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VOA Islamabad Bureau Chief Receives 2016 Burke Award

Exceptional reporting, combined with courage and determination – that’s how best to describe VOA Islamabad Bureau Chief and correspondent, Ayesha Tanzeem, who is among the five recipients of the 2016 David Burke Distinguished Journalism Award, announced December 1st in Washington.

In the fall of 2015, Pakistan-native Ayesha Tanzeem, VOA News Center’s South Asia correspondent traveled to Kabul for an extended reporting trip that tested her courage, her planning and her knowledge of Afghanistan’s culture, politics and security threats. Her reports gave a rare, detailed look at the inroads Islamic State militants have made in Afghanistan. The trip was taken at considerable risk to herself, yet Tanzeem remained determined to bring audiences an exclusive, first-hand look at extremism.

A native of Pakistan, fluent in Urdu, Tanzeem became VOA’s South Asia correspondent in Islamabad, in early 2015. She had previously worked for several years with our South and Central Asia division in Washington and in New York.

As someone who has traveled in disguise, worn body amour, and often avoided speaking her native language, Tanzeem diligently traveled through dangerous environments, while producing reports with great sensitivity and rich context, to show how average Afghans continue to struggle against extremism and violence in their country.

In addition to covering an extremely challenging area of the world, Tanzeem was crucial to VOA’s extensive coverage of the European migrant crisis last year. She worked closely with both the News Center and South Asia division colleagues to stay on top of this fast-moving story.

“Ayesha exemplifies the courage and journalistic skill that is a hallmark of VOA overseas correspondents,” said VOA Director Amanda Bennett. “Her years working for VOA in Washington, New York, and Islamabad, as well as her experience with the BBC and other organizations, honed her fine reporting, writing and camera skills. I am delighted she has received this award,” noted VOA Director Amanda Bennett.