WASHINGTON - The Broadcasting Board of Governors today will welcome Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Amanda Bennett as the 29th Director of the Voice of America (VOA). An introduction and swearing-in ceremony will be held at Voice of America headquarters at 10 a.m. this morning and will be streamed live on the BBG website, www.bbg.gov
"We are thrilled to have such a talented, experienced and award-winning journalist as Amanda take the helm at VOA," said BBG Chairman Jeff Shell. "Her unique skills and deep understanding of the rapidly evolving digital news marketplace will serve VOA well."
"Amanda embodies everything we've been looking for in a VOA Director," agreed BBG CEO and Director John Lansing. "In today's complex geopolitical environment, VOA's work is more important than ever, and we are confident that Amanda will lead VOA to great success around the world on all media platforms."
"I am happy and excited to be part of such a vital news organization," said Bennett. "We are the only source of reliable, objective, credible news and information for a large part of the world. What's more, our mission of covering the fascinating complexity of our country and its people is a beat like no other. I look forward to working with the skilled and passionate journalists at VOA to bring those stories alive for the world."
Bennett served as executive editor of Bloomberg News, where she created and ran a global team of investigative reporters and editors and co-founded the Bloomberg News Women's project. She also served as editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer, editor of the Herald-Leader in Lexington, Kentucky, managing editor/projects for The Oregonian in Portland, and reporter and editor for the Wall Street Journal for more than 20 years, including a stint as the Journal's Beijing correspondent. Most recently, she has been a contributing columnist for The Washington Post.
Bennett shared the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting with her Journal colleagues, and in 2001 led a team from The Oregonian to a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Projects by the Bloomberg projects and investigations team, led by Bennett, won numerous awards, including Loeb, Polk, Barlett & Steele, Headliners, Society of American Business Editors and Writers, and Overseas Press Club awards.
Bennett is the author of six books and a graduate of Harvard College. Together with her husband, Donald Graham, she co-founder of TheDream.US, which provides college scholarships to the children of undocumented immigrants.
Bennett succeeds David Ensor, who served as VOA Director from 2011-2015. VOA's Associate Director of Language Programming Kelu Chao has served as Acting VOA Director since June of last year.
The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency, supervising all U.S. government-supported, civilian international media, whose mission is to inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. BBG networks include the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Marti). BBG programming has a measured audience of 226 million in more than 100 countries and in 61 languages.
A Princeton PhD, was a US diplomat for over 20 years, mostly in Eastern Europe, and was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service in 1997. For the Open World Leadership Center, he speaks with
its delegates from Europe/Eurasia on the topic, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United." Affiliated with Georgetown University for over ten years, he shares ideas with students about public diplomacy.
The papers of his deceased father -- poet and diplomat John L. Brown -- are stored at Georgetown University Special Collections at the Lauinger Library. They are manuscript materials valuable to scholars interested in post-WWII U.S.-European cultural relations.
This blog is dedicated to him, Dr. John L. Brown, a remarkable linguist/humanist who wrote in the Foreign Service Journal (1964) -- years before "soft power" was ever coined -- that "The CAO [Cultural Affairs Officer] soon comes to realize that his job is really a form of love-making and that making love is never really successful unless both partners are participating."