Human rights journalist Ada Petriczko joins CIS as its Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow

Human rights journalist Ada Petriczko joins CIS as its Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow

Petriczko will research topics from her recent reportage, including the rise of Hindu nationalism in India and the stability of democracy in her home country of Poland

August 16, 2021
Ada Petriczko in the field holding a camera smiling
August 16, 2021

Polish journalist Ada Petriczko will be joining the Center for International Studies (CIS) as its 2021 Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow. The fellowship is awarded annually by The International Women’s Media Foundation and provides its recipient with educational, training and coverage opportunities related to their reporting on global injustice.

Petriczko’s fellowship will include work as a research associate at CIS, as well as reporting positions with both The Boston Globe and The New York Times.

“The Center is thrilled to have Ada Petriczko join our research community this fall. Her work demonstrates a brave and passionate commitment to victims of human rights and social justice abuses, very much in the spirit of Elizabeth Neuffer. My hope is that she will find her time at MIT welcoming and fruitful,” said Richard Samuels, director of the Center for International Studies and Ford International Professor of Political Science.

Neuffer, whom Samuels knew personally, died in an automobile accident in 2003 while on assignment in Iraq as a reporter for the Boston Globe. In her honor, the Center helped the IWMF establish the Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship to advance women journalists working in the field of human rights and justice.

Focusing on the ways communities and governments silence women’s voices, Petriczko will explore themes within her past reporting, like the journey of women who have survived acid attacks and the rise of Hindu nationalism in India. She will also report on her home country of Poland, where democratic stability and women’s rights are under threat.

“I am overjoyed. It is a great honor and an even greater responsibility,” said Petriczko. “Like Elizabeth, I see myself as a witness, committed to telling stories that are often obliterated. Who is allowed to speak and who is being silenced determines the shape of our society. I look forward to improving my skills under the mentorship of some of journalism’s greatest academics and editors and hope to become a valuable voice in the current events of my country.”

Prior to accepting the Neuffer Fellowship, Petriczko worked as a freelance journalist and foreign correspondent in Poland, covering women’s rights, social justice, and culture for Gazeta Wyborcza, Wysokie Obcasy, Vespucci Group, Are We Europe, Przekrój and others. Petriczko was also an editor at NewsMavens, the first European newsroom run entirely by women, to counter the underrepresentation of female journalists in the media industry. During this time, she led a cross-border reporting series ‘Witch Hunt,’ supported by the Robert Bosch Foundation.

Petriczko has also reported from North India, where she researched “Missing Women”, a non-fiction series and book about the 45 million women missing from the Indian population due to sex selection; the project was supported by the IWMF and will be released by Agora and Gazeta Wyborcza. Petriczko holds degrees from Goldsmiths College in London, the University of Warsaw, and the Polish School of Reportage.

“One of the most important ways to understand history as it happens is to focus on how those in power change whose voices are heard,” says Elisa Lees Muñoz, executive director of the IWMF. “Elizabeth Neuffer presented us with a critical way to review how we understand human rights. We are thrilled to welcome Ada as our 2021 IWMF Elizabeth Neuffer fellow and eager to see her reporting on cautionary narratives from women in marginalized communities worldwide.”

More information about the Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship and other programs can be found on the IWMF website.

The Center for International Studies (CIS) supports interna­tional research and education at MIT. It is the home of MIT’s Security Studies Program; the MIT International Science & Technology Initiative, its pioneering global education program; the Program on Emerging Technologies; and seminars and research on migration, South Asia politics, the Middle East, cybersecurity, nuclear weapons, and East Asia. The Center has traditionally been aligned with the social sciences while also working with MIT’s premier science and engineering scholars. CIS produces research that creatively addresses global issues while helping to educate the next generation of global citizens.