|Ms. Nivette Dawod and Dr. Kalyango at dinner/reception with IIJ faculty and students.|
Sunday, October 9, 2016
By Alena Klimas, IIJ Programs Coordinator
This past week, Nivette Dawod visited Ohio University in the midst of election season and talked to students about reporting from a global perspective. Nivette came to Ohio after reporting directly from the first Presidential debate. Her articles on the election as a Swedish foreign correspondent have been featured in the magazine Aftonbladet. During her visit, I sat down with Nivette to talk about her experience as a journalist and her visit to the United States.
From the start, Nivette always knew she wanted to be a journalist but didn’t know how to go about doing so. She did her bachelors in Political science and after graduation found a magazine that Nivette felt very connected to. The magazine was founded by second generation immigrants in Sweden. Nivette submitted a sample story and before long she was working for the magazine full time. Ever since then, she has been in the journalism field.
Nivette’s passion for international reporting is in the Middle East. When she was growing up, Nivette did not feel like she could express her background. Nivette comes from Syrian father and a Lebanese mother. When she was younger she would hear the stories of their countries. However, she grew up in Sweden in Scandanavia far from these connections. When she was 18 she visited Lebanon for the first time. She felt like she “home for the first time” even though she had never been there before. The Lebanese culture embraces immigration and so for the first time ever didn’t feel like the odd one out. No one questioned her nationality and asked her where she was really from, common in Sweden. The feeling of home in the Middle East has stuck with Nivette and has shaped her career in journalism.
It was a “long ride” to report on the Middle East and Nivette had to push for the spot in foreign news. She always said “we should cover this, we should write about this”. Finally, her bosses decided this is good. Her work became bigger and bigger. She then received a fellowship from a Swedish radio. Nivette has since been to the Kurdish region of Iraq, working with the foreign correspondence Cairo, conflict in Israel/Palestine, and Saudi Arabia to cover the first women’s vote in municipal election.
However, for now, Nivette is covering the 2016 election in the United States. Athens, Ohio was one of her first stops in the US. She was happy to be in her first “college town”. Nivette also saw her first sorority house while walking on campus. She was so thankful to have visited our “nice little world”. Nivette was able to speak to an array of “inspiring” students and professors. She did a more extensive interview with WOUB with Professor Hodson. Over the weekend, Nivette visited the more rural part of Ohio. She drove to Amish country which was quite interesting for her. Then on her last day in Ohio, Nivette drove to Columbus to explore the Somali community there. She spent time with some of the community members and visited the more Somali places like the “Global Mall”. She was interested in seeing how the refugees had been integrated life in Ohio.
Ms. Nivette Dawod is a 2016 fall fellow from the Washington-based Transatlantic Media Network and sponsored by the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS) in partnership with the Institute for International Journalism (IIJ) for the portion of the Ohio University campus visit. Dr. Yusuf Kalyango, IIJ Director, says is very grateful to CSIS for their continued partnership over the past five years and the sponsorship of the fellows to explore important issues in the United States. Having Nivette Dawod on the OU campus gave students a more global perspective on the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. “We were so happy to have such a talented, interesting journalist on campus,” said some students. Nivette will continue on to other states and universities for her reporting on the U.S. presidential election.