This fall, the Colvin Center for International Reporting will host two visiting fellows through the IREX Community Solutions Program, an international fellowship program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. government and supported in its implementation by IREX. The two fellows, from Nepal and Ukraine, both seek to deepen their understanding of how to bring disparate communities together.
“Communication can help people find common ground, mutual understanding and collaborative solutions across so many borders and boundaries,” said Laura Lindenfeld, dean of the School of Communication and Journalism and executive director of the Alda Center for Communicating Science. “The SoCJ and Colvin Center are delighted to welcome these two fellows to Stony Brook so we can work with and learn from each other as we all work to create a fairer, more just, more rational world.”
The Community Solutions Program aids human development by empowering youth, cultivating leaders, strengthening institutions and extending access to quality education and information. It facilitates intercultural and cross-border exchanges to foster more inclusive, just and prosperous societies.
Iryna Domnenko, of Ukraine, and Shraddha Verma, of Nepal, will spend the bulk of the fall semester living on Long Island and working alongside the faculty and staff of the School of Communication and Journalism.
While at Stony Brook, Domnenko will explore different ways to unite communities and counter Russian disinformation in times of controversy. Upon her return to Ukraine, she will develop educational and motivational programs for communities in her role at Ukraine’s Institute of Analytics and Advocacy.
In Nepal, Verma works for a human-rights organization that seeks to bring an end to child trafficking in partnership with government agencies and other advocacy groups. Like Domnenko, Verma will examine ways to build advocacy movements that fight for change and enhance governmental protections for these exploited populations.
“The Community Solutions Program is a wonderful way for us to learn from each other,” said Sarah Baxter, director of the Colvin Center and visiting professor of journalism. “Iryna and Shraddha are going to share their expertise and help our students develop skills in trauma-informed foreign reporting.”
This is the second time the School of Communication and Journalism has hosted Community Solutions Program fellows. The first, Ecaterina Miscisina, came to the SoCJ in fall 2022 from Moldova to study Russian misinformation and how that information flows into and through the U.S. mediascape. Two recent graduates from the SoCJ paid a return visit to Moldova in May.