Lisa Armstrong

Lisa Armstrong is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, The, The New York Times, USA Today and The Daily Beast. Armstrong grew up in Nairobi, Kenya and has reported from several countries, including Liberia, India, Sierra Leone, The Philippines and Tajikistan, writing largely about issues affecting women and children. She has been reporting from Haiti since the January 2010 earthquake, through grants from The Pulitzer Center and New York University, and has been featured on NPR and the BBC, discussing rape in the camps and HIV/AIDS in the aftermath of the earthquake. Armstrong has received several awards, including the National Press Club’s Joan Friedenberg Award for Online Journalism for her work in Haiti, and an award for investigative reporting for an article about women who were sterilized by the state of North Carolina. In addition to an M.A. in journalism, Armstrong has a master’s degree in urban planning with a concentration in international development.

Richard Behar

Richard Behar is an investigative journalist who founded and coordinates Project Klebnikov, a global media alliance committed to shedding light on the Moscow murder of Forbes editor Paul Klebnikov, among similar inquiries. Behar has written on a wide number of topics, including the Bernard Madoff scandal, corruption inside the IRS, organized crime, national defense, and the 9/11 attacks. From 1982-2004, Behar worked on the staffs Behar worked on the staffs of Forbes, Time, and Fortune magazines, and completed assignments for the BBC, CNN, and PBS. He has racked up over 20 awards for his reporting, including the Gerald Loeb, Polk (twice), National Magazine, Overseas Press Club (twice), Daniel Pearl, and Worth Bingham Prize – on subjects ranging from terror financing in Karachi to counterfeiting in Beijing; from corporate wrongdoing on Wall Street to the Russian mob in Siberia. Behar was included among the 100 top business journalists of the 20th century by The Journalist and Financial Reporter, and was named Business Journalist of the Year in London in 2001. He received his B.A. from New York University.

Amy Bracken

Amy Bracken is a freelance reporter and radio producer based in Boston, MA. She has spent much of the last 12 years reporting from and about Haiti. She has also covered the environment in Alaska, music in Rio, language in Belize, and diversity around Paris. Her stories have aired on Latino USA and PRI’s The World, and appeared in Foreign Policy and The Christian Science Monitor, among others. Amy also produces interviews for the daily NPR show Here and Now. Migration and confinement are long-standing interests, into which Amy has delved both academically and journalistically. She is a graduate of Reed College, Columbia Journalism School, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. You can find samples of Amy’s work at .

Greg Brosnan

Greg Brosnan produces, shoots and edits video for freelance clients including Channel 4 News, PBS, Al Jazeera English, The New York Times video, AFPTV and VJ Movement. A general news and economics print correspondent for Reuters for seven years, he left in 2007 to concentrate on documentary film. His work has appeared in Business Week, The Economist, The Houston Chronicle and Monocle. He is the video producer for Emerging Markets magazine.

Valerie Brown

Valerie Brown is a freelance journalist based near Portland, Oregon. She has written extensively on environmental health, climate change, nuclear waste, and other environmental issues. Her writing has appeared in Scientific American, Pacific Standard, Environmental Health Perspectives, Science, Environmental Science & Technology, High Country News, SELF, Forest Magazine, American Journal of Public Health, and elsewhere. In 2009 she received the Society of Environmental Journalists’ award for Outstanding Explanatory Reporting in Print for her Miller-McCune Magazine article “Environment Becomes Heredity.” She received her MS from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.

Mimi Chakarova

Mimi Chakarova is a photographer and filmmaker who has covered global issues examining conflict, corruption and the sex trade over the past decade. She teaches visual storytelling at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and has taught at Stanford University’s African and African American Studies and Comparative Studies for Race and Ethnicity. Her work has appeared in National Geographic, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Ms., The Sunday Times Magazine in London, CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” PBS’ FRONTLINE/World and the Center for Investigative Reporting, where she is currently a correspondent. She is the recipient of the 2003 Dorothea Lange Fellowship for outstanding work in documentary photography and the 2005 Magnum Photos Inge Morath Award for her work on sex trafficking. In addition, she was awarded the Nestor Almendros Award for courage in filmmaking at the 2011 Human Rights Watch Film Festival in New York. She was also the winner of the prestigious 2011 Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding International Investigative Reporting. She received her B.F.A. in photography from the San Francisco Art Institute and her M.A. in visual studies from UC Berkeley.

Lydia Chavez

Lydia Chávez is a journalist who currently teaches at the University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She has written extensively about Central America and local news. She began her career as a reporter for The Albuquerque Tribune, later moving on to Time magazine, The Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times, where she served as the El Salvador and South American bureau chief. She has written op-ed pieces for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The San Francisco Examiner, and magazine pieces for The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times Magazine, and George magazine. In 2005, Chávez and her students collaborated to publish “Capitalism, God and A Good Cigar: Cuba Enters the Twenty-First Century.” Her 1998 book “The Color Bind: California’s Battle Against Affirmative Action, “won the Leonard Silk Award. She holds a B.A. in comparative literature from the UC Berkeley and a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Dan Christensen

Dan Christensen is a former investigative reporter for The Miami Herald and the Daily Business Review. Since 2009, he has operated, Florida’s first not-for-profit news site staffed by professional journalists. Christensen’s stories about Broward County Sheriff Ken Jenne’s private business dealings sparked a federal corruption investigation that landed Jenne in prison in 2007. His stories for The Miami Herald in 2006 about hidden and falsified court records in Broward, Miami-Dade, and other Florida counties brought about two unanimous Florida Supreme Court decisions outlawing those practices. In 2000-2001, Dan’s reporting about a deadly gun-planting conspiracy and cover-up by Miami police resulted in the indictment of more than a dozen officers and significant governmental reform, including the establishment of Miami’s long-sought civilian review panel. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science from the University of Miami.

Prue Clarke

Prue Clarke is a journalist and media development specialist whose work has appeared in the Financial Times, The Times of London, the Globe and Mail, The Australian, and on the BBC, CBC, ABC, The World, and The World Vision Report. Her reporting focuses on Africa, where she has covered war-torn eastern Congo and Aids-ravaged communities of Rwanda and Uganda. She exposed child slavery in the fishing industry in Ghana and has covered post-war reconciliation and reconstruction in Liberia. She is the founder and executive director of New Narratives, a project supporting women journalists in Africa. She is a recipient of the Edward R. Murrow award for feature reporting, the United Nations World Gold Medal and an Amnesty International award. Clarke holds a master’s degree in Journalism from Columbia University where she was an “International Fellow” at the School of International and Public Affairs. She also holds a master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Sydney where she studied economics as an undergraduate.

Stephanie Czekalinski

Stephanie Czekalinski is an award-winning journalist based in Washington DC. Czekalinski has written about a variety of subjects, including immigration, crime, police action and domestic violence. Her work has resulted in changes at the local, state and federal levels and at least one criminal conviction in federal court. In 2008, she was a finalist for the Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Newspapers. Two years later she was a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists. Czekalinski previously worked for the Columbus Dispatch in Columbus, Ohio and its sister publication, Fronteras de la Noticia. She received her undergraduate degree from Wittenberg University in Ohio and an master’s degree from The Citadel in South Carolina.

Judith H. Dobrzynski

Judith H. Dobrzynski is a freelance writer specializing in arts, business, and philanthropy. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Conde Nast Portfolio, Apollo Magazine, The Daily Beast, Smithsonian, The New Criterion, and Town & Country. She has contributed op-ed pieces to The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes and The Boston Globe. She also writes a blog called Real Clear Arts on and She has taught business journalism and investigative business reporting at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has worked as a reporter and a senior editor at The New York Times and at Business Week, as well as a senior executive at CNBC. Her articles about fraud at eBay were nominated by the Times for a Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting, and her articles on Nazi-looted art led to changes in restitution laws in Austria and elsewhere in Europe. She received her B.S. from Syracuse University.

Beth Duff-Brown

Beth Duff-Brown is a San Francisco-based journalist currently working for The Associated Press. Prior to joining the AP, she wrote at The Beijing Review, The Sarasota Herald-Tribune and Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel. She has worked for the AP in Miami and New York, and as an overseas correspondent and bureau chief in West Africa, Southeast Asia, India and Canada. In 1997, she was named deputy editor for Asia. She was nominated for a Pulitzer in Feature Writing in 1997, and in 2003, won a third place SAJA Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding Reporting on South Asia. She received her B.A. in philosophy and communications from Hawaii Pacific University and her M.A. in newspaper reporting and writing from Northwestern University.

Alison Fitzgerald

Alison Fitzgerald is an award-winning investigative reporter and author based in Washington, D.C. In a decade at Bloomberg News, Fitzgerald wrote about the convergence of politics, government and economics. Her coverage of the 2008 financial crisis and ensuing government bailout won her several awards, including the 2009 George Polk Award, and the “Best of the Best” from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. Her work on the international food price crisis in 2008 won her the Overseas Press Club’s Malcolm Forbes Award. And in 2011 she was cited by the National Press Foundation for distinctive reporting on Congress for an investigation into independent groups that exploited campaign finance loopholes to sway midterm congressional elections. Fitzgerald and co-author Stanley Reed delved into cost-cutting, risk-taking corporate culture at BP that led to the devastating 2010 Gulf oil spill in In Too Deep: BP and the Drilling Race that Took It Down, published in 2011 by John Wiley & Sons.

Franklin Foer

Franklin Foer is the former editor of The New Republic, where he remains an editor at large. He is currently a Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation, where he is working on his second book, an intellectual history of American liberalism. The Daily Beast named him one of America’s “most influential liberal journalists.” He has also been a staff writer for Slate. His international bestseller, “How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization,” has been translated into 27 languages. He is a graduate of Columbia University.

McKenzie Funk

McKenzie Funk writes for Harper’s, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, Outside, and Popular Science and is the author of the forthcoming “Best Laid Plans” (Penguin Press), a book about climate change. Funk began pondering how countries and corporations are preparing for a changing climate during a 2006 assignment in the Arctic, where he joined the Canadian military on a patrol of future shipping lanes and oil depots in the contentious Northwest Passage. A longtime adventurer – he won a National Geographic Expeditions Council grant to hitchhike the new Trans-Siberian Highway and was on the second American expedition to ski Tibet’s 8,012-meter Shishapangma – he has spent the last five years traveling to 23 countries on five continents, meeting water brokers, land speculators, and seawall builders, all the while witnessing a world getting ready to heat up. A Livingston Award finalist and a winner of the Oakes Prize for Environmental Journalism, he is a 2011-2012 Knight Wallace fellow at the University of Michigan. He received his undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College.

Douglas Gillison

Douglas Gillison served as Executive Editor of The Cambodia Daily, an English-language newspaper in Phnom Penh, from 2009 to 2011. In his six years at the paper, Gillison covered the Khmer Rouge trials, mineral resources, environmental policy, human rights and national security. His investigative projects included the declassification of 1,300 pages of F.B.I. records from a 1997 political massacre. His work has appeared in Foreign Policy, Time, The Village Voice, GlobalPost and The New York Times, among other publications. Gillison received an undergraduate degree in French literature from Oberlin College.

Elizabeth Grossman

Elizabeth Grossman is a freelance journalist and writer specializing in environmental and science issues with a focus on environmental, occupational and public health. Her work has appeared in publications that include Scientific American, Environmental Health Perspectives, Yale Environment 360, Environmental Health News, The Pump Handle, InsideClimate News, The Washington Post, Salon, The Nation and Mother Jones. Her books include Chasing Molecules, High Tech Trash and Watershed. Her reporting has taken her from the Arctic to south of the Equator and more than 1 kilometer underground. She has been a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and received support for her work from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and Overbrook Foundation among others. She received her B.A. from Yale University.

Clare Howard

Clare Howard is a former reporter for the Journal Star newspaper in Peoria, IL, where she had worked for 24 years and won numerous awards. She specializes in issues of justice, equality, and basic human rights in the areas of food, economic development, childhood lead poisoning and living with HIV/AIDS. She has a B.A. in history from Ithaca College, an M.S. in journalism from University of Illinois, and a Ph.D. in philosophy with a specialization in journalism from Union Institute and University.

Michael Janofsky

Michael Janofsky is a freelance writer, editor and consultant who has helped out various organizations with their particular needs. His areas of interest include education, energy, the environment, politics, the economy and art, although in a long newspaper career, he has written on a much broader array of subjects. He has spent the majority of his career at The New York Times, with prior stops at the Miami Herald and the now-defunct Baltimore Evening Sun. He was the recipient of eight Publishers Awards at the Times. He received his B.A. from the University of Maryland.

Sheila Kaplan

Sheila Kaplan is an investigative reporter and television producer who specializes in the environment, public health, and the role of money in politics. She is a fellow at Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics and a former lecturer in political reporting at the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. A 2001-02 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University, Kaplan has won numerous other journalism honors, among them the Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) Prize for Distinguished Reporting, the Lowell Mellett Award for Media Criticism (now called the Bart Richards Prize), a Screenwriters Guild nomination, and several national Emmy nominations. She received a B.S. in Urban Studies from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a Master of Journalism degree from the University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

Lucy Komisar

Lucy Komisar is an investigative journalist who has written extensively about the secret underbelly of the global financial system, including offshore bank and corporate secrecy, and its links to corporate and political crime and corruption. She has also written about the empowerment of dictators and oligarchs, drug and arms trafficking, terrorism, and tax evasion by corporations and the very rich. Her dozens of articles on the subject have appeared in publications as diverse as The Nation and the Wall Street Journal. For a decade, she has followed and written about tax fraudster and conman William Browder, including 2014 and 2017 pieces for 100Reporters. She won 2010 Gerald Loeb, National Press Club, Sigma Delta Chi, and National Headliner awards for “Florida Aided Allen Stanford, Suspect in Huge Swindle,” an exposé of Ponzi-schemer Allen Stanford that she brought to the Miami Herald. She revealed how the Florida Banking Department allowed Stanford to set up a Miami office to move money offshore without regulation. She received her degree from Queens College.

Anna Lenzer

Anna Lenzer is a freelance reporter and researcher with an interest in water issues. Her work has been supported by the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute, and published by outlets including Mother Jones, The Independent (UK) and The Age (Australia). Her investigation into Fiji Water was featured as a Mother Jones cover story, one of three issues for which Mother Jones was awarded a National Magazine Award for General Excellence in 2010, and won a Western Publishing Association award for best feature writing. Lenzer has worked as a freelance researcher for Rolling Stone and as a contributing reporter to investigative books including Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11 by Wayne Barrett and Dan Collins, published by HarperCollins. She received her B.Sc. from the University of British Columbia in Integrated Sciences.

Paul Maidment

Paul Maidment is the founder and editor in chief of Bystander Media, a company that advises legacy publications and Internet news startups. He has written about where international politics, economics and finance overlap, which stretches from political risk assessment to financial regulation. He was editor of and executive editor of Forbes magazine for almost a decade. Previous to joining Forbes at the start of 2001, he had been the founding editor of the Financial Times’, which he launched in 1995 in a joint print-online role. He has served as a writer and editor with The Economist in Asia, Europe and the U.S. as well as with Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal Asia, and the BBC. His signature web video column, Notes on the News, about the intersection of global business, politics and economics, is the recipient of a Media Business Best Online Business Video Award. He was inducted into min’s Digital Hall of Fame in 2010 and is the recipient of many industry awards, including Editor of the Year and Media Business Innovation Awards. He received his degree from Oxford University.

Katrina Manson

Katrina Manson is an award-winning journalist who has reported on Africa for more than ten years. She was most recently east Africa correspondent for the Financial Times, based in Nairobi for the paper 2011-15. Previously, she lived in Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and DR Congo, and also worked in several other African countries, including Ethiopia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mauritania and Somalia, as well as the odd reporting trip to Afghanistan and Paris. Her FT Weekend Magazine front cover “Welcome to Mogadishu” won the 2014 Press Award at the One World Media Awards, a feature judges described as “a compelling, multi-faceted tour de forces of a reportage”. She was previously correspondent for Reuters, Spectator Business and Global Post, contributed to the BBC, The Economist and the Independent, and for seven years was editor of Africa Investor magazine. Previous co-publications include the Bradt Guide to Burkina Faso, the Bradt Guide to Sierra Leone and part of Fodor’s Morocco guide. She read Modern History and Politics at Balliol College, Oxford University, where she took a double first and was a prizewinning scholar. She produces and presents video features regularly for the FT and runs a verified Twitter feed @KatrinaManson since 2012, with more than 10,000 followers and an Instagram account @katrinamanson.

David Margolick

David Margolick is a former long-time contributing editor at Vanity Fair, where he has written about politics, media, literature and culture, history, Jewish affairs, and sports. He’s held similar positions at Newsweek and Portfolio. Prior to joining Vanity Fair he was a legal affairs reporter at The New York Times, where he wrote the weekly “At the Bar” column and covered the trials of O.J. Simpson, Lorena Bobbitt, and William Kennedy Smith. He remains a frequent contributor to The New York Times Book Review. His work as also appeared in The New York Review of Books, Tablet, and the Forward. He has taught in New York University’s Department of Journalism. In his fifteen years at the Times, the paper nominated him four times for the Pulitzer Prize. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Stanford Law School.

Micheline Maynard

Micheline Maynard is the senior editor of Changing Gears, a multi-media public broadcasting project looking at the future of the industrial Midwest. She is a regular contributor to The New York Times, where, as a senior business correspondent and Detroit bureau chief, she has written at length about the airline and automobile industry. She has written for Fortune magazine, and has been a staff writer or bureau chief at USA TODAY, Newsday, U.S. News & World Report, and the Reuters News Service. She was part of a team of journalists honored by the Society of American Business Writers and Editors in 2010 for the Times’ coverage, in both print and online, of the General Motors bankruptcy. In 2009, she was named the 11th winner of the annual Nathaniel Nash Award, which honors a Times reporter who excels in business and economics coverage. She also won the Times’ Publisher’s Award seven times. She was named a distinguished visitor at Washington and Lee University in 2010, a media fellow by the Japan Society of New York in 2002, and was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan in 1999-2000. In 1989-1990, she was chosen as a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Business and Economics Journalism at Columbia University. She holds an undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and a graduate degree from Columbia University.

Josh Meyer

Josh Meyer is the director of education and outreach at the Medill National Security Journalism Initiative, which covers national security issues out of Medill, the journalism school of Northwestern University. He has written about national security, terrorism, organized crime, drug trafficking, and government during his 20-year tenure at The Los Angeles Times, the last nine of which he spent as chief terrorism reporter in Washington, DC. As Medill’s McCormick Lecturer in National Security Studies, he teaches graduate level journalism classes on how to cover conflicts, terrorism and national security. At The Times, Meyer was part of a team that won two staff Pulitzers and an Overseas Press Club award for his pre and post-9/11 coverage of Al Qaeda’s efforts to establish a covert U.S. presence and launch attacks on U.S. soil. He received two Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Massachusetts, one in Social Thought and Political Economy, and the other in Journalism.

Evelyn Nieves

Evelyn Nieves is a journalist based in San Francisco. She has been a reporter, columnist and San Francisco Bureau Chief of The New York Times, a national political correspondent for the Washington Post and San Francisco reporter for the Associated Press. She has also written for, and other publications. She covers impoverished communities in the United States, especially in Indian County and Appalachia. Recently, she completed an in-depth profile of The Three Affilated Tribes, which has been transformed by the Bakken oil boom in North Dakota, for Barbara Ehrenreich’s Economic Inequality Reporting Project.

Mike Sager

Mike Sager has been a writer at large for Esquire magazine for the last dozen years. A former Washington Post staff writer and Rolling Stone contributing editor, Sager has made a career chronicling the dark underbelly of the American scene and psyche. For his stories, he has lived with a crack gang, a 625-pound man, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, heroin addicts on the Lower East Side, Aryan Nations troopers, U.S. Marines, Tupperware saleswomen, and high school boys. He is credited with pioneering Esquire‘s popular celebrity interview format, What I’ve Learned. Eight of his articles have been optioned for or have inspired Hollywood films. He has lectured extensively in journalism schools across the country. In 2010 he won the American Society of Magazine Editors’ National Magazine award for profile writing. He received his B.A. from Emory University.

Joel Shurkin

Joel Shurkin is a freelance science writer specializing in medicine and technology. He was a reporter and bureau chief for UPI, for whom he covered the civil war in the Dominican Republic and the aftermath of the Six Day War in 1967. He has worked as a national correspondent for Reuters and has headed the Reuters space bureau, covering all the manned and unmanned missions from Apollo 11 through the first shuttle flights. He has taught journalism at Stanford University, the University of California at Santa Cruz (and the UC Berkeley Extension), Towson University in Maryland, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks where he was Snedden Chair in Journalism. For 12 years he was science and medical writer at The Philadelphia Inquirer, and was a lead writer on the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for coverage of Three Mile Island. One of his co-bylined TMI stories was nominated for the 100 best news stories of the 20th century by the journalism department at the University of Maryland. He won the Aviation and Space Writers Award twice. He was a Professional Journalism Fellow at Stanford University in 1979, stayed on as science writer and instructor in journalism, and is the founder of Stanford’s Science Writing Internship Program. He graduated Emory University with a degree in humanities.

Ken Silverstein

Ken Silverstein is the Washington editor for Harper’s magazine and writes the blog Washington Babylon for Harper’s online. He has profiled Barack Obama for the magazine as well as led major investigations into arms trafficking, money laundering and corruption in the international oil business. He was a former reporter for The Los Angeles Times, and has also written for Foreign Policy, Mother Jones, Wallpaper, Slate, and Salon. From 1989 to 1993 he was a correspondent for the Associated Press in Brazil. His stories on ties between the government of Equatorial Guinea and major U.S. companies–including Riggs Bank, ExxonMobil and Marathon Oil–led to the convening of a federal grand jury, and to investigations by the Senate and the Securities and Exchange Commission. His report, co-written with Chuck Neubauer, on a lobbying business opened by Karen Weldon, daughter of Rep. Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, led to a federal investigation. Silverstein’s 2004 series in The Los Angeles Times, “The Politics of Petroleum,” won an Overseas Press Club Award. He received his B.A. from The Evergreen State College

Marilyn Berlin Snell

Marilyn Berlin Snell is a San Francisco-based journalist and editor who has most recently worked on investigative stories related to the environment and politics. She has freelanced travel stories for The New York Times, written one of the first stories on aging to be published in an American fashion magazine, Mirabella, and conducted one of the last interviews with Nobel climate scientist Stephen Schneider before his untimely death. Snell also done the odd piece for “This American Life.” Her work has also appeared in The New Republic, Discover, California Lawyer, Mother Jones, NPQ, and Sierra. Most recently Snell wrote the cover story for High Country News Magazine on the corruption charges plaguing the West’s largest Indian tribe. She received her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and her Masters from the University of Southern California’s Center for International Journalism.

Jenka Soderberg

Jenka Soderberg is the co-founder of New York-based web design company the WCR Collective. In 1999, she helped organize the Independent Media Center, which provided grassroots coverage of the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle and World Bank protests in Washington D.C. The organization now comprises a network of more than 200 centers worldwide. In 2005, working for Common Ground Relief, she built and managed the website that was the main coordination point for thousands of volunteers in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. She joined KBOO public radio in 2007. As news director, she developed a curriculum and training schedule for the news staff, volunteers and other station employees. She also has developed and implemented media training programs in the West Bank for the International Middle East Media Center. She has a bachelor’s degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.

Joseph Sorrentino

Joseph Sorrentino is an Albuquerque, New Mexico-based freelance writer and photographer. In the United States, his reporting has focused on farmworkers. He’s reported on sexual harassment and abuse of women, wage theft and social security fraud. In Mexico, he’s written about life in rural villages that provide labor for U.S. farms, fair trade organizations and, most recently, Central American migration through that country. His latest investigations have been of conditions in the detention centers for Central American mothers and children in south Texas. He contributes regularly to In These Times, Commonweal, and Mexico City’s La Jornada del Campo. His work has been supported by The Fund for Investigative Journalism, The Puffin Foundation and the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute.

Marjorie Valbrun

Marjorie Valbrun writes extensively about Haiti and U.S. policy in the Caribbean and Latin America. She is a contributing writer for, a web magazine of the Washington Post Company, where she writes about the intersection of race and politics, immigration, and poverty in developing countries. She also writes for and blogs about race and gender issues for Slate. She has served as a national correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, an editorial writer for The Baltimore Sun, an urban affairs reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and a general assignment reporter and foreign correspondent for The Miami Herald. Her opinion articles and essays have appeared in The Washington Post, Newsweek, Heart and Soul, Men’s Health, Black Issues Book Review and Newsday, among others. She has also done commentary on National Public Radio, the British Broadcasting Corporation, American Public Media, MSNBC, CBS, Fox News Channel, Black Entertainment Television News, and the Al Arabiya News Channel. She received her M.S. from Columbia University’s Journalism School and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.

Leslie Wayne

Leslie Wayne, former senior editor at 100Reporters, is an award-winning business reporter, formerly at The New York Times. She joined The Times in 1981 and has covered Wall Street, banking industry regulatory reform, municipal finance scandals and, most recently, the aerospace and military industries. Wayne has also specialized in the intersection of business and politics and has reported from The Times’ Washington bureau on lobbying and money-and-politics. She served on The Times’ campaign finance team from 1996 to 2010, covering campaign money-raising and looking into the finances of the Presidential candidates.

Wayne is a winner of the “Best of Bagehot” award, was named four times as a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, and is a five-time winner of The New York Times’ Publisher’s Award. She had previously worked at The Philadelphia Inquirer and The News and Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina. Ms. Wayne is an honors graduate of The University of Michigan and got her start in journalism working on The Michigan Daily, the campus newspaper. She holds an M.B.A. in finance from Columbia Business School, and was a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Business and Economic Journalism.

Stephanie Woodard

Stephanie Woodard is long-time writer on Native American issues, including as a correspondent for Native-owned publications such as Indian Country Today, a national newsmagazine, and Native Sun News, a Northern Plains regional paper. She has a human-rights blog on the Huffington Post and has reported on food, gardening, health, culture, and related topics in magazines such as Prevention, Saveur, and Preservation. During two decades as an editor, Woodard’s positions included executive editor of the business magazine Your Company, senior articles editor of More, and senior news editor of Ladies’ Home Journal. She has received awards from Folio, the George Polk Center for Investigative Reporting, and the Native American Journalists Association, of which she is an associate member. Many of her articles are collected at

Rick Young

Rick Young is an investigative producer who has been working with the PBS documentary series FRONTLINE since the early ’90s. He has reported on a wide array of subjects, including government accountability, environmental issues, politics, finance, and business. In 2009, Young launched a production partnership between FRONTLINE and the Investigative Reporting Workshop at The American University in Washington, D.C. The Workshop co-productions have included investigations of the regional airline industry and an in-depth look at the Obama Administration’s immigration policies. He was the producer and correspondent of Gunrunners, a 2002 documentary about the illegal small arms trade in West Africa. Prior to that, he worked as a producer on FRONTLINE programs with the Kirk Documentary Group and with the Center for Investigative Reporting. Before turning to journalism, Young spent six years as an investigator for the U.S. House of Representatives. He was a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University in 2007-08 and his work has won two Emmys, a Writer’s Guild award, and two Sigma Delta Chi awards. He received his B.A. from Colorado College.

David Zalaznik

David Zalaznik is currently a staff photographer at the Journal Star in Peoria, IL. He developed a collection of 90 of his photographs into a 2008 book entitled “Life Along the Illinois River” (University of Illinois Press). His work has been consistently recognized by the National Press Photographers Association and the Illinois Press Photographers Association. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa with a B.A. in journalism.

Katie Zezima

Katie Zezima is currently on sabbatical as a Knight-Wallace fellow at the University of Michigan, where she is studying prescription drug abuse. Prior to the fellowship, Katie spent eight years in the Boston bureau of The New York Times, where she covered stories including the clergy sexual abuse scandal, same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, the Virginia Tech shootings, and the prescription drug abuse epidemic. She specializes in stories involving prescription drugs and agriculture and is focusing on the elderly during her second semester at Michigan. Katie graduated from Boston University, where she was editor of The Daily Free Press, the independent student newspaper.


More From the Series

More From the Series

Fitah, 32, Somalia
Fitah has been a refugee for ten years but has only been in Brazil for a few months. After leaving his home country in 2007 due to the civil war, he went to South Africa, where he stayed until March 2017. Paying $4,000 USD to smugglers in Johannesburg, he managed to enter Brazil posing as a South African refugee. He wanted to travel on to the United States, but the “travel package” offered by his smugglers only gave him two options, Turkey or Brazil. He chose the latter.

Afonso, 28, Congo
Upstairs in one of the big bedrooms of the Scalabrinian Mission Afonso, a 28-year-old migrant from Congo, explained how he came from Kinshasa in 2015 by boat, escaping from the violent conflicts raging in his own country. He hired the service of smugglers and came on a cargo ship with a number of others. He paid for part of the trip by working on the ship. He was left in the coast of Santos, a city 55km away from Sao Paulo. He is now searching for a job.

“K.”, 39, Sierra Leone
At Caritas, a non-profit providing support to refugees and migrants, we met “K” (who asked not to reveal his full name), who had left Sierra Leone three months ago. His grandfather was a chief priest of a secret society for whom it is a tradition to initiate the oldest son of the family when the former elder dies. A Christian and a graduate in Information Technology, “K” refused to take part in the ritual and says he was then targeted. He fled to stay with family in the interior of the country, but was kidnapped and held captive in the forest. One night he managed to escape to the city and met a woman from a Christian organization which provided airplane tickets so he could leave immediately for Brazil.

Jorge, 25, Guinea-Bissau
Jorge is a trained engineer who came to Brazil two years ago, who is now selling counterfeit and smuggled clothes in a local market. His Brazilian girlfriend is now pregnant and he is waiting for a work permit in order to get a job as mason. He said that when Federal Police went to his home address to confirm he was living there - an essential step in the process of issuing a work visa to a migrant - his house mates thought they wanted to arrest him and denied he lived there. It delayed his chance of getting a permit that would allow him a legal and better-remunerated job. The lack of trust in Brazilian law enforcement is a huge issue among refugees and migrants, many say that they rarely provide help or support, but instead only make their lives more difficult.

Abu, 37, Senegal
In República Square in the downtown Centro neighbourhood, African migrants sell clothes - some of them counterfeit designer wear,, some not - and handicrafts. Abu, 37, from Thiès in western Senegal, came to Brazil in 2010 with the hope that World Cup would make Brazil a prosperous country and offer him a new life. He says migrants should be respected for having the courage to leave everything behind and restart from nothing. Discrimination and lack of jobs are an issue for Abu, so he says his plan now is to save money and go to Europe as soon as possible. When he first arrived, he had money to stay in a hotel for seven days. After that, he met people who got him a job as a street vendor for contraband and traditional Senegalese clothes sewn in Brazil with African fabrics. Every time the police come and seize the goods he sells, it can take up to five months to recover the money lost.

Ibrahim, 41, Senegal
Members of the Senegalese community gather in República Square every week for a party, mounting up their own sound system, bringing drums and singing. On the night we visit around 50 people were dancing and chanting traditional Senegalese songs. Later they take a seat and discuss issues important to the community. Ibrahim, one of the group, has a talent for sewing fake Nike and Adidas logos to clothing in an improvised atelier nearby. Although he is a professional tailor and prefers to dedicate his time to his own original work, he says financial pressures meant he was forced to join the market of counterfeit designer-label clothing.

Guaianazes street, downtown Sao Paulo

On Rua Guaianazes there is a run-down mosque on the second floor of an old and degraded building, which is frequented by many African migrants. Outside, the smell of marijuana and cheap crack is inebriating. Crowds gather on the streets in front of the packed bars, while different people ask us if we want cheap marihuana. We enter one bar that has literally no chairs or tables: there is a poster of Cameroon’s most famous footballer Samuel Eto’o on the wall, and a big snooker table in the centre while all around customers gamble, argue and smoke. The bar tender tells us it is a Nigerian bar, but that it is frequented by Africans of all nationalities. Among the offers of cheap marijuana, crack and cocaine, laughs, music and loud chat, you can barely hear to the imam's call. Rua Guaianazes is considered to be the heart of Cracolandia, a territory controlled by organized crime for more than a decade and now reportedly home to some African-led drug trafficking gangs.

Santa Efigenia neighbourhood
Santa Efigenia is an area of around ten street blocks in the heart of the Centro area where locals says you “won't find anything original product or any product that entered the country legally”. There are dozens of galleries with local merchants, migrants and hawkers selling their wares, and crowds shouting and grabbing to sell counterfeit and contraband electronics late in the night. When we visited, a homeless old man was setting a campfire out of trash to heat himself on the corner, the people passing by aggressively yelling at him due to the black smoke his improvised urban survival mechanism was generating.

“H”, 42, Angola
“H” is an Angolan woman now living in a house rented from the Baptist church. The area outside the house is a “boca de fumo” - an open drug dealing spot managed by armed guards. “H’s” house is annexed to the church building itself, and is very rustic and simple. She arrived a year ago with two of her children, and also pregnant. She says that after the family of the Angolan president took over the market of smuggled goods in her country, her small import business started to crumble. Her husband and two more daughters are still there. She is currently unemployed, but happy that her young son is studying, although often he comes home complaining about racism at school. “H” does not want him to play with the neighbourhood children, she is afraid he will be drawn to narco-trafficking if he gets in with the wrong crowd. In the long run, she wants to go back to Angola, but only under “a different political situation.”

Lalingé restaurant, Sao Paulo
Arami, the owner of the bustling restaurant Lalingé – which means “The Princess” in her language – has been in Brazil for seven years. She opened the restaurant a year ago so that the African community in the Centro neighbourhood has a place to gather and eat food from their continent. It’s the kind of place people arrive at any time of the night or day, order their food and chat.

Scalabrinian Mission, Canindé neighbourhood
The Scalabrinian Mission in the neighborhood of Canindé provides philanthropic aid to migrants. Soror Eva Souza, the director, says they have helped people from Africa (Angola, Congo, Guinea, Togo, Nigeria, South Africa, Mali, British Guyana, Somalia, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Cameroon and Uganda), North Africa and the Middle East (Syria, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt), Asia (Cambodia, South Korea, the Philippines, Bangladesh), Europe (The Netherlands, Russia, France) and Latin America and the Caribbean (Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Haiti, Cuba). The Mission provides housing, food, clothing, medication and facilities for migrants. They only receive a small amount of financial support from local government, but work to help migrants find a job so they can live independently. Souza says many of those who arrive at the house are ill: some are seriously injured, others sick from the journey or the conditions they were living in before arriving in Sao Paulo. Since 2015, she says she has seen  human trafficking and slavery victims, drug mules, political refugees, and people who have lost their families en route. When we visit 40-year-old Mohamed Ali, from Morocco, was trying to find a job with the support of the Mission.

Clement Kamano, 24, Guinea-Conakry
Kamano was studying Social Sciences at Université Général Lansana Conté when he took part in the protests of September 28th, 2009, which ended up in a massacre with more than 150 people killed. Afterwards, he was repeatedly harassed because of his involvement in social movements. Fearing he might be killed, his father bought him a ticket to Brazil. Now he is a political refugee, who is almost fluent in Portuguese, and who enjoys talking about the sociologist-philosophers Emile Durkheim and Max Weber, even Leibniz and Nietzsche. He is currently applying to join a federal university in Sao Paulo.

What’s “cereza” in Arabic?
In a bright classroom in the centre of Quito, a group of students sit around a whiteboard. “Yo veo la televisión con mis amigos en la tarde,” they repeat after the teacher, “I watch television with my friends in the afternoon.” “Yo tomo el bus par ir al trabajo,” “I take the bus to go to work.”

Around the table are two Syrians who fled the war, one Cameroonian who says he wanted to escape the Anglo-French conflict in his homeland, two Afghans, one a former top-ranking police officer, an Egyptian and a Sri Lankan who wanted to go anywhere where he could make enough money to help his family. Migrants who arrive in Ecuador from Africa, Asia and the Middle East face a steep learning curve: it might be relatively easy to enter the country, thanks to Ecuador’s liberal open-border policy, but finding work here and learning Spanish can be difficult. Today their teacher is translating between Arabic, Spanish and English. “Market”? asks one. “Souk” replies another member of the group, while a fellow student does a quick translation into Pashtu.

Experts say some of those who come through language centres like these are planning on continuing their journey north, others on staying in Ecuador.

A little piece of Nigeria, in Quito
As the night closes in, Grace, a 25-year-old law graduate from Cameroon, dashes between a barbeque out on the street and the kitchen in the small Nigerian restaurant where she is working the night shift, as a television showing an African football league plays in the background. She wears a dark top, and her hair pulled back, as she fans the tilapia grilling on the coals. When she was denied a Canadian visa, despite having a scholarship, she decided she still wanted to leave Cameroon, where she complains of a lack of jobs and opportunities for the country’s English-speaking minority. With three friends, she bought a ticket heading west for Ecuador where she heard she could enter with her invitation to study at a language school. She soon converted to a missionary visa, and now works here and sings in the choir at a church up the hill, teaching Sunday school at the weekends. Like many of her customers, she also wants to travel north to the US or Canada, but only with the correct papers. “If you go without papers and through the jungle, you might be lost. Then my family is lost as well.”

The Afghan police officer
Asadullah, a former police officer, spent 31 years training new recruits and fighting terrorist groups in his country. Among the documents he smuggled out with him is a photograph of him with Robert Gates, the former US Secretary of Defence, paperwork from a training programme at the National Defence University in Washington DC, and training certificate from the George C Marshall centre in Europe, signed by the German defence minister.

His career had been high-profile and illustrious, but while that brought recognition from the Americans and their allies, it also brought him the unwelcome attention of the Taliban and other extremist groups.

For three years before he fled, he says terrorists were calling him saying he needed to end his work with the police. “Come and work with us,” they’d coax. When he refused, someone tried to throw acid on his child at school – that was when he decided to leave.

Today the family are renting a spacious flat in central Quito, with a big beige sofa and swept wood floors. A big TV is mounted on the wall behind him, and one of his children brings in sweet tea and fruits. His wife and six of his children are with him, awaiting a decision from the migration authorities on their asylum case. For the sake of his children – who all speak English – Asadullah wants to go to the US.

“I want to go to America, but it’s a process: it will take a lot of time,” he says. “We have been waiting to get an answer. I only came here because the bad people wanted to kill us. I’m just here so I’m safe.” He considered going to Europe, but considered the route there more dangerous. “Many Afghan people wanted to go to Europe, to Turkey, but many people died in the sea.”

The Artist
Mughni Sief’s paintings once made him a well-known artist in his native Syria: he taught fine art in a top university, and was invited to Lebanon to show his work. But since the war, and his decision to flee, his paintings have taken on a darker tone. One , “Even The Sea Had A Share Of Our Lives, It Was Tough” touches on the horrors so many Syrians have seen as they try to flee to safety.

“This painting is about Syrians crossing the sea to go to Europe from Turkey. I put this fish head and cut the head off to show the culture of ISIS. This here is the boat people,” he explains in his spartan apartment in Ecuador’s capital, Quito. “Syria was empty of people, and there are so many people dying in the sea.”

From the windows of his bedroom-come-studio, you can see the mountains, washing hanging in the sunshine on a neighbours balcony, beige tiles. Behind him the bed sheets – which came with the house – are adorned with images of teddy bears and the phrase “happy day.”

In the corner is a small, rolling suitcase in which he brought his wood carving tools, crayons, and charcoals from Syria: everything from his old life that he dared bring without alerting attention that he was leaving the country. In a small backpack he bought a Frederick Nietshce paperback, a birthday present from a friend, and a book he bought in Syria: “Learn Spanish in 5 days”. He didn’t bring any photos, in case his bag was searched.

Frustrated by restrictions he faced as a Syrian in Lebanon, he started to research other places where he might make a new start. He read that Ecuador was “one of the few countries that don't ask for a visa from Syrians. I had problems leaving Lebanon, and in El Dorado in Colombia but at Quito I came in no problem. The only question was: why are you coming to Ecuador, do you have money? I said nothing about asking for asylum so they just gave me a tourist visa.”

Soon after he made his asylum application, and today, he paints while he waits for a decision. “Before the war I was focused just on humans, on women, but when the war started that changed, and I began focusing on the miserable life that we live in Syria,” he says as he arranges three paintings on the bed. In one, he explains, is a woman who can’ face something in her life, so prefers to stop speaking.

Although many of the migrants that make their way to Ecuador are able to travel more independently than those making the journey across the Mediterranean, examples abound of exploitation of some who arrive here. Mohammad, for example. He’s  a 24-year-old from Sri Lanka who first tried his luck in Malaysia, but was cheated by a travel fixer who took his money while promising him a work visa that never materialized. When he was arrested for working without the proper documents, a friend had to come and pay the police to get him out. Travelling west, to Ecuador, after religious violence broke out in his hometown, he says he paid someone he knows to help sort out his travel, unsure of how much he took as a cut. When he flew in, alongside a Sri Lankan family, the agent arranged for him to be picked up by an unknown woman who charged each of them again to take them to a hostel. He is now renting a room from a man he met at the mosque. Every day continues to be a struggle, he said.

“At home, I saw so many troubles each day. I decided to come here thinking maybe things will be good. But I did one week working in a restaurant, they treated me like a slave. For three months I was searching for work. They are good people here but I have no opportunities here. Seven months I have nothing, I’m wasting my time.”

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