The Frank Islam and Debbie Driesman Foundation has selected Gulam Jeelani, special correspondent for the Hindustan Times, as its 2018 Fellow for the Alfred Friendly Press Partners program. The Alfred Friendly fellowships bring journalists from around the world to the U.S. for a six-month program, which includes training at the Missouri School of Journalism and working for a major U.S. news organization.
Jeelani works at the main office of the Hindustan Times in New Delhi, India.
As part of the national news team, he covers politics, development and socio-economic issues such as housing for the poor. He earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in mass communication at Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh, where Islam and Driesman are also benefactors.
“We decided to support the AFPP fellowship because as immigrants to the United States we realize what a critical role the free press plays in this great democracy and what a contribution journalists make to advancing the cause of a free society,” Islam said. “We chose Gulam, from my motherland of India, to be our fellow because his background indicates that he has the interests and capabilities to refine his craft here and to make an even bigger impact on the Indian democracy when he returns home.”
Jeelani said he’s honored to be the Frank Islam and Debbie Driesman Fellow for 2018. “It will enable me to gain a first-hand understanding and expertise in the ways of American journalism,” he said. “I will use that to enhance my reporting in India and to share what I have learned with my colleagues at the Hindustan Times.”
Six other journalists from Ukraine, Sudan, Jordan and Mexico will be joining Jeelani in the Alfred Friendly program this year. In addition, six journalists from Macedonia will participate in a condensed version of the program.
“We are pleased to be associated with the incredibly important work of Alfred Friendly Press Partners,” Islam added. “Freedom of the press requires constant vigilance and care. It’s a precious gift given to us by previous generations. It must be nurtured and sustained both in our country and throughout the world.”
The fellowships carry on the legacy of Alfred Friendly and his desire for greater international understanding and cooperation. He was managing editor of the Washington Post and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the 1967 Arab-Israeli Six Day War. His reporting about the war for the Post included eyewitness accounts and revealed Soviet military participation in the conflict.
This marks Alfred Friendly Press Partner’s 34th year, and 2018 is the 50th anniversary of Friendly’s Pulitzer Prize.