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Vaclav Havel Journalism Fellows Meet U.S. Media

The 2013-2014 class of Vaclav Havel Journalism Fellows recently spent two weeks in Washington, D.C. and New York taking in the sites--at some of the leading media outlets and foreign policy institutions in the United States.

The trip, planned by RFE/RL, the Embassy of the Czech Republic to the United States, and the Prague Freedom Foundation to support the Fellows' professional development, introduced the Fellows to a broad spectrum of media outlets in the U.S., gave them the opportunity to discuss their work and the media landscape in their countries with policymakers and other audiences involved in foreign affairs, and connected them with some of the country's leading journalists, editors, and foreign policy analysts.

The Fellows' policy discussions took them to the McCain Institute for International Leadership for a Google+ Hangout on Russian propaganda in Ukraine, hosted by Executive Director Ambassador Kurt Volker and moderated by Atlantic Council Executive Vice President Damon Wilson. The Fellows also participated in a panel discussion on media freedom in Russia and Ukraine at the Embassy of the Czech Republic, with introductions by Czech Ambassador Petr Gandalovic and First Deputy Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic Petr Drulak, and concluding comments by the Czech Foreign Ministry's Special Envoy for the Eastern Partnership, Ambassador Petr Mares.

The situation in Ukraine was also the topic of a panel discussion featuring the Fellows at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, and was the subject of extensive discussions at the U.S. Department of State and with staff members of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The Fellows' media tour included meetings at the Washington Post, The New York Times, Associated Press, Bloomberg, NBC News, MSNBC, Fox News, Fortune magazine, America Abroad Media, and the Voice of America. In addition, the Fellows had shadowing opportunities with NPR's "All Things Considered" and the "PBS News Hour," and were interviewed during a visit and tour at USA Today.

The Fellows experienced a day in the life of an American journalism school, auditing courses and sharing their experiences with fellow journalists and students at the University of Maryland's Merrill College of Journalism and at Columbia University's School of Journalism in New York. They also had the opportunity to learn about the contributions think tanks make to U.S. foreign policy during visits to the Council on Foreign Relations, Brookings Institute, Atlantic Council, and National Endowment for Democracy.