages: English, Bangla, Hindi

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOABANGLA

Navbahor Imamova

International Broadcaster, Uzbek Service & TV Host, "Exploring America"

Navbahor Imamova is an anchor, reporter, multimedia editor and producer at VOA’s Uzbek service. She has covered Central Asia and the U.S. for nearly 20 years on TV, radio and online. Since 2018, she has also been reporting from inside Uzbekistan as the first-ever U.S.-based accredited correspondent in the country. During 2016-2017, she was a prestigious Edward S. Mason Fellow in public policy and management, while earning her mid-career master’s in Public Administration at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. As a key contributor to the launch of Uzbek television programming at VOA in 2003, Imamova has since presented more than 900 editions of the flagship weekly show, “Amerika Manzaralari,” which covers American foreign policy focusing on Washington’s relations with Central Asia, as well as life and politics in the U.S. She speaks frequently on regional issues in Central Asia, as well as Uzbek politics and society, for policy, academic, and popular audiences. Her analytical pieces have been published in leading academic and news outlets including The Atlantic, Foreign Policy and The National Interest. Imamova also is the founding President of the VOA Women’s Caucus. She began her career at the Uzbek state broadcaster in Tashkent. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and mass communication from the University of Mysore, India and a Master of Arts in journalism from Ball State University, Indiana.

Expertise: US-Central Asia, Uzbekistan, Central Asian/Uzbek Diaspora, Media, Journalism, Social Media

Languages: English, Uzbek, Russian

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @AmerikaOvozi

Sirwan Kajjo

Multimedia International Broadcaster, Extremism Watch Desk

Sirwan Kajjo joined VOA in 2012 as an international broadcaster at the Kurdish service. He was born in the town of Amuda in northern Syria. He now works for VOA’s Extremism Watch Desk, where he focuses on Islamic militancy, extremism, and conflict in the Middle East and beyond. Prior to VOA, Kajjo worked for a number of news outlets and research centers in Washington and abroad. He has written two book chapters on Syria and the Kurds published by Indiana University Press and Cambridge University Press. He is also the author of Nothing But Soot, a novel set in Syria.

Expertise: Extremism, Terrorism, Militancy, Kurdish affairs, Syria conflict, Iranian-backed groups

Languages: Kurdish, Arabic, English

Location: Washington, D.C.

Twitter: @VOA_Kurdish

Najiba Khalil

International Broadcaster, Afghan Service & Host, "World of Women" Radio Program

Najiba Khalil is the host of Voice of America’s “World of Women” radio call-in program in Dari, dedicated to women’s rights issues in Afghanistan. Khalil’s extensive study in gender equality and philosophy defined her as the lead journalist on women’s issues for the Afghan service. The goal of the program is to motivate Afghan women to participate in civic debates and on-air discussions of issues that affect their daily lives such as health care, literacy, and economic opportunity. Previously, Khalil was the co-host of “Najiba-Noshaba,” Voice of America’s weekly, mixed language — Dari/Pashto – call-in radio program. She holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in communication with a concentration in television, radio, and gender equality from William Paterson University in New Jersey.

Expertise: Afghan Women’s Issues, Gender Equality

Languages: Dari, Pashto, English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOADariAfghan

Mohammad Ayub Khawreen

International Broadcaster, Afghan Service & Host, "Ashna" TV show

Mohammad Ayub Khawreen has covered the U.S. engagement in Afghanistan since 9/11 when he was working with Afghan refugees as a spokesman for UNHCR in Peshawar Pakistan. In March 2003, he accompanied the first repatriation convoy to Afghanistan. In June 2004, when the U.S. reinstated the Fulbright scholarships for Afghanistan, Khawreen was among the first to be sent to study in the US. Working with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, he was involved in research projects on U.S.-Pakistan relations and U.S. foreign policy towards South Asia. In 2007, Khawreen joined VOA’s Afghanistan service and since then he has been a lead reporter on U.S. politics and foreign policy issues with a focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Peshawar, Pakistan and a Master of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

Expertise: Afghanistan, Pakistan

Languages: Pashto, Dari, Urdu, English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @voadariafghan

Hulya S. Polat

Turkish Service Chief

As chief of VOA Turkish, Hulya S. Polat is responsible for the service’s multimedia programming to Turkey. She joined VOA in 1980 and has been leading the service since 2006. Polat helped transform VOA Turkish into one of the most successful multimedia broadcasting units. She is an experienced TV host, writer, editor and blogger and has covered numerous developments on U.S. and Turkish politics and Turkish-American relations. Polat is frequently interviewed by Turkish TV channels on these topics. Prior to VOA, she worked at Ankara Radio and at the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT). In the U.S. she has also been distinguished for her volunteer work with the Turkish diaspora organization American Turkish Association of Washington, D.C. (ATA-DC) for which she received the ATA-D.C. Community Service Award in 1992, the Daughters of Ataturk Volunteer Service Award in 2002 and the ATAA Meritorious Service Award in 2004. She has also written a book of short stories published in Turkey. Polat holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English language and literature from Ankara University and a teaching certificate from the same university. She is a linguist and has lectured at Hacettepe University in Ankara.

Expertise: Turkish-American relations, Turkish Politics, Press Freedom

Languages: English, Turkish

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOATurkish

Lina Rozbih

TV and Radio Senior Editor, Afghanistan Branch, Dari Service

Lina Rozbih joined Voice of America in 2003 as a broadcast journalist for VOA Afghanistan Service’s radio shows. Since then, she has served in various TV and radio support and leadership positions, including editor, lead-anchor, and managing editor for programs in the Dari language. Her in depth knowledge of Afghan politics and her linguistic ability is evident in the quality of the service’s programs she sought to infuse with diversity of views and multicultural perspectives. She is an acclaimed and award-winning Afghan writer and poet in the Dari language, and is the author of The Promise of Paradise, a collection of poems published in India and available in the U.S. through Amazon.com. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations from Concordia University and a second degree in communications, media and cinema from Vanier College in Montreal, Canada.

Expertise: Afghanistan, Iran, Canada, U.S. foreign policy, gender and women’s rights, literature and poetry

Languages: Dari, Farsi, English, French, Hindi, Urdu

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOADariAfghan

Odil Ruzaliev

International Broadcaster, Uzbek Service

Odil Ruzaliev is a reporter, radio and TV anchor, web editor and producer for Voice of America’s Uzbek Service since 2005. Prior to joining VOA, he worked at the State Radio and TV of Uzbekistan, BBC International’s Central Asia region, and was a regular Contributor for CNN World Report. He has also worked as an Information Assistant at the US Embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. He was the creator and host of the TV program First Channel News, Uzbekistan’s first English language news broadcast. In his spare time he is a freelance photographer. A native of Ferghana Valley, Uzbekistan, Odil graduated from the Uzbekistan State World Languages University. In addition, he was an exchange student at Pace University in New York City and holds a master’s degree in international affairs from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.

Expertise: Uzbekistan, Uzbekistan media, US-Uzbekistan relations, Uzbeks in America.

Languages: English, Uzbek, Russian

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @AmerikaOvozi

Balen Salih

International Broadcaster & Co-Host, "Kurd Connection," Kurdish Service

Balen Salih was hired by Voice of America as an International Broadcaster in 1999, two years after he moved to the U.S. Prior to coming to the U.S., Salih was sentenced to death by the Iraqi security forces for leading a student demonstration against Saddam Hussein’s regime in 1982. Later that year, he was freed by a general amnesty. Salih is one of the main anchors of the VOA Kurdish TV show “Kurd Connection.” His timely interviews with Kurds and Arabs in the diaspora have a strong following. In addition, his reports on Kurdish lifestyle and cultural events are very popular with the service’s audiences. Salih holds a High Diploma of Accounting from the Al Resafe Accounting Department in Baghdad.

Expertise: Kurdistan

Languages: English, Kurdish

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOA_Kurdish

Amish Srivastava

Multimedia International Broadcaster

Amish Srivastava is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and creative producer at South and Central Asia division of the Voice of America. For the last ten years, he has been creating new visual products and strengthening content for the SCA division and other VOA services. In 2010, Srivastava conceptualized the VOA Media Lab, which produces multiple visual news projects and pilot programs. This content is used by South and Central Asia division services, as well as twenty-five other VOA language newsrooms. His latest hour-long documentary ‘Hell and Hope‘ has been nominated and screened in more than ten international festivals, including the Venice TV Awards (Italy), ABU Awards (Japan), and Peloponnisos Film Festival (Greece). Before joining VOA in 2007, Srivastava was a roving correspondent in India. His top reporting includes covering the U.S.-Iraq war from Iraq, Kuwait, and Turkey, reporting from Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban from power in 2003, covering the India-Pakistan Kargil war from the battlefield in 1999, as well as the Indian general elections and multiple U.S. presidential elections. Srivastava attended the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, one of India’s premier institutes for journalism. He also studied creative writing at UCLA’s extension program and direction at the New York Film Academy.

Expertise: Documentary, Video Production, Screenplay

Languages: English, Hindi

Location: Washington, D.C.

Twitter: @Voaurdu

Nafees Takar

Deewa Service Chief

Nafees Takar oversees multimedia broadcasts as the Service Chief for VOA’s Deewa Service. Takar joined the Voice of America in 2006 to launch the newly created Deewa Service that broadcasts to the critical Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. Prior to VOA he worked at the BBC in London. He has also worked as stringer, reporter and producer for Deutsche Welle, The Christian Science Monitor, the Italian news agency ISNA and various newspapers in Pakistan. With over 20-years of experience in journalism, Takar has covered extensively the topic of religious extremism in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Great Britain. In 2015, he moderated a panel discussion with Nobel Peace Laureate and girls’ education activist, Malala Yousafzai, hosted by the Voice of America’s Deewa Radio and Television Service in cooperation with the Newseum. He holds a master’s degree in English Literature and a bachelor’s degree in Muslim History from the University of Peshawar.

Expertise: Religious Extremism in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Great Britain, US-led War on Terror, Minorities and Human rights in Pakistan

Languages: English, Pashto, Urdu

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @voadeewa

Ozkul Mehmet Toroglu

International Broadcaster, Turkish Service

Ozkul Mehmet Toroglu is an international broadcaster with Voice of America’s Turkish Service. Prior to joining VOA in 2016, he worked as a diplomatic correspondent in Ankara and then as the Washington Bureau Chief for the Anadolu Agency, Turkey’s main news agency. Throughout his career, he has covered developments in major hot spots of the world, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as major news stories, including international summits and World Bank and IMF annual meetings. He has also interviewed a number of high level officials, as well as well-known business leaders and opinion makers. Toroglu is a graduate of Ankara University’s Journalism School.

Expertise: Turkish Foreign Policy, Turkish Politics, Turkish-American Relations, Turkish Economy

Languages: English, Turkish

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOATurkish

Sarah Zaman

International Broadcaster, Urdu Service & TV Co-Host, "View 360" Program

Sarah Zaman is an award-winning TV journalist and documentary film-maker, working as an anchor, reporter and producer with Voice of America’s Urdu Service since 2007. She is the co-host of View 360, a half hour TV magazine program that features personal stories of hopes, dreams, challenges and accomplishments of Pakistani-Americans, as well as segments on youth, women, education, health, entrepreneurship, scientific innovation, technology, and entertainment. Previously, Zaman had hosted VOA Urdu’s flagship TV news magazine show Khabron Se Aage from 2009 to 2012. She also had hosted the VOA Urdu TV show Zindagi 360 and had covered various aspects of life in America with special emphasis on the Pakistani and Muslim communities. In addition to her on-air duties, Zaman is frequently asked to participate in panel discussions focusing on issues pertaining to the Muslim community in the U.S. She holds a bachelor’s degree in electronic media production from Eastern Illinois University and a master’s degree in documentary film production from the University of Florida.

Expertise: Pakistani Diaspora in America, American-Muslim Community, Women’s Issues, US-Pakistan Relations, Pak-Afghan Relations.

Languages: English, Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @URDUVOA

Other VOA Experts

Matthew Baise

VOA Director of Digital Strategy and Audience Development

Matthew Baise is VOA’s Director of Digital Strategy and Audience Development. In this role he leads audience development across web, mobile, and social platforms for VOA’s 45 languages. He joined the agency in 2010 as Internet Managing Editor for VOA’s English website, where he restructured operations and workflow to double target audiences in his first year. Prior to VOA, Matthew was with the Tribune Company as Head of Digital Media at The Baltimore Sun, where he was among key leaders instrumental for the merger of print and online teams into a single newsroom. Prior to that he held various positions as an editor, reporter, and web producer. He received a Bachelor of Science from James Madison University in Political Science, English, and Philosophy.

Expertise: Metrics/analytics, digital journalism, social media, audience development

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC

Bill Baum

Senior Advisor to VOA Director

Bill Baum was appointed Senior Advisor to the VOA Director in June 2016 and works on various projects for VOA. Prior to that, he was VOA’s East Asia and Pacific Division Director since October 2010, where he oversaw ten language services with operations in seven countries, producing multi-media news, information and language learning programs. He also served as Chief of the Chinese Branch for ten years, where he oversaw expansion of the Mandarin Service’s live television programming to seven days a week, launched the Cantonese Service’s first television program for distribution in Hong Kong and expanded English-learning programs. Baum previously served as Operations Manager and National News Director for the Taipei International Community Cultural Foundation in Taiwan, a commercially-run duopoly. In addition, he served as Asian News Director and Assignments Editor for Metro Broadcast Corporation’s 24-hour all-news channel in Hong Kong, launched in 1991 and as City Editor for the China News in Taipei, Taiwan, where he conducted investigative reporting of Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense, constitutional reform and many other issues. Baum received his Master of Arts degree from National Cheng Chi University in Taiwan and a Bachelor of Arts from Washington and Lee University.

Expertise: China, Taiwan

Languages: English, Mandarin

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOANews

Patricia Bodnar

Program Manager, Language Programming Division

Patricia Bodnar serves as Program Manager for Voice of America. She is a senior advisor to the Associate Director of Language Programming on policy, management issues, and programming projects. Bodnar has also worked as an executive producer of Worldwide English television. She is a mentor to future leaders at VOA. Prior to working at the Voice of America, she was a commercial and public television and radio producer, documentary producer, anchor, editor, writer and reporter for organizations that include: CNN, NPR, Monitor Television and Radio, WBUR, WGBH. She also taught Broadcasting at Emerson College in Boston. Bodnar holds a Master of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with additional graduate studies at Harvard University’s JFK School of Government, and a Bachelor of Arts from Boston College.

Expertise: Broadcast Journalism, Program start-ups

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @Pat_Bodnar

Andrew M. Cassells, Jr.

TV Traffic Branch Chief, VOA Operations

Andrew Cassells joined VOA’s TV Traffic department in 2006 and was promoted to TV Traffic Branch Chief in February 2010. Prior to joining VOA, Cassells was Senior Manager of Operations at British Telecom North America Broadcast Services where he managed facilities in Washington, New York, and Los Angeles for eight years. Previously he worked at the Washington International Teleport (WIT), a satellite earth station facility, and World Communications where he gained valuable experience in Master Control and SNG remote operations. Cassells holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from James Madison University.

Expertise: Satellite Communications

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOANews

Hai Do

Learning English Chief

Hai Do is the Chief of VOA Learning English, a multimedia source of news and information for millions of English learners worldwide. Learning English began as Special English in 1959 with international shortwave broadcasts for more than half a century. Hai joined the service in 2014 and expanded its programs to include additional English teaching materials over the internet, social media and television. Prior to joining VOA, Hai was an Assistant Managing Editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, responsible for www.inquirer.com, multimedia, as well as national and foreign news. Hai previously worked as Director of Photography for The Philadelphia Inquirer and Gannett Newspapers. He also worked as a reporter and photographer with Gannett Newspapers, Agence France-Presse and United Press International. Born and raised in Vietnam during the war, Hai and his family escaped after the fall of Saigon on a cargo vessel and were rescued by a U.S. warship in the South China Sea. They were eventually granted refugee status and settled in the United States.​ Hai currently leads VOA Learning English’s effort to assist the UN Refugee Agency with English education training at refugee camps.

Expertise: Internet, Social Media, Photojournalism, English as a Second Language Education, Vietnam

Languages: Vietnamese, English

Location: Washington, D.C.

Jim Fry

Deputy Director for Outreach and Engagement, VOA Public Relations

Jim Fry is Deputy Director of VOA Public Relations for Outreach and Engagement, which Fry performed briefly in 2017 while working for VOA Director Amanda Bennett. From November 2017 to November 2019, Fry was Managing Editor of Polygraph.info, overseeing VOA’s English language fact check of international disinformation published on the web and in social media. Polygraph.info is a part of a joint project of VOA and RFE/RL, which produces a fact check website in Russian. Fry has been a journalist in Washington for 30 years, covering foreign policy and national politics. He joined VOA in 2007 and was appointed assistant managing editor of national coverage in 2009 – overseeing reporters assigned to the White House, State Department, the Pentagon, Capitol Hill and other domestic beats. Fry directed VOA’s U.S. presidential election coverage in 2012 and 2016. Prior to his time at VOA, he covered Washington and national politics, as well as airline and weather disasters for a group of domestic TV stations and newspapers, serving as Washington Bureau Chief for WFAA-TV. Earlier at WFAA-TV in Dallas, Fry covered local and international transportation and Texas politics, dating back to 1980. He shared in the DuPont Silver Baton Award for WFAA-TV team coverage of the diplomatic and military build-up and resulting Persian Gulf War in 1990-’91. Jim Fry is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

Expertise: International disinformation, U.S. national politics and foreign policy

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @jimfryVOA

Eduardo Kachscovsky

Director of Studio and Production Operations

Eduardo Kachscovsky, Director of Studio and Production Operations, leads the team responsible for television and radio studios, master control, traffic and remote operations, which broadcast nearly 2,000 hours of content each week to Voice of America’s weekly worldwide audience. Prior to joining VOA, in March 2018, Kachscovsky was Vice President of Production for Univision Television Group, where he oversaw several newscast redesigns, revamping the graphics, music packages, TV sets, and lighting. His leadership skills were recognized by his peers within Univision, as he developed a team of expert trainers and created the first comprehensive graphics distribution system. Kachscovsky also coordinated the look and feel for the transition to HD for the 20 TV stations within Univision. He has extensive experience in special events and has worked as Executive Producer/Director for political debates, concerts, town halls, and parades. As a Director of Creative Services, he produced shows, promos and commercials and was the director of the local newscasts for 13 years at KMEX television in Los Angeles. Kachscovsky was born, raised, and educated in Argentina where he worked as a recording engineer at EMI/Capitol Records. He left during the military dictatorship of the 1970′s and moved to Los Angeles. He’s the winner of twelve Emmy awards, including five Emmys for personal achievement as best director in Los Angeles. In addition, he has received two Edward R. Murrow awards as a team member for best newscast. A 25-year member of the Academy of Television Arts and Science, Kachscovsky has served several terms as an executive committee member.

Languages: English, Spanish

Location: Washington D.C.

Euna Lee

Special Assistant (Video)

A seasoned, award-winning journalist, Euna Lee is a Special Assistant to the VOA Director and Deputy Director and is responsible for the strategic direction of VOA’s video production for OTT, social media, mobile and other platforms aiming to increase the impact of VOA video around the world. Lee joined Voice of America in January 2017 and built the Korean service’s first TV team. As the executive producer, she successfully launched and oversaw 7 original TV programs that quickly grew in viewership. She led the Korean service to one of the top 10 VOA channels on YouTube within a year. Lee was appointed Special Assistant in August 2019. Prior to VOA, she worked for Fusion media, AJ+ and Al Jazeera TV networks where her videos reached more than 3 million viewers. Lee’s name became widely known after being captured by North Korea while filming for a human trafficking documentary for Current TV, a cable network co-founded by former Vice President Al Gore. She wrote a memoir, “The World is Bigger Now”, about her experience while detained in North Korea for four and a half months. Lee has received various awards for her fearless work, including Glamour magazine’s Women of the Year award in 2009. Lee holds a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

Expertise: Broadcast Journalism, Press Freedom, Documentary Films, North Korea

Languages: English, Korean

Location: Washington, DC

Larry London

International Broadcaster & Host, "Border Crossings" Music Program

As the host of Border Crossings, VOA’s daily interactive radio music show celebrating 23 years on air, Larry London has interviewed more than 2,000 music and entertainment industry celebrities including Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Adele, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Alicia Keys, Quincy Jones, and many other notables. London began his radio broadcasting career 40 years ago as a high school sophomore at Oak Park High School in Michigan. Prior to VOA, London was on air in major U.S. cities, including Detroit, St. Louis, Boston, Los Angeles, and Tampa. He worked in Hollywood at the Unistar Radio Network for show business legend Dick Clark, hosting a daily evening program while serving as Music Director at the network. He has also been an on-air host and Program Director in Asia, working in China, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. He attended Oakland University in Michigan and Northwestern University in Illinois. He taught radio broadcasting at Tarkio University in St. Louis and at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting in Arlington, Virginia.

Expertise: American Pop Culture and Music

Languages: English, Japanese, Mandarin

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @BCVOA

Beth Mendelson

Senior Executive Producer

Beth Mendelson is an award-winning documentary filmmaker focused on issue-oriented programming. Her prior work for Voice of America includes the news series Boko Haram: Terror Unmasked, based on 18 hours of original video from Boko Haram, and the documentaries A Single Step, a look at global women leaders hosted by actress Sally Field; AIDS: Living in the Shadows, an unvarnished look at overcoming the stigma of AIDS in communities around the world, hosted by Sir Elton John; John F. Kennedy: A Legacy Remembered, exploring the legacy of the late U.S. president 50 years after his assassination; and Fateful Harvest, that investigated Afghanistan’s opium trade and its challenge to the country’s stability. Her communication career spans 30 years across non-profit organizations, broadcast media, and the U.S. government. She has been an Executive Producer for major American and European networks, including PBS, CNN, ITN, ARD, and MSNBC. She holds a BA in Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

Expertise: Documentary filmmaking

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC

Natasha Mozgovaya

Project Manager (OTT)

Natasha Mozgovaya is the project manager for VOA, responsible for developing strategy and tools for content distribution on Over the Top (OTT) and other digital platforms. Prior to this position, she served as a digital managing editor for VOA’s Russian service, developing along with her team more than a dozen original media products, including documentaries, web pages for special events, internet TV shows, interactive quizzes and podcasts. She spearheaded the use of drone filming in VOA and turned immersive storytelling (360 videos) and live shots on social media into a regular part of the coverage. She joined VOA in 2013 as a journalist, editor and host of several TV projects, including the Current Time Washington, D.C., daily segment. Earlier, Mozgovaya was the Washington bureau chief for the influential Israeli newspaper Haaretz. In addition, she was an anchor with Israeli TV Channel 2. Throughout her career, Mozgovaya has covered several military conflicts and crises in different parts of the world – from the second Intifada, second Lebanon war and the disengagement from Gaza, to the hostage crisis in Moscow in October 2002, post-elections violence in Kenya and the earthquake in Haiti. Mozgovaya has interviewed numerous high-ranking politicians in several countries, has written feature stories and opinion pieces for various Israeli and Russian outlets, and has been a frequent guest as public speaker in U.S. universities, think-tanks and media outlets. She holds a Master of Arts in Political Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology from Tel-Aviv University.

Expertise: Digital innovation, Digital media, 360 immersive storytelling, Social Media, Drones, OTT/Cloud TV, Audience Engagement, U.S.-Russia Relations, Middle East.

Languages: English, Russian, Hebrew

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @mozgovaya

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