Building Cultural Competency through Storytelling with Bela Bajaria

The following blog post was contributed by Bela Bajaria, head of Global TV for Netflix and guest at culturefix, our inaugural cultural diplomacy celebration on June 9, 2021.  What inspired you to pursue a career in TV and international programming specifically? I was born in London and moved to the U.S. with my family when I was 8. One of the ways I learned to speak with an American accent was by immersing myself in American TV – Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, and so many others. What that also did was it make me believe in the...

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Mike Okwoche on World Press Freedoms

For World Press Freedom Day we are excited to share a contribution from Mike Okwoche, a prominent TV news anchor for TVC News in Lagos, Nigeria, and an alum of the Broadcast Media International Visitor Leadership Program in 2017. Inspired by what he observed during his IVLP trip, Mike founded Rewired Africa Network to promote civic engagement through media and media literacy. What does freedom of the press mean to you? The freedom of the press represents or symbolizes every freedom that a country can get. So when we talk about freedom of the press or press freedom, that...

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HERspectives: Alisha Peek on mentorship and pandemic challenges in the arts

Alisha Rena Peek is a graduate of the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program in Dance, and former company member of Ailey II, the second company to the world renown Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She gave a virtual performance at our MeridianOnline event, Dance Diplomacy, about the impact of the pandemic on the performing arts industry, in May 2020.   Who are some of the mentors that have inspired you in your career? One of the mentors that I’ve worked with in the past, and someone I’ve just finished doing a residency with, is Hope Boykin. She is a former company...

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HERspectives: Ambassador Kathryn Hall

Kathryn Hall is a Meridian Trustee and the owner of Hall Vineyards. This blog post is part of a series highlighting and celebrating women leaders in Meridian’s network during Women’s History Month. Who is or was a female inspiration, mentor and/or hero figure to you? It has been my good fortune to have many mentors over the course of my career. My first mentor was a man, Milt Kegley, a senior executive at the first company I worked for. He understood the nuances of sexism long before these were widely recognized , and certainly far better than I as...

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HERspectives: Ms. Rusudan Gotsiridze

Ms. Rusudan Gotsiridze is a 2014 International Women of Courage awardee and the first female Baptist bishop in Georgia. She is an advocate for women’s rights and interfaith dialogues to support religious minorities. This blog post is a part of a series highlighting and celebrating women leaders in our network during Women’s History Month. Who is your female inspiration, mentor or hero figure? I have often been asked who my role model is, and I always have a hard time answering this question. I was brought up in a Soviet country, in a dissident Protestant family, in a heavily...

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