Vaclav Havel and Jiri Dienstbier Journalism Fellowship Programs
RFE/RL offers fellowship programs that provide mentoring and support for outstanding journalists dedicated to promoting human rights and democracy in our target regions.
- The Vaclav Havel Journalism Fellowship is available to aspiring, independent journalists in the European Union's Eastern Partnership countries and Russia.
- The Jiri Dienstbier Journalism Fellowship is available to aspiring, independent journalists in the western Balkans.
About Fellowship Programs
Fellows are selected as a result of a highly competitive process. They are placed with an appropriate language service at RFE/RL's Prague headquarters to receive on-the-job training and mentoring, while working alongside RFE/RL’s seasoned professionals. Programs equip Fellows with cutting-edge journalistic skills, and involve them in the daily editorial debates and discussions that inform a professional and independent press so that they may become standard-bearers of the profession and leaders in their communities, on-line, on air, and in the world.
The Václav Havel Journalism Fellowship (VHJF) is a joint initiative of RFE/RL and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. Launched in 2011, it is inspired by the late Czech leader’s belief in the transformational power of free speech, and builds on RFE/RL’s legacy of promoting more open societies through journalism.
Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs cites the VHJF in its 2018 Statement on the Occasion of World Press Freedom Day
The Jiri Dienstbier Journalism Fellowship (JDJF) is a joint program of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and RFE/RL, funded by the Ministry. Launched in 2014, it is inspired by Jiri Dienstbier Sr.’s contributions to the fields of journalism, foreign policy, and human rights, and intended to further RFE/RL’s legacy of promoting more just and open societies through journalism.
Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs cites the JDJF in its 2018 Statement on the Occasion of World Press Freedom Day
Fellowship Focus Map
Map of countries where the Václav Havel and Jiří Dienstbier Journalism Fellowships are available.
- Blue: The Václav Havel Journalism Fellowship
- Red: The Jiri Dienstbier Journalism Fellowship
About Havel and Dienstbier
About Vaclav Havel
Václav Havel was the first post-revolutionary president of independent Czechoslovakia in 1989, and the first Czech president in 1993. He was also a renowned playwright, poet and essayist. Vaclav Havel's name is synonymous with peaceful resistance to authoritarianism and commitment to individual liberty and dignity.
About Jiri Dienstbier
While Havel is well-known internationally as the “philosopher king,” a former political prisoner who became president, there is another, less well-known figure in many of the iconic photographs of Havel from that time pictured with him, smiling warmly under a thick, tobacco-stained mustache.
Vaclav Havel Journalism Fellows 2022
Vasilina Sakalouskaya, Belarus
Vasilina enrolled in the Faculty of Journalism at Belarusian State University to study audiovisual media in 2018. However, due to her urgent departure from Belarus, Vasilina has not completed the course. From December 2018 to June 2019, she served as the head of the Belarusian historical and cultural association Prylutskaya Spadchyna at the Center of Folk Art. She also worked for the FM radio station Stalitsa for almost a year, preparing news reports on health, culture, international politics and human rights. She had her own short program called Varushysya, drawing attention to talented people and their achievements. Since March 2020, she has been an occasional contributor to Radio Liberty, covering the digital activities of the NGO sector and reporting on cultural and human rights topics. She also prepares text reviews and videos on cultural topics for Art Siadziba. Currently, Vasilina is studying media and communication at the European Humanities University in Vilnius, Lithuania. Vasilina’s mother tongue is Belarusian. She also speaks Russian and English.
Valeryja Ulasik, Belarus
Valeryja worked as a correspondent and executive producer for Belsat TV for five years, developing reportages, articles and news covering a wide range of topics. She also planned video shoots, seeing them through to completion. After working for Belsat TV, Valeryja started her freelance career, which included TV and online journalism, marketing, event and media management, copywriting, and video production. Valeryja obtained a bachelor’s degree in civil journalism from the Faculty of Political Science at Collegium Civitas in Warsaw, Poland. Her native languages are Belarusian and Russian. In addition, Valeryja speaks Polish and English.
Nicoleta Stavila, Moldova
Nicoleta started her career in the marketing and communications departments of Metro Media Transylvania and UBB Radio Online. In 2020, Nicoleta founded her own company: NGO Generatia ECO, where she was responsible for strategic planning and marketing campaigns, company branding, establishing partnerships and fundraising. In addition, she managed budgets and organized and conducted interviews with volunteers. She also organized and moderated large- and small-scale events, managed social activities and created content for social media. Since January 2021, she has worked for the Laboratory of Initiatives for Development, creating social media content, writing reports and implementing the foundation’s marketing strategy. Nicoleta has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and social work from the Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. In 2020 – 2021, she also attended the School of Advanced Studies in Journalism. She is fluent in Romanian and English, speaks some Spanish and Russian, and is a French language beginner.
Vazha Tavberidze, Georgia
Vazha is a Georgian journalist with 10 years of experience. He started his career at the Georgian Journal Weekly newspaper, where he later became editor-in-chief. In 2018, Vazha was both executive producer and host of the program “Messages from Brussels,” produced at the European Parliament. After that, he spent two years as the host of the “RealPolitik” TV show. Vazha is the co-founder and project head of the Georgian Institute for Security Policy. He produced the interview series: "Insights on Putin’s Russia" and "Talking NATO for Georgia." Vazha has a bachelor’s degree in international law from the Akaki Tsereteli State University in Georgia and a master’s degree in European studies from the University of Latvia. He speaks English, Russian, German and Georgian. His work has been published in numerous Georgian and international outlets, including The Times, The Spectator, The Mirror, Der Profil, Falter, The Daily Beast and the IWPR.
Egor Fedorov, Russia
Egor gained his first experience with journalism at Russia’s Novosibirsk State University where he reported for its University Life magazine. He went on to become an intern and a contributor for Meduza in Latvia. He also worked as a freelance reporter for the independent media outlet Tayga.info (Тайга.инфо) in Novosibirsk in 2018 - 2020, after which he became a full-time news editor. Egor attended an investigative journalism workshop at the CEELI Institute in Prague and completed several journalism-related courses. Egor was nominated seven times for Redkollegia, an independent prize for journalists in Russia (2018-2021). Egor’s native language is Russian and he also speaks English.
Kateryna Lykhohliad, Ukraine
After graduating from university, Kateryna began working for ukr.net as a daily news editor. She then worked for TV Channel 5, first as a daily news editor for the website and later monitoring daily news, writing stories, editing videos, coordinating journalists and shooting her own TV stories. She subsequently turned her attention to investigative journalism and spent almost a year working as an investigative reporter for ZIK TV Channel and later for the independent agency Slidstvo.Info, where she also served as interim website editor. Kateryna joined the National Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine in February 2021, focusing on investigative journalism, especially social and crime subjects. Since 2018, Kateryna has also frequently coached beginners of the investigative reporting course organized by the Regional Press Development Institute (RPDI). Kateryna holds a bachelor’s degree in publishing and editing from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. A native Ukrainian speaker, she is also a dedicated learner of the English language.
Jiri Dienstbier Journalism Fellows 2022
Danijel Apro, Serbia
Daniel started his career in Novi Sad writing for the daily Gradjanski List, reporting on judicial affairs and writing features for special editions. He then moved to Novinarski Istrazivacki Centar, a non-profit NGO, where he focused on mapping crimes in urban development. Daniel spent several years working for the daily papers Vecernje Novosti and Dnevnik, reporting on judicial affairs and writing about local and regional public institutions. Danijel spent almost six years in Indonesia, first completing his post-graduate studies at Sebalas Maret University and then as a teaching instructor. Following his travels, Danijel joined MOD381, a media production agency, in Novi Sad, coordinating the moderation of photos, videos, illustrations and vectors for Adobe Stock. In 2019, Danijel joined Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation working as a journalist reporting for Cenzolovka, a news site focusing on media freedom and the relationship between state and media. He wrote about the pressures facing journalists as well as violence and threats against them. As of May 2018, Danijel also works as a media analyst at the Novi Sad School of Journalism, researching and reporting for FakeNews Tragac, a platform devoted to exploring fake news phenomena. Danijel holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Novi Sad and a master’s degree in political science from the Central European University in Budapest. In addition, Danijel is an awarded fiction writer––he has published two novels and a collection of short stories. Danijel’s mother tongue is Serbian, he is fluent in English and Indonesian, and he is a beginner in Hungarian.
Jovana Krstic, Serbia
Jovana started her professional career in 2011, volunteering as an assistant journalist for the public broadcaster of Vojvodina, RTV, in Novi Sad. She formally joined RTV in 2014 and has worked there since. As a broadcast journalist in the daily newsroom, she conducted interviews focused on politics, economics, justice, ecology and environmental protection. Later, as an editor and host of the weekly show “The World Around Us,” she covered foreign policy and world news and focused on conflicts, the global economy, environmental issues and climate change. Jovana has completed numerous courses, including a multiplatform journalism course and a course for journalists covering protest, both organized by the Thomson Foundation, as well as specialist training on Serbia’s accession to the EU at the Centre for European Integration at the University Business Academy in Novi Sad, Serbia. She also completed the 2020 cycle of the Council of Europe Schools of Political Studies. She holds a degree from the Department of Media Studies at the University of Novi Sad where she is currently working towards a master’s degree in communication studies. Jovana ‘s mother tongue is Serbian and she also speaks English and Russian.
Czech Republic Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhanek Visits RFE/RL, Meets With 2020-2021 Vaclav Havel And Jiri Dienstbier Journalism Fellows
Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic Jakub Kulhanek visited Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) broadcast center in Prague on June 25, 2021, to meet with the 2020-2021 class of Vaclav Havel and Jiri Dienstbier Journalism Fellows. Kulhanek, together with RFE/RL President Jamie Fly, presented Certificates of Achievement to the Havel and Dienstbier Fellows, congratulating them on their exceptional journalistic talent and successful completion of the fellowship despite the challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Minister Kulhanek noted how important independent media are to the healthy development and defense of democracy and human rights, goals shares by both the Czech Foreign Ministry and RFE/RL. A concrete example of how these shared goals are put into practice, Kulhanek added, is the ministry’s longstanding partnership with RFE/RL on the Havel and Dienstbier Fellowship programs – one of several projects the ministry supports to promote press freedom globally.
The Fellows thanked Minister Kulhanek for his ministry’s support of the two Fellowship programs, and told the minister about their personal experiences in journalism and the political and financial challenges independent media face in their countries.