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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 or 202-203-4000, extension 3.

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VOA Leadership

Amanda Bennett

VOA Director

Amanda Bennett is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, investigative journalist and editor and was named Director of the Voice of America in March 2016. Through 2013, she was Executive Editor, Bloomberg News, where she created and ran a global team of investigative reporters and editors. She was also co-founder of Bloomberg News’ Women’s project. She was editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer from June 2003 to November 2006, and prior to that was editor of the Herald-Leader in Lexington, Kentucky. She also served for three years as managing editor/projects for The Oregonian in Portland. Bennett served as a Wall Street Journal reporter for more than 20 years. A graduate of Harvard College, she held numerous posts at the Journal, including auto industry reporter in Detroit in the late 70s and early 80s, Pentagon and State Department reporter, Beijing correspondent, management editor/reporter, national economics correspondent and, finally, Chief of the Atlanta bureau until 1998, when she moved to The Oregonian. She has also been a contributing columnist for The Washington Post.

She is the author of six books including “In Memoriam” (1998), co-authored with Terence B. Foley; “The Man Who Stayed Behind” (1993), co-authored with Sidney Rittenberg; “Death of the Organization Man” (1991) and “The Quiet Room” (1996), co-authored with Lori Schiller. “The Cost of Hope,” her memoir of the battle she and Foley, her late husband, fought against his kidney cancer, was published in June 2012 by Random House.

Expertise: Investigative Journalism, Press Freedom, U.S. Foreign Policy, China

Languages: English, French, Mandarin

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOADirector

Sandy Sugawara

VOA Deputy Director

Sandy Sugawara joined the Voice of America in May 2016 as the first Deputy Director in nearly two decades. She is credited for playing a leading role in transforming The Washington Post’s newsroom to a data-driven, digital operation. An award-winning journalist, Sugawara has spent more than three decades in journalism, starting as a UPI reporter and rising to senior management positions at The Washington Post. Most recently, she served for more than three years as managing editor for Trove, a digital news startup owned by Washington Post/Graham Holdings Company. She developed editorial, engagement and social media strategies and oversaw the Trove editorial team. She also worked closely with technical experts to develop a system that delivered high-quality personalized news to diverse audiences. Previously, as head of The Post’s Universal News Desk (2009 to 2012), Sugawara helped lead efforts to merge the newspaper’s print and digital operations and to collaborate with the Trove innovation team, formerly WaPo Labs. A graduate of Wellesley College, Sugawara also served at The Washington Post as assistant managing editor for business. She oversaw coverage during the global financial crisis of 2008 to 2009, with the paper’s business staff winning several journalism awards.

Expertise: Social Media, Digital Journalism, Telecommunication, and Business

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @slsugawara

Kelu Chao

VOA Program Director

Kelu Chao oversees the production and distribution of television, radio, Internet, and mobile content in 47 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

Jim Tunnessen

VOA Chief Digital Officer & Acting Associate Director of VOA Operations

Jim Tunnessen joined Voice of America as the Chief Digital Officer in January 2017. He also serves as the acting Associate Director of VOA’s Operations division. Prior to VOA, he was the Chief Technology Officer for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Tunnessen upgraded the infrastructure and introduced FSIS and the USDA to new technologies, processes, and services to improve their connectivity and launch their digital transformation. In 2013, Tunnessen became the Chief of Digital Innovation and Development for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). There, Tunnessen created the Digital Innovation and Development Group and hosted the first nationwide Federal Hackathon (2014) creating seven new applications for the Department of Homeland Security in two days. He joined USCIS after a two-year stint at the General Services Administration where he worked on implementing cloud services, application development, and the enterprise social networking across the agency. He is also one of the four featured government technology experts in “Your Guide to DevOps in Government” published February 2016. He received his Masters of Business Administration from George Washington University.

Expertise: Cyber Security, Software Development, DevOps, Agile Processes, Cloud Solutions, and IT Modernization

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC

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

Ibrahim Ahmed

Managing Editor, Hausa Mobile Stream & TV Co-Host of “Taskar”

Ibrahim Ahmed serves as co-host of the weekly Taskar television program and as Managing Editor for VOA Hausa’s mobile stream. Ahmed holds the 2015 David Burke Distinguished Journalism Award, VOA’s highest honor for courageous reporting for radio and television coverage from a region ravaged by Boko Haram. Born in Bauchi, Nigeria, Ahmed spent weeks traveling through Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa States of Nigeria during the height of Boko Haram attacks there, never sleeping in the same place twice after extremists condemned his reporting. His on-the-scene coverage brought stories of survival and resistance to VOA audiences on digital platforms, as well as radio and television. In addition, Ahmed organized town hall meetings with youth leaders and election commission officials to discuss prevention of post-election violence recurrence in Kaduna State of north-western Nigeria.

Expertise: Nigeria, Islamic Militant Groups, Boko Haram and West African Politics

Languages: English, Hausa

Location: Washington DC

Twitter: @voahausa

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

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

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 to 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. Prior to VOA, Fernandes served as an editorial coordinator for PT Comunicações Sucursal in Angola. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Beira Interior and a master’s degree in Communications and Media Studies from the School of Social Communication in Brazil.

Expertise: Sub-Sahara Africa, Social Media

Languages: English, Portuguese, French

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAPortugues

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

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

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 (conversational)

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAVinceMakori

Heather Maxwell, Ph.D.

Host & Producer, "Music Time in Africa"

Heather Maxwell began her music excursions to Africa in 1987, completed a Peace Corps tour in Mali (1989-91), and lived in Cote d’Ivoire singing and recording (1991-92). At Voice of America, she is the host and producer of Music Time in Africa, a 60-minute weekend music show and VOA’s longest-running English language program of pan-African music. She also presents African music news stories for VOA’s TV program “Africa 54.” Maxwell holds a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology and has taught at the University of Virginia and the National Conservatory of Music in Mali. She has been a Fulbright scholar twice and has published several academic papers on African music. Maxwell has also been a jazz singer in West Africa and the United States and has collaborated with notable artists such as Robert Jospe, Bassekou Kouyate, Habib Koite and Oumou Sangare. She travels to Africa regularly to keep her ear to the ground for music stories and trends. Universities, African music festivals, Department of State, and academic conferences often solicit Maxwell for her expertise in singing and West African music. She 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, Song, Ethnomusicology

Languages: English, French, Bambara

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @musictimeafrica

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 (conversational)

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @RMshowVoa

Aliyu Mustapha

Managing Editor, Hausa Service

Aliyu Mustapha has been the Managing Editor of VOA’s Hausa Service since 1989. In this capacity, he focuses 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, Serbo-Croatian ( conversational )

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 for the Central Africa service of the Voice of America. He interviews and hosts – in live shows - civil society leaders and high profile politicians, including current and former presidents of Burundi as well as opposition leaders, U.S. officials and international newsmakers, as well as average citizens that have an interesting story to tell. He has hosted Burundi political opponents who had previously refused to sit down and talk face-to-face. He describes himself as a ”Swiss Army Knife journalist” with skills ranging from reporting and news writing, to digital essentials, video journalism and photojournalism. Frederic Nkundikije’s interviews and call-in shows have contributed to the popularity the service enjoys in the Great Lakes region of Africa.

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

Languages: Kirundi, French and English. Kiswahili and Kinyarwanda (conversational)

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

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

East Asia & Pacific Division

Norman G. Goodman, Ph.D.

Division Director

Norman Goodman was named EAP Director in November, 2016, after serving as VOA Indonesian’s Service Chief for 16 years. He transformed the Indonesian Service from a basic shortwave radio operation to a multimedia, affiliation-based enterprise, with more than 400 radio and TV affiliates across Indonesia. Prior to VOA, Goodman lived overseas for nearly 20 years, working in organizations such as the Peace Corps, the Institute for International Education (IIE), USAID, and others. Norm holds a Ph.D. in International Development Education from Stanford University, a master’s degree in Education from the University of California at Santa Cruz, a master’s degree in Sociology from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Stanford. Norm was also a Joint Doctoral Research Intern at the East West Center in Honolulu.

Expertise: U.S. Asia Policy, Indonesia, International Development, International Education

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC

Xin Chen

International Broadcaster, Mandarin Service, China Branch & Host, VOA weekly TV Talk Show “Pro and Con

As a native of China, Xin Chen has extensive knowledge of China’s social, political and economic realities. As a VOA journalist covering China since 1997, Chen has had the resources to investigate China-related issues on a broad level and to establish 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 the most popular Mandarin program since it started in 2001. She holds a Ph. D in Communications from the University of Arizona and a master’s degree in Journalism from Washington State University.

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

Languages: English, Mandarin

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAChinese

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

Sasha Gong, Ph.D.

Mandarin Service Chief

Sasha Gong is a scholar, a journalist, a newspaper columnist, and a published author. She grew up in the People’s Republic of China. In the 1970 she spent 11 months in prison for political dissent. From 1979 to 1986, she studied history at Peking University, where she earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. Subsequently she came to the U.S. where she studied sociology at Harvard University. After earning her Ph.D., Gong went to teach at The University of California, Los Angeles. In 1998, she joined Radio Free Asia as director of the Cantonese Service. In 2011,Gong joined VOA as the director of the Chinese Branch and most recently as the Chief of VOA’s Mandarin Service. Gong has authored nine books, mostly on politics and society. Her books “Road to the White House” and “Living Democracy” were both best-sellers in 2008 and 2011 in China. Her upcoming books “Backdoor of the Empire” and “America Taking a Sharp Turn” are being scheduled for publication.

Expertise: US Election, Foreign Policy, Labor, Education, China

Languages: English, Mandarin, Cantonese

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOAChinese

Dong Hyuk Lee

Korean Service Chief

Lee developed his interest in journalism while studying Applied English Linguistics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Upon completion of his master’s degree in Communications at the University of Illinois in Chicago, the Korea Daily of Chicago hired him as a reporter, which gave him an opportunity to combine his passions for journalism and for Korean news and issues. Prior to his current post as chief of VOA’s Korean Service, Dong Hyuk Lee worked at Radio Free Asia’s Korean Service for several years. “I joined VOA Korean so I could devote my entire time to covering and studying North Korean related news and issues,” Lee says. His long-standing interest in inter-Korean politics and the U.S. role in Korean affairs made the switch to VOA an easy one.

Expertise: Korea, North Korea relations, East Asia

Languages: English, Korean

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOA_Korean

Euna Lee

International Broadcaster (Television), Korean Service

A seasoned journalist with more than 17 years of experience, Euna Lee is a television producer for Voice of America’s Korean Service. Prior to VOA, she worked for Fusion media, AJ+ and Al Jazeera TV networks where her stories reached over 3 million viewers. Lee’s name became widely known after being captured by the North Korean regime while covering a human trafficking story 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. At VOA, she strives to be a voice for the voiceless and a window for those with no access to outside information. Born and raised in South Korea, Lee holds a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

Expertise: Broadcast Journalism, Press Freedom, Documentary Films

Languages: English, Korean

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOA_Korean

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 degree 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

Yu-wen Winnie Cheng

International Broadcaster, China Branch 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

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: @huchenzhang

English Division

Billy Otwell

Acting Division Director

A veteran reporter, producer and news director, Billy Otwell has spent more than 30 years in television news. He joined VOA in 2011 as an analyst in Language Programming. In that capacity he guided VOA’s various language services to improved TV production skills, new programming and optimal use of research data available to target appropriate audiences. He also served as General Manager of VOA’s Persian Service, where he was instrumental in ramping up coverage of Iran’s presidential election in June 2013. Prior to VOA, Otwell held various leadership positions in television newsrooms, including WTNH, the ABC affiliate in Connecticut and WXIA-TV in Atlanta, Georgia. While in Atlanta, he worked with station management to launch a historic journalist exchange program with the former Soviet Union. In early 2001, while at the Hartford Courant newspaper, Otwell led the “convergence” of print, web and the Tribune News Service’s TV station in the market that incorporated coverage of the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on all platforms. A native of Atlanta, Otwell is a graduate of Georgia State University with a degree in communications.

Expertise: General News, International News, U.S. Foreign Policy

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC

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, and Spanish

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOANews

Larry London

International Broadcaster & Host, "Border Crossings" Music Program

As the host of Border Crossings, VOA’s daily interactive radio music show celebrating its 20th year 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 US 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 (conversational), Mandarin (conversational)

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @BCVOA

Steve Miller

International Multimedia Broadcaster, English TV Programs

Steve Miller came to VOA after nearly a decade in South Korea, where he worked as a university professor and was a mainstay on local, national, and international radio and television programs. While in Asia, Miller produced one of the highest rated Asia related news podcasts which was syndicated in four countries and now has a new home at Voice of America. In addition, he traveled extensively throughout the region sharing his adventures online with his audience. He holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Education from Northern Arizona University.

Expertise: Asia Pacific Geopolitics and issues

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC

Andrew Palczewski

International Broadcaster (Digital), English TV Programs

Andrew Palczewski is a television, radio, and digital journalist, covering the day’s top news stories, social media trends, and digital innovations. He reports daily for “International Edition,” VOA’s flagship English news radio program, and is the social media correspondent and back-up host for “Sonny Side of Sports,” VOA’s English language sports radio show. Palczewski has covered everything from the live-streamed protests on the floor of the House of Representatives, to a viral campaign to help domestic violence survivors, to the first 2016 Presidential Debate. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Communication from The George Washington University, and a master’s degree in Communication from Johns Hopkins University.

Expertise: Social media trends; digital innovations

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @voa_ie

Eurasia Division

Elez Biberaj, Ph.D.

Division Director

Dr. Elez Biberaj has headed VOA’s Eurasia Division since 2006. He is responsible for VOA’s multimedia programming targeting Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, and the Balkans. He joined VOA in 1980 as an international radio broadcaster in the Albanian Service. From 1982 to 1986, he 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 transform the service 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, became 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

Languages: English, Albanian, Serbian

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @EBiberaj

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: @JaneBojadzi

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 Special 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. Prior to VOA, Vivian 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, Northern Caucasus, Balkans;

Languages: English, Armenian, French

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @zeriamerikes

Myroslava Gongadze

Ukraine 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.

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

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: @lilicaVOA

Tatiana Koprowicz

International Broadcaster, Ukraine 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

TV host, reporter and editor, Keida Kostreci is a seasoned journalist with more than 20 years of experience. She joined Voice of America’s Albanian Service in 2001. Kostreci began her career with the first independent newspaper in Albania, “Koha Jonë.” She holds an Master of Arts degree in international affairs from American University.

Expertise: Albania, the Balkans

Languages: English, Albanian

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, Basic command of French and German

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @chastime

Ia Meurmishvili

International Broadcaster, Georgian Service & TV Host, "Washington Today"

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 VOA’s English-language outlets aimed at debunking fake news and propaganda. 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

International Broadcaster, Armenian Service

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

Natasha Mozgovaya

Managing Editor (Digital), Russian Service

Natasha Mozgovaya is a managing editor (digital) for VOA’s Russian service. She joined VOA in 2013 as a journalist, editor and host of several TV projects, including the Current Time Washington, D.C. daily segment. Prior to VOA, 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 was 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. She also completed the Project Management program at Georgetown University.

Expertise: U.S.-Russia Relations, Russian Politics, Middle East, Israel

Languages: English, Russian, Hebrew

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @mozgovaya

Julia Savchenko

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

Julia Savchenko is an international journalist and broadcaster 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 VOA, she worked at the BBC World Service in London as both a radio host and as a reporter covering international and European politics. In 2004, Savchenko received a United Nations Development Fund Award and the following year, she was awarded a Reagan-Fascell fellowship by the National Endowment for Democracy. A graduate of Stanford University’s Program for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, Savchenko is also an expert on Central Asian and Russian affairs. Her work has appeared in publications including Democracy at Large and Global Integrity Index and she has served as regional editor for www.neweurasia.net, a platform devoted to Central Asia.

Expertise: Russia, Central Asia, South Caucus, Europe

Languages: English, Russian

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @YuliaVOA

Latin America Division

Clara Dominguez

Acting Division Director & VOA Director of Partnerships

As the Acting 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

A seasoned international multimedia journalist for Voice of America since 2013, Mendoza 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

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

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

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. She is the vice-chair of the Dag Hammarskjöld Fund for Journalists, which provides fellowships at the United Nations for working journalists from the developing world. 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

As the VOA State Department correspondent, Nike Ching covers U.S. foreign policy and occasionally travels with the Secretary of State. Prior to her State Department assignment, she was an anchor for VOA Mandarin’s TV programs. She also covered Capitol Hill and was a senior global affairs correspondent for VOA Mandarin. Prior to VOA, Ching was the Washington Bureau Chief for the Broadcasting Corporation of China (BCC), Taiwan’s largest radio news network. She also worked as the Washington Correspondent for Taiwan’s Global Television in the late 1990s. A native of Taiwan, Ching is a graduate of Taiwan’s National Chengchi University. She also holds a master’s degree from the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at 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 (native)

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

Twitter: @rongxiang

Jill Craig

East Africa Correspondent

Jill Craig is a multimedia journalist with seven years of experience in radio, TV, print and photo journalism. She was named Voice of America’s East Africa correspondent in August 2015, where she has subsequently covered stories such as the Pope’s first visit to Africa, elections in Tanzania and Uganda, the South Sudanese refugee influx into Uganda, Kenya’s 2016 ivory burn, drought in northern Kenya, the heroin crisis at the Kenyan coast, and human rights, press freedom, and freedom of expression issues across the region, to name a few. Prior to this appointment, Craig was the Houston-based video journalist for the Associated Press. She has also served as a video producer for the Associated Press in Washington, D.C. and as a reporter for VOA’s South Sudan in Focus program. She was a Nairobi-based freelance journalist for VOA from 2011 until 2013, covering the 2013 Kenya elections, as well as topics like conservation, technology, child protection, health, human rights, and sanitation. In 2011, she was a producer with CNN in Nigeria, covering the country’s presidential elections. She has also worked with National Public Radio and Destination magazine. She holds a Master of Arts degree in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and criminology from Ohio State University.

Expertise: Politics, Human Rights, Conservation

Languages: English

Location: Nairobi, Kenya

Mariama Diallo

Senior International Broadcaster

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

Peter Heinlein

Senior White House Correspondent

Peter Heinlein is the Senior White House correspondent for the Voice America, covering President Trump and his administration for all the network’s programs and platforms. During more than 50 years as a broadcast journalist, Heinlein has interviewed a number of world leaders, including former U.S. President Lyndon Johnson, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the Dalai Lama, former UN Secretaries General Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon, and many others. Heinlein joined VOA in 1983, where he served as anchor of the flagship hour-long evening news program “World Report”. He has reported for VOA from more than 40 countries. He served as South Asia correspondent/bureau chief (1989-1994), making dozens of reporting trips to combat zones in Sri Lanka, Kashmir and Bangladesh. From 1995 to 2000, Heinlein worked as VOA correspondent/bureau chief in Moscow, covering all the countries of the former Soviet Union. He made several reporting trips to conflict zones in Chechnya and Kosovo and covered the end of the Yeltsin years and the rise of Vladimir Putin to power. During a break in VOA service, he went to Kabul to teach Radio Afghanistan journalists and create an evening news program. Returning to VOA in 2003, he served four years on the diplomatic beat as United Nations correspondent in New York during a period of intense Security Council negotiations on Iraq and Darfur. From 2007 to 2012, Heinlein served as correspondent in Ethiopia, from where he made several reporting trips to Somalia and covered continental politics and diplomacy from African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa. Upon his return from Africa, Heinlein was named Chief of VOA’s Horn of Africa Service, and most recently served as Chief of the English News Programs branch. He did his undergraduate studies at the University of Texas at El Paso, where he frequently returned as a guest lecturer.

Expertise: White House, Trump Administration, Horn of Africa, African Union

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOANews

Steve Herman

White House Bureau Chief

Steve Herman is VOA’s White House Bureau Chief. The veteran journalist spent 26 years in Asia, including Tokyo and subsequent stints as VOA’s correspondent and bureau chief in India, South Korea and Thailand. He also served as VOA’s Senior Diplomatic Correspondent, based at the State Department. 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. He has appeared on ABC World News Weekend, Arirang TV, BBC, Buckmaster Show (KVOI Tucson), the CBS Evening News, Channels TV (Nigeria), CNN, John Batchelor Show (WABC radio New York), Radio New Zealand and various cable news networks in India.Herman was elected Chairman of The Foreign Press in Japan (FPIJ) for five consecutive years after a one-year term as President of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan (FCCJ). He also served a one-year term as President of the Seoul Foreign Correspondents’ Club and is currently a Governor of the Overseas Press Club of America.

Expertise: White House, US Foreign Policy, US State Dept., Asia, Korea, China, Japan

Languages: English, Japanese (conversational), Korean (conversational)

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @W7VOA

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

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

Faith Lapidus

Features, Science and Health Editor

Faith Lapidus has held numerous positions in over four decades at VOA – starting as an intern in Worldwide English, when VOA broadcasts were only on shortwave. She has served as a news writer and newscaster, a feature writer, a program producer and host of VOA Morning and Stateside programs, and now, as an editor for features and science and health reports. She can be heard on the air, narrating some of those stories. When she is not at work, Faith volunteers with a local animal welfare group and is a foster mom for dogs waiting to be adopted. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Expertise: American stories

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOANews

Natalie Liu

International Broadcaster

A seasoned international broadcaster, Natalie Liu joined Voice of America’s Mandarin Service in 2002. Prior to VOA, Liu worked as a producer at CBS News Beijing Bureau and as reporter and researcher for the Washington Times newspaper focusing on foreign affairs. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Beijing University and a master’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. She also studied history at the University of Pennsylvania.

Expertise: Confucianism, Communism, Chinese strategic thinking, US-China rivalry, Taiwan, Democracy and Nationalism

Languages: English, Chinese

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOANews

Jim Malone

National Correspondent

Jim Malone has been covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. With more than 40 years of work in journalism, Malone began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983. He has also served as Congressional Correspondent and East Africa Correspondent. He is a regular guest on VOA TV’s “The Correspondents” program. In addition, he participates regularly on VOA English radio programs, as well as in numerous VOA language service TV and radio shows. Past coverage included the 1991 Gulf War, the President Clinton impeachment scandal, the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in New York, as well as every major U.S. presidential and congressional election from the mid 1990s. Jim earned his bachelor’s degree in speech communication and history from Boston College in 1977.

Expertise: U.S. Politics and the Electoral Process, White House & Congressional Relations, U.S. Supreme Court and other topics that shape the national debate

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @JMaloneVOA

Heather Murdock

Middle East Correspondent

Currently based in Cairo, Heather Murdock covers the Middle East and North Africa for Voice of America. She has worked in Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Nigeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the D.R. of Congo, Rwanda, Ethiopia and covered the European Refugee Crisis. 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 (conversational)

Location: Cairo, Egypt

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 Correspondent & 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

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: @ppoulou

Carolyn Presutti

Senior International Broadcaster

Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy-award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters. Her specialty is enterprising reporter, speaking to common people – outside the D.C. beltway – about current events or politics. Presutti embraced the idea of news coverage through Google Glass and continues to have an emphasis in high tech as well as aviation. She was chosen as a 2016 Nathanson Scholar at The Aspen Institute in Aspen, Colorado, where her concentration was Artificial Intelligence. She has also won numerous Associated Press TV, Radio, and Multimedia awards, as well as a Clarion and a Silver Medal at the International TV and Film Awards. In 2015, Presutti graduated from the U.S. government’s 9-month Executive Leadership Program, completing the developmental assignments (internships) at the Office of Cuba Broadcasting and at DC Tech Start-up, Social Driver. She is a past president of the Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association. Prior to VOA, Presutti worked at CNN, AARP, and as the Washington Correspondent to a consortium of TV stations owned by Belo Broadcasting out of Dallas, Texas. She came to Washington in 1994 to work for WUSA-TV (CBS) as the station’s morning anchor. Presutti holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism 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

Moscow Correspondent, Central News

Daniel Schearf is VOA’s correspondent in Moscow where he covers 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 superstringer. 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 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 (beginner), Mandarin Chinese(intermediate), Spanish (intermediate)

Location: Moscow, Russia

Twitter: @DanielSSchearf

Kathleen Struck

Digital Managing Editor & Education Correspondent

With three decades of experience in journalism, Kathleen Struck serves as Digital Managing Editor and Education Correspondent of Voice of America’s Student Union project, an online community helping international students navigate the university experience in the U.S. Prior to joining VOA, Struck worked as a freelance journalist 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 newspapers. 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 the U.S. Her first newsroom leadership position was at age 27 for two daily papers in the state of New Jersey, where she was responsible for a $3.4 million budget and 60 employees. She also has been managing editor at Stars and Stripes in Tokyo, and NHK, Japan’s national broadcaster. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. In 2003-2004, she attended mostly military, defense and leadership courses at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University through the Nieman Fellowship. She loves working with interns and younger journalists.

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

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @voastudentu

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 20-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 many world leaders, newsmakers, and politicians, including former President George W. Bush, former First Lady Laura Bush, Secretary of State John Kerry 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 18 years of experience as a writer, reporter, copy editor, show producer, Michael Lipin is currently the Bridge Editor for Voice of America’s Persian division. In this capacity, he works on the development of stories for one of the leading international news broadcasters in Iran. 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 events trending on social media. Prior to VOA, he worked for TV and radio networks in Washington D.C. and Hong Kong. He writes breaking news and radio/TV/web reports on U.S. and international affairs, as well as a produces live radio and television newscasts with a passion for East Asia and Middle East news. He holds a master’s degree in politics, philosophy and economics from Oxford University.

Expertise: Hong Kong Politics, Israeli Politics

Languages: English, Hebrew

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @Michael_Lipin

South & Central Asia Division

Akbar Ayazi

Division Director

Born in Afghanistan, Akbar Ayazi immigrated to the U.S. in 1980. In 1982, he joined VOA as broadcaster in the Afghan service and later became its service chief. In 2005, he moved to Prague to become the Director of Radio Free Afghanistan for Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty and, from 2010 to 2015, was its Regional Director of Broadcasting, overseeing services covering Afghanistan, the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region, Iran, and Iraq. In 2015, he rejoined VOA as Director of South and Central Asia Division overseeing Afghan, Dari and Pashto services, Radio Deewa to Afghan/Pakistan border region, Urdu Service to Pakistan, Bangla Service, Turkish Service, Kurdish Service, Azeri Service, Uzbek Service and the VOA Extremism Watch Desk. Ayazi is a graduate of Kabul University and Nehru University of New Delhi, India.

Expertise: Afghanistan

Languages: English, Bangla, Dari, Pashto

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @akbarayazi1

Hasib Danish Alikozai

Supervisory News Editor (Digital)

Hasib Danish Alikozai is the Managing News Editor (Digital) for South and Central Asia division of the Voice of America. He has also served as senior editor for VOA’s Afghanistan Service. Prior to joining VOA in 2009, he served as cultural adviser and translator for NATO Headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. Alikozai holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs from Georgetown University, a Master of Arts in Global Security Studies with a concentration on economic security from Johns Hopkins University and is a candidate for an Executive Masters in International Development at American University’s School of International Service.

Expertise: Foreign Policy, National Security, Counter-insurgency and International Development

Languages: English, Dari, Pashto

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOADariAfghan

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 especially the YPG’s fight against ISIS and other extremist groups. 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 volunteer stringer while in college in Ankara. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in education. He is also a certified Kurdish language teacher and examiner.

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

Kokab Farshori

Senior Editor, Urdu Service

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 a prominent Uzbek journalist at the Voice of America. As anchor, reporter, editor, web editor, and producer, she has covered Central Asia and America for over a decade on TV, radio and online. She is currently an Edward S. Mason Fellow, working on her Mid-Career Masters in Public Administration at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. She is also leading the Central Asian Caucus there. Imamova played a pivotal role in the launch of Uzbek television programming at VOA in 2003, and has since presented more than 700 editions of the flagship weekly show, Exploring America, which covers American foreign policy for some 40 million Uzbek speakers worldwide, focusing on U.S. relations with Central Asia, as well as life and politics in the United States. She began her career at the Uzbek state broadcaster as a reporter and producer. She also taught journalism at the Uzbek State University of World Languages in Tashkent, her alma mater, and then studied in India on a fellowship, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication from Maharaja’s College at the University of Mysore. A recipient of the Edmund Muskie Fellowship, Imamova earned her Master of Arts in Journalism from Ball State University. In 2009, Ball State’s Department of Journalism named her Outstanding Young Alumna.

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

Languages: English, Uzbek, Russian

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @AmerikaOvozi

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

Najiba Salam

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

Najiba Salam 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. Salam’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, Salam 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 degree in communication with a concentration in television and radio from William Paterson University in New Jersey.

Expertise: Afghan Women’s Issues, Gender Equality

Languages: English, Dari, Persian

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOADariAfghan

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

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

Fatima Tlis

Investigative Reporter, Polygraph.info Project, Extremism Watch Desk

Fatima Tlis is an investigative journalist, researcher and expert on the North Caucasus region of Russia. She is the investigative reporter for VOA on Polygraph.info, a globally aware and nonpartisan website responding to disinformation and misinformation around the world, under the Extremism Watch Desk. Tlis has written extensively on extremism and terrorism and the North Caucasus 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 RFE/RL and 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 numerous international awards including the Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University; the German Zeit-Stiftun Award for commitment to reporting on the conflict in Chechnya; the Rory Peck Freelancer’s Choice Award for “continuous bravery, commitment to the story and efforts to help fellow journalists”; the Human Rights Watch award for journalism as advocacy; the Amnesty International Media Award for best magazine article; and an AP award for best report on a hostage situation. 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

Ernest (E.A.) Torriero

Managing Editor, Extremism Watch Desk

Ernest (E.A.) Torriero is an award-winning American journalist who covered many of the world’s major conflicts in the last two decades. He is the Managing Editor of Voice of America’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 as Executive Producer for VOANews.com. Previously he reported from the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Israel for the Chicago Tribune (2000-2008) 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. Torriero 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 also contributed to the Chicago Tribune’s 2001 Pulitzer Prize-winning series on America’s troubled air travel system, “Gateway to Gridlock.” Torriero earned an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Notre Dame in 1976 and a Master of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University in 1977, where he has also lectured as an adjunct professor.

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

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOA_Extremism

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 Digital Strategy Director

Matthew Baise is VOA’s Director of Digital Strategy. In this role he leads audience development across web, mobile, and social platforms for VOA’s 47 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 that, 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 has held various positions as an editor, reporter, and web producer. He holds 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

Ade Astuti Kidwell

Social Media Lead and Audience Engagement Analyst, Language Programming Division

Ade Astuti Kidwell is VOA’s Social Media Lead. She is the in-house expert for social media strategies and best practices. She builds and manages relationships with social media companies. She also oversees VOA’s marketing campaigns on social and digital media platforms. Previously, she served as the Digital Managing Editor for VOA’s Indonesian Service, where she built the service’s digital and social media operations and became one of the pioneers of leveraging social media to engage with VOA’s worldwide audience. Kidwell is a journalist by training and trade. She has won numerous awards throughout her career before and after joining VOA in 2004. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri, and a Bachelor of Arts 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: @VOANews

Steven Springer

News Standards and Best Practices Editor

Steven Springer has been a professional journalist and media executive for more than 40 years. The majority of his career —more than 23 years — was spent at CNN in various positions. During his tenure Springer was cited by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) for CNN’s coverage of 9/11. In addition, he — along with many other CNN staff — was also the recipient of the Peabody Award for CNN’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina. He also served as Network Pool Producer for the US networks’ coverage of the 2004 Republican Convention in New York. Steven came to VOA in September 2008 as Managing Editor of Central News. He served as the Editor, News Standards and Best Practices since September 2010. Springer holds a Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Theater Communications from the Herbert H. Lehman College in New York.

Expertise: Journalistic ethics and best practices, budget and logistics planning and execution, Newsroom management and planning

Languages: English

Location: Washington, DC

Twitter: @VOANews

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