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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Home, history & heritage with Hongxia Liu

Hongxia Liu is a former Associate Vice Chancellor at NYU Shanghai and a former Meridian trustee. For Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) heritage month, we’re excited to bring you her perspective on home, history and heritage.   What does AAPI Month mean to you? For me, AAPI Month means to take time to reflect on the history and achievements of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPIs) across our Nation, and also to ruminate on our shared challenges and opportunities in furthering the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.   Given the heightened injustices against the AAPI...

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Erkinbek Kamalov on World Press Freedom

For World Press Freedom Day we are excited to share a contribution from Erkinbek Kamalov, a fall 2019 alumnus of Meridian’s Central Asia Journalist-in-Residence Program (CAJIR), part of the wider Central Asia Media Exchange Program (CAMEX). Erkinbek is a dedicated media practitioner from Kyrgyzstan. He is a currently a reporter and project coordinator for Content-Media versia.kg located in Jalal-Abad, Kyrgyz Republic. His current project is short term media research for the New Media Advocacy Project (NMAP) New York based entity in which he is a Lead Researcher for the Eurasia region. His most recent completed project, ‘SynergyKG-21’, is related to...

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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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