I do not believe there is someone in this whole world who has never seen an American movie with heroes that are about to save the mankind from an imminent disaster. Hollywood writers imagined that apocalyptic scenario in different ways: the end of the world was to come either because of viruses and disease, or because of dramatic climate changes, to name a couple of them. But each time the ones who found the solution for the crisis were the scientists. In the movies, the White House usually brings together an international team of scientists who come to a solution. The scientists and the American administration save the humankind once more and eradicate the danger.
This is the way I felt in the last 4 weeks of my life: as being part of something important and feeling that this is only the beginning. In the last weeks I was surrounded by very smart people from 15 countries: Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Chile, Ecuador, Honduras, India, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nepal, Ukraine, Zambia and Zimbabwe. All these scholars are scientists, all of them are very bright in their work field. All of them have qualities, doubts, questions and answers. All of them have been chosen by the US Department of State out of the 100 scholars shortlisted from around the world. We all are called “SUSI people”, which stands for “Study of the U.S. Institute for Journalism and Media Scholar”.
The major difference between Hollywood scenarios and the Ohio University – E. W. Scripps School of Journalism reality is that the crisis situation we have to ”solve” is: the future of democracy and of journalism. The democratic model (for journalism and politics) is not imposed neither by the US Government, nor by the American scientists who are working with us (Yusuf Kalyango, Mary Rogus and Bill Reader). The model has to be generated by us.
Our mission: to take the US diversity back to our country. Our goal: to build an international network of scientists and researchers specialized in journalism and communication that will improve the quality of democracy and journalism in our own countries. Our philosophy: knowledge will diminish the discrepancies between countries and regions. Our challenge: to change the world for the better by teaching people to communicate and relate to each other the way we did within the SUSI program.
This article was first published on Institute for International Journalism blog.