CAMBRIDGE, MA—The MIT Center for International Studies (CIS) announced today that Huda Ahmed, an Iraqi journalist who has been covering the war in Iraq for Knight Ridder, has joined the Center as its 2006-2007 Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow.
The Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship offers a female journalist the opportunity to focus exclusively on human rights journalism and social justice issues. It is named for Elizabeth Neuffer, a Boston Globe reporter who was killed while on assignment in Iraq in 2003, and is administered by the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) in Washington, D.C., an organization that aims to strengthen the role of women in the news media worldwide.
Ms. Ahmed says she writes about "the issues of women and children at risk in a war zone, the human rights abuses of police and occupying forces, and the struggles of women in politics in a Muslim society."
Ms. Ahmed was among those journalists who covered the fight for Najaf in 2004; she and a fellow reporter were trapped overnight in a rebel-controlled shrine. According to one of her supervisors, "When ABC News anchorman Bob Woodruff was injured in Taji, Huda was the only journalist to find one of the Iraqi policemen traveling with Mr. Woodruff. When a court approved changes to Iraq 's election law, Huda found the closed ruling. And when women were being targeted for running for office, she convinced them to tell their story."
Ms. Ahmed will pursue research at CIS and participate in Center events and programs. She also will have the opportunity to report for the Boston Globe and the New York Times.
It took Ms. Ahmed several months to arrange her visit to Cambridge, due to difficulties obtaining a visa. About her arrival, CIS Executive Director John Tirman said, "It is a tremendous opportunity for our Center-and the larger community at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-to welcome Huda Ahmed to Cambridge. She is already a distinguished reporter, and has shown great courage covering the war in Iraq. I am certain we will learn a lot from her about her country and the conflict there."
Ms. Ahmed, a graduate of Baghdad University's College of Languages, received recognition for extraordinary bravery from Knight Ridder. She previously wrote for the Washington Post, the Daily Baghdad Observer and the Al Jumhurriya Daily. With a sardonic nod to the dangers of war reporting, she told the Neuffer award committee that in addition to reading, computers and climbing, her interests include "survival."
The Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship is a project of the Elizabeth Neuffer IWMF Fund, which also supports the Elizabeth Neuffer Forum on Human Rights and Journalism.
More information about the Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship: