The Kosovo journalist will research and report during her time at MIT, Boston Globe, and the New York Times
Una Hajdari, a freelance print and broadcast journalist from Prishtina, Kosovo, joins the MIT Center for International (CIS) as the 2018 Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow. The fellowship, offered by the International Women's Media Foundation, provides a unique academic and professional opportunity for women journalists focusing on human rights and social justice reporting.
Beginning in September, Hajdari will spend the seven-month fellowship as a research associate in residence at CIS and can be reached a firstname.lastname@example.org. She will also complete journalism internships with The Boston Globe and The New York Times.
Una Hajdari began her journalism career in post-conflict Kosovo, focusing on the lingering tensions between the Serbian and Albanian communities there. Over the years, she has covered politics, minorities, nationalism, inter-ethnic tensions, right-wing groups and hate speech in the Western Balkans for regional and international English-language outlets. Hajdari served as managing editor of Kosovo 2.0, a trilingual outlet based in Prishtina, and was a correspondent for Balkan Insight and a contributor for AFP. After completing a journalism exchange program in Berlin in 2014, she began working with German-language outlets as well. While her main focus is on print journalism, she has worked as a television reporter for N1, the regional CNN affiliate in the Balkans and as a contributor for Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen (SRF), the Swiss national broadcaster.
The fellowship was created in memory of Elizabeth Neuffer, the Boston Globe correspondent and 1998 IWMF Courage in Journalism Award winner who died in 2003 while reporting in Iraq. In collaboration with Neuffer’s family and friends, the IWMF started this program to honor her legacy while advancing her work in the fields of human rights and social justice.
As a high school student in Mostar, a city that faced some of the most difficult times during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hajdari read Elizabeth Neuffer’s book, “The Key to My Neighbour’s House: Seeking Justice in Bosnia and Rwanda.” She was drawn to apply for the fellowship after coming across Neuffer’s articles detailing the breakup of Yugoslavia and conflict in Bosnia and Kosovo.
“I’ve lived in both of those countries and have covered all the former Yugoslav republics over the years,” Hajdari said. “The fact that the phenomena Elizabeth Neuffer described in the early 90s – the prejudices, the social anxiety over the dominance of one ethnic group over another, as well as the nationalism – are still very much present nowadays, is troubling.”
Hajdari will use her time as the Elizabeth Neuffer fellow to highlight the issues that affect the everyday lives of people in the Balkans and in Eastern Europe. “Oftentimes, outlets focus on the ‘big geopolitical narratives’ — West vs. East, the US vs. Russia – and neglect the stories that don’t necessarily fit into this polarized perspective,” she said.
“We’re delighted to welcome Una Hajdari to MIT,” said Richard Samuels, Ford International Professor of Political Science and director of CIS. “Our community will be enriched by the wealth of experience and insight she brings from her courageous reporting in the Balkans. I hope she finds her time here equally rewarding.”
About the IWMF
Since 1990, the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) has worked to unleash the potential of women journalists to transform the global news media. Through our programs and grants, we help ensure that women journalists worldwide are fully supported, protected, and recognized for their vital contributions to the news media at all levels, and to global press freedom as well. By empowering women journalists to become leaders in their fields, we aim to increase demand for news with a diversity of voices, stories, and perspectives, as a cornerstone of democracy. Learn more at www.iwmf.org.