Colombian journalist receives Neuffer Fellowship, joins CIS

July 23, 2008

CAMBRIDGE, MA—The MIT Center for International Studies (CIS) announces today that Jenny Manrique, a Colombian freelance journalist, has received the Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship. Manrique is the fourth recipient of the annual fellowship, which gives a woman journalist working in print, broadcast or online media the opportunity to focus exclusively on human rights journalism and social justice issues. The award is offered through the International Women's Media Foundation and is sponsored in part by CIS.

Manrique will spend nine-months as a research associate at CIS, starting September 2008. She will have access to courses, seminars, and events at MIT. She will also spend time at the Boston Globe and the New York Times.

"We look forward to Jenny Manrique's arrival. She's a distinguished journalist who pursues social justice through fearless reporting. We expect to learn a lot from her and hope that she finds her time with us equally rewarding," said Richard Samuels, director of the Center for International Studies and Ford International Professor of Political Science at MIT.

Manrique, 27, writes for Comunicaciones Aliadas, a non-governmental online magazine based in Peru that focuses on Latin American news, particularly human rights. A reporter for seven years, Manrique has covered subjects such as kidnapping, drug trafficking and refugees. For example, she covered the release of hostages held by the Colombian guerrilla group FARC in January. For that story, she interviewed a former congresswoman who was freed six years after being kidnapped. Manrique has also interviewed victims of violence in Colombia, including people who have been injured by landmines, combatants who have returned to society, children in armed groups and indigenous people defending their land.

In the course of her journalistic work, Manrique has received multiple death threats and was forced into exile in Peru for eight months. The threats, which began in 2005, were from paramilitaries, who wanted to silence her because of articles she wrote in the Colombian newspaper Vanguardia Liberal about how the paramilitaries infiltrated the civil population.

Manrique's reporting experiences, especially the articles for which she was threatened, have led to her interest in investigating Colombian paramilitaries and their ties with multinational corporations during her Neuffer fellowship. She hopes to use the results of her studies to deepen her coverage of people who have been displaced by violence in Colombia.

"The [fellowship] will let me improve the coverage of social justice issues and will give me the tools to face the challenge of opening those channels that are necessary for communities to survive and grow," she wrote in her fellowship application.

Manrique is the recipient of a Hellman/Hammett grant from Human Rights Watch in 2007 and the Ochberg Fellowship from the Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma in 2006. She holds a bachelor's degree in social communication from Santo Tomás University in Colombia and is working toward master's degree in international affairs at Buenos Aires University in Argentina.

The Elizabeth Neuffer fellowship is a project of the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF), which also supports the Elizabeth Neuffer Forum on Human Rights and Journalism.  The fellowship is named for Elizabeth Neuffer, a Boston Globe reporter and the winner of a 1998 IWMF Courage in Journalism Award who was killed while on assignment in Iraq in 2003. Neuffer’s life mission was to promote international understanding of human rights and social justice.

The fellowship is generously supported by Peter Canellos, Mark Neuffer, Carolyn Lee, The Boston Globe and the Boston Globe Foundation, the Correspondents Fund, MIT Center for International Studies, United Nations Foundation and numerous friends of Elizabeth Neuffer.

For more information about the Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship, go to:

This release was adapted from the IWMF announcement.

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.