Global Freedom of Expression

25 April

In

Championing Free Speech for a Decade: CGFoE’s 10th Anniversary Celebration and 2024 Prize Ceremony

  • 10:00am-6:30pm ET (New York)
  • Italian Academy, Columbia University,
    1161 Amsterdam Ave
    New York, NY 10027
    United States

We are inviting you to join our upcoming all-day event

Safeguarding Free Expression: The Role of Judicial Systems in Pivotal Times

CGFoE’s 10th Anniversary Celebration and 2024 Prize Ceremony

Register here

Columbia Global Freedom of Expression (CGFoE) turns 10! Founded in 2014 by then Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger, CGFoE has been advancing global norms on freedom of speech and the press, building bridges across jurisdictions and disciplines.

To celebrate our many achievements and partnerships, we are hosting an all-day event, including a high-level conference co-chaired by UNESCO, a book talk, and the 2024 Global Freedom of Expression Prize Ceremony.

Join us! Here is what to look forward to:

  • CGFoE and UNESCO Conference:

First Panel – Breakthrough Verdicts: Legal Decisions Shaping the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

Second Panel – Critical Legal Frontiers: Global Challenges to Freedom of Expression

  • Networking Lunch:

Thematic discussion groups with experts and anyone interested in academic work and activism on the right to freedom of expression, such as scholars, journalists, and legal professionals

  • Book Talk – “Truth, Justice, and the Power of Journalism”:

A conversation with Elena Kostyuchenko, author of I Love Russia: Reporting from a Lost Country, and Paul Caruana Galizia, author of A Death in Malta: An Assassination and a Family’s Quest for Justice

  • 2024 Columbia Global Freedom of Expression Prizes:

Presentation of Awards to the Winners in Significant Legal Ruling and Excellence in Legal Services categories. Keynote speaker and master of ceremonies: Elena Kostyuchenko, Russian journalist and activist

  • Musical Performance:

By Mexican singer-songwriter and activist Vivir Quintana

The event is free and open to the public and is supported by UNESCO through the Multi-Donor Programme on Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists (MDP) and the Global Media Defence Fund (GMDF).

Learn more below.

CGFoE and UNESCO Conference

“Safeguarding Free Expression: The Role of Judicial Systems in Pivotal Times”

Opening Session

10:00 am –

10:30 am                                      

Speakers:

  • Alejandra Negrete Morayta, CGFoE Member, Manager of the 2024 CGFoE Prizes
  • Catalina Botero, UNESCO Chair on Freedom of Expression at Universidad de los Andes, Colombia, and former consulting director of Columbia Global Freedom of Expression [Online]
  • Aryeh Neier, President Emeritus of the Open Society Foundations

First Panel

10:30 pm –                   

12:00 pm 

Breakthrough Verdicts: Legal Decisions Shaping the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

Speakers:

  • Karuna Nundy, Advocate at the Supreme Court of India and international human rights lawyer [Online]
  • Sarah Peeters, Lawyer and Programme Officer – Development of the Legal Profession, Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU)
  • Barbora Bukovská, Senior Director for Law and Policy, ARTICLE 19, UK
  • Alice Gardoll, Chief of Staff, Office of Amal Clooney

Moderator:

  • Mehdi Benchelah, UNESCO Senior Project Officer –Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists Section – UNESCO

Networking Lunch (12:00 – 1:00 PM)

Book Talk

“Truth, Justice, and the Power of Journalism

with Elena Kostyuchenko and Paul Caruana Galizia”

1:00 pm –

2:00 pm                                               

Discussion with Elena Kostyuchenko, author of I Love Russia: Reporting from a Lost Country, and Paul Caruana Galizia, author of A Death in Malta: An Assassination and a Family’s Quest for Justice

Moderator:

  • Marija Šajkaš, CGFoE Member, Communications Specialist

Second Panel

2:00 pm –                         

3:30 pm 

Critical Legal Frontiers: Global Challenges to Freedom of Expression

Speakers:

 – on SLAPPs:

  • Caroline James, Advocacy Coordinator, AmaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism
  • Alexander Papachristou, Executive Director, Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice

– on Environment/Journalism:

  • Barbara Trionfi, Press Freedom and Journalism Expert, Author of IPI Report Climate and Environmental Journalism Under Fire
  • Jorge Calderón Gamboa, Independent Expert of the UN Program Harmony With Nature

– on Elections:

  • Mishi Choudhary, Legal Director of the New York based Software Freedom Law Center and Partner at Moglen & Associates 

– on Artificial intelligence:

  • Professor Nikolaus Forgo, Head of the Department of Innovation and Digitalization in Law, University of Vienna [Online]

Moderator:

  • Sandra Coliver, Former Senior Legal Officer, Open Society Justice Initiative, USA

2024 Columbia Global Freedom of Expression Prize Ceremony

4:00 pm –

5:00 pm                                        

Opening of the awards announcement:

Keynote speaker and master of ceremonies:

  • Elena Kostyuchenko, Russian journalist and activist

Presentation of the winner in “Significant Legal Ruling” by Caroline James, amaBhugane Investigative Journalism Center

Presentation of the winner in “Excellence in Legal Services” category by Barbora Bukovská, Selection Committee Member and Senior Director for Law and Policy, ARTICLE 19

Closing Remarks:

  • Hawley Johnson, Associate Director, CGFoE 

Reception (5:00 – 6:30 PM) – by invitation only

Hawley Johnson, Associate Director, CGFoE 

Dr. Hawley Johnson is the Associate Director of Columbia Global Freedom of Expression. Since 2014 she has managed the development of the Case Law Database which hosts analyses of seminal freedom of expression court rulings from more than 130 countries.  Hawley has over twelve years of experience in international media development both academically and professionally, with a focus on Eastern Europe. From 2013-2014 she worked with the award-winning Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project to launch the Investigative Dashboard (ID), a joint effort with Google Ideas offering specialized databases and research tools for journalists in emerging democracies.  Previously, as the Associate Director of the Media and Conflict Resolution Program at New York University, she oversaw the implementation of over eight US government sponsored media development programs in eleven countries. In 2012, she completed her Ph.D. in Communications at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Her dissertation – a study of the evolution of media development policies in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and Macedonia – was grounded in extensive field research in the region. She has a M.A. from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a B.A. in International Affairs from the School of International Service at American University.

Alejandra Negrete Morayta, CGFoE Member, Manager of the 2024 CGFoE Prizes

Alejandra Negrete Morayta is an attorney at law from National Autonomous University of MexicoShe holds an M.A. in Legal Argumentation from the University of Alicante, Spain. Throughout her career, Alejandra has worked in the fields of human rights, gender equality, due diligence, freedom of expression, as well as in the making of public policies pertaining to these issues. In Mexico, she served as National Commissioner to Prevent and Eradicate Violence Against Women and as Prosecutor for Labor Defense in Mexico. Also, she has served as adviser in human rights for the Presidency Office at the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice, and as a human rights specialist for the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission of Women.

Catalina Botero, UNESCO Chair on Freedom of Expression at Universidad de los Andes, Colombia, and former consulting director of Columbia Global Freedom of Expression

Catalina Botero Marino is the former consulting director of Global Freedom of Expression from April 2021 – June 2023. She is a lawyer, director of the UNESCO Chair on Freedom of Expression at the Universidad de Los Andes, co-chair of the Oversight Board of Facebook and Instagram, member of the external transparency panel of the Inter-American Development Bank, commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists and member of the Advisory Board of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute. She is an adjunct professor at American University’s Human Rights Academy. She was Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the OAS, Dean of the Faculty of Law of the Universidad de Los Andes, and an Associate Judge of the Constitutional Court and of the Council of State in Colombia.

Aryeh Neier, President Emeritus of the Open Society Foundations

Before joining the Open Society Institute and the Soros Foundations as President in September 1993, Aryeh Neier spent twelve years as Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, of which he was a founder in 1978. Prior to that position, he worked for the American Civil Liberties Union for fifteen years, including eight as national Executive Director. Mr. Neier served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at New York University for more than a dozen years [1978-1991] and has lectured at a number of the country’s leading universities and at universities in many other countries. He is the recipient of six honorary doctorates (State University of New York-Binghamton, Hofstra University, Hamilton College, American University, University of Connecticut, John Jay College of Criminal Justice) and the American Bar Association’s Gavel Award.

The author of six books (Dossier [1975]; Crime and Punishment: A Radical Solution [1976], Defending My Enemy [1979], Only Judgment [1982], War Crimes [1998]), and Taking Liberties [2003], Mr. Neier has also contributed chapters to more than twenty-five books. He has been a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books and has also published in such periodicals as The New York Times MagazineThe New York Times Book ReviewForeign PolicyDissent and a number of law journals. For a dozen years he wrote a column on human rights for The Nation.  He has contributed more than a hundred and fifty op-ed articles to newspapers, including The New York TimesThe Washington PostThe Boston GlobeThe Los Angeles Times, and The International Herald Tribune. Many of his articles have been syndicated internationally.

Mr. Neier was born in Nazi Germany and became a refugee at an early age.  An internationally recognized expert on human rights, he has conducted investigations of human rights abuses in more than forty countries around the world. For more than two decades he has been directly engaged in efforts to promote compliance with international humanitarian law (the laws of armed conflict), and in the global debate on accountability, bringing to justice those who have committed crimes against humanity. He played a leading role in the establishment of the international tribunal to prosecute those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the former Yugoslavia.

Karuna Nundy, Advocate at the Supreme Court of India and international human rights lawyer

Karuna Nundy is an advocate at the Supreme Court of India, and international human rights lawyer. She represents and acts as legal policy adviser to governments, United Nations, companies and civil society movements. She is arguing as unconstitutional restrictions on online speech before the Supreme Court of India. Her pro bono practice includes also, the Supreme Court litigation from the 1984 gas disaster and toxic waste dumps in Bhopal. She has argued cases involving the rights of alleged terrorists, mentally ill people and class actions on sexual harassment. Karuna’s advisory and policy work includes contributions to the Nepal Interim Constitution; a legislation workshop with the Senate of Pakistan; advice to the Government of Bhutan on compliance with human rights treaties; and legal reform in the Maldives with the Attorney General’s Office and the Chief Justice of the Maldives Supreme Court. In India, she drafted contributions to the new “anti-rape” laws and the Right to Food Act. Karuna has an Economics degree (St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University), a law degree (University of Cambridge), and an LL.M. (Columbia Law School). She is qualified to practice in India and NY. She is interviewed and comments on free speech, gender and legal issues on the BBC, India Today, the New York Times, NPR, FAZ, NDTV and other media.

Sarah Peeters, Programme Officer – Development of the Legal Profession at the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU)

She manages projects related to the legal profession and she contributes to the drafting and reviewing of the applications before the regional courts in East-Africa. Furthermore, she is the focal point on freedom of expression related projects within PALU. Before joining PALU, she volunteered at the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) in Arusha, Tanzania. In 2012, Mrs. Peeters got admitted to the Bar Association of Antwerp (Belgium) and was a practicing lawyer for more than 9 years. She founded her own law firm in 2016 and specialized in legal aid and family law. Mrs. Peeters holds an LLM in private law and criminal law and a LLB in private and public law from the Free University Brussel.

Barbora Bukovská, Senior Director for Law and Policy, ARTICLE 19, UK

Barbora Bukovská has been ARTICLE 19’s Senior Director for Law and Policy since 2009. She leads on the development of all ARTICLE 19 policies and provides legal oversight and support to legal work across the organization. Barbora has an extensive experience working with various organisations on a range of human rights issues, including protection from discrimination, access to justice, deprivation of liberty, reproductive rights and community development. She also initiated about 50 cases at the European Court of Human Rights on these issues and has published a number of reports and articles on a broad range of human rights. From 2006 to 2008, she was the Legal Director at the Mental Disability Advocacy Centre, an international organization working on the rights of people with disabilities in Europe and Central Asia. She graduated from the Law School of Charles University in Prague and has earned a doctorate degree in law in Slovakia and an LLM degree from Harvard Law School. In 1998 and 1999, she was a visiting scholar at the Columbia University Law School in New York.

Alice Gardoll, Chief of Staff, Office of Amal Clooney

Alice Gardoll is a human rights lawyer and Chief of Staff to Amal Clooney. She has spent her career defending and amplifying the voices of journalists, victims of human rights abuses, asylum seekers and incarcerated individuals. At the international human rights organization Reprieve, Ms Gardoll specialized in arbitrary and unlawful detention. She has practised as a public defender representing Aboriginal Australians in the Northern Territory and as a refugee lawyer in Australia and Greece. She also sits on the Board of the Refugee Advice & Casework Service. She began her career as a clerk to President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal, Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC KC, the 39th Governor of New South Wales. Ms Gardoll obtained her law degree at the University of Sydney and her Master of Laws as a Fulbright Scholar at Columbia University.

Moderator: Mehdi Benchelah, Senior Project Officer – Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists Section – UNESCO

Mehdi Benchelah, Senior Project Officer, Section for Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists, UNESCO. Mehdi Benchelah is a senior project officer at UNESCO and is coordinating the Rule of Law, Policy and Freedom of Expression Team within the Section for Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists. He coordinates the Judges’ Initiative, a global strategy for the judiciary systems on freedom of expression, access to information and safety of journalists, by fostering strategic partnerships with Regional Human Rights Courts, Supreme Courts, Judicial Training Institutes and Prosecutors’ Offices across the world. He also coordinates the implementation of an initiative to train law enforcement officers on human rights, freedom of expression and safety of journalists’ related issues, as well as their relationship with the media. He is also in charge of the Media and Elections programme to tackle disinformation and violence during election periods while respecting international standards on freedom of expression.
Mehdi Benchelah was posted in Haiti from 2010 to 2011 following the 2010 earthquake to coordinate UNESCO emergency programmes for the recovery of the media sector and the initiatives to support the culture sector. He was the Head of UNESCO Office in Tunisia from 2012 to 2014 following the Revolution and democratic transition, and coordinated the support of the media law reform, capacity-building activities for the media including in times of election, and other activities to support national authorities and civil society organizations.
Prior to joining UNESCO, Mehdi worked for a decade as a freelance reporter covering international affairs and conflicts in the Arab region, Africa and Latin America. Notably, he covered the Algerian civil war, the Second Intifada in Palestine and Israel, the Iraq war following the United States’ 2003 invasion, and the drugs war in Latin America. He was the permanent correspondent of Radio France and the leading magazine Le Point while he was based in the Gaza strip covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Middle East news from 1998 to 2000.
A graduate of the Law School of Sorbonne University Paris I with a Masters’ degree in Law, he is the author of non-fiction: Le Pèlerin de Jerusalem (with Jean Lecuyer, J.C Lattes publishing 2000), Journal d’Algérie 1991-2001 (with Michael Von Graffenried, 2003) and fictions books: Les flamboyants de Gaza (Cherche Midi publishing 2004) and Bassora-Express (Cherche Midi publishing 2006).

Caroline James, Advocacy Coordinator, AmaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism

Caroline James is a South African freedom of expression lawyer. Since 2022 she has been the advocacy coordinator for the amaBhugane Center for Investigative Journalism. She completed her M.A. at Queen’s University in Canada has BA(Hons) and LLB degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her research interests are in constitutional and human rights law – particularly the way in which power is held to account. Caroline previously worked as the freedom of expression lawyer at the Southern Africa Litigation Centre in Johannesburg where she worked with lawyers and organizations in southern Africa litigating and advocating for the right to freedom of expression and association. Caroline has also worked as a judge’s clerk at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.

Alexander Papachristou, Executive Director, Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice

Alexander Papachristou joined the Vance Center as Executive Director in January 2012. He directs the organization’s overall operations and focuses on its programmatic and institutional initiatives, as well as fundraising. He co-founded Reporters Shield and leads the legal work of that global program to defend public interest journalism. Alex serves as the board secretary of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, board member of Bard College Berlin, and member of the advisory boards of the Prison Journalism Project and the Environmental Reporting Collective. He recently served on the European Commission Anti-SLAPP Working Group. Alex was previously president of the Near East Foundation, a participatory, community-based economic and social development organization working in Arab and African countries. For the preceding 18 years, he engaged in cross-border corporate finance in advisory and proprietary roles: he served as managing director and general counsel at NCH Capital, which invests in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe; he lived in Russia from 1989 to 1993, where he opened and ran the Moscow office of White & Case. Alex also worked in the law firm of Clifford & Warnke in Washington, DC and was policy assistant to New York Governor Mario Cuomo. He served as law clerk to US District Judge Myron H. Thompson in the Middle District of Alabama.
In 2011, The New Press published Blind Goddess: A Race and Justice Reader, which he edited. Alex received an LLM and JD from Harvard Law School and an AB from Princeton University, as well as Arabic language training at the American University in Cairo.

Barbara Trionfi, Press Freedom and Journalism Expert, Author of IPI Report Climate and Environmental Journalism Under Fire

Barbara Trionfi has dedicated her professional career to the defense of press and media freedom and the promotion of independent, public interest journalism. Recently, Barbara has been focusing on the obstacles faced by climate and environmental journalism, including attacks, undue restrictions as well as editorial and financial challenges. This has resulted in these two publications: “The Change We Need: Strategies to Support Climate and Environmental Journalism” (Oct. 2023) and “Climate and Environmental Journalism under Fire: Threats to Free and Independent Coverage of Climate Change and Environmental Degradation” (Feb 2024). In her previous position as Executive Director at the Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists, Barbara successfully managed IPI’s global operations aimed at promoting press freedom and supporting independent journalism. Under her directorship, IPI greatly expanded its activities, both geographically and thematically, to address the increasingly complex challenges and threats to independent journalism.

Jorge Calderón Gamboa, Independent Expert for the United Nations Harmony with Nature Programme

Jorge Calderón Gamboa is an Independent Expert for the UN Harmony With Nature Programme and the MICI – IDB; International Consultant and Visiting Professor at the UN-Mandated University for Peace. He was a Senior Coordinating Attorney at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Costa Rica (2007-2019), where he was in charge of several of the Court´s leading cases regarding vulnerable groups, indigenous peoples, the environment, and ESCER jurisprudence. He was also a Senior Judicial Clerk at the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice (SCJN 2019 – 2023), a Seconded Jurist at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, and Deputy Visitor at the Ombudsperson of Mexico City. He received his LL.B. at the Universidad Iberoamericana in México and an LL.M. on International Legal Studies at American University, Washington College of Law (AU-WCL). He has specialized studies on Environmental Protection at the Center of Constitutional Studies in México (CEC). He has various publications on Environmental protection and the Rights of Nature.

Mishi Choudhary, Legal Director of the New York based Software Freedom Law Center and Partner at Moglen & Associates

Mishi Choudhary is a technology lawyer, licensed to practice in New York and India with over a decade of experience in the area of intellectual property rights, Open Source licensing, e- commerce, privacy, surveillance, platform liability and user free expression. She has been involved in a number of court cases and other efforts around protection of online free speech and expression; privacy; surveillance and software patents in India. She is the Founding Executive Director of SFLC.in, India, a legal services organization based out of New Delhi that brings together lawyers, policy analysts, technologists, and students to protect freedom in the digital world. At SFLC.in, she focuses her work on promotion of innovation and open access to knowledge by helping developers make great Free and Open Source Software, protect privacy and civil liberties for citizens in the digital world, educate policy makers to reach informed decisions on the use and adoption of technology. She is also the Legal Director at Software Freedom Law Center, New York that provides pro-bono legal services to developers of Free, Libre, and Open Source Software. Mishi has a Masters degree in Law from Columbia University in the City of New York, a Legum Baccalaureus (LL.B.) degree with Honors and a Bachelors degree in Political Science from the University of Delhi.

Professor Nikolaus Forgo, Head of the Department of Innovation and Digitalization in Law, University of Vienna

Professor Nikolaus Forgo is the Head of the Department of Innovation and Digitalization in Law at the University of Vienna, Austria. Forgo has been a Member of the AI Advisory Board since 2023, an Expert member of the Data Protection Council of the Republic of Austria since 2018, and a Member of the Digitalisation Council of Lower Saxony since 2017. He has taught IT- and IP Law at the Department of Innovation and Digitalisation in Law at the University of Vienna since 2017. He previously taught IT-Law and Legal Informatics (2000-2017) and served as the Head of the Institute for Legal Informatics (2007-2017), Data Protection Officer (2013-2017), and Chief Information Officer (2015-2017) at Leibniz University Hannover and was the Director of the Research Center L3s (2013-2017).

Moderator: Sandra Coliver, Former Senior Legal Officer, Open Society Justice Initiative, USA

Sandra Coliver is a Former Senior Legal Officer for Freedom of Information and Expression at the Open Society Justice Initiative, an operational arm of the Open Society Foundations. Previously, she managed or participated in human rights and rule of law programs around the world, including with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the OSCE, and Article 19. She coordinated the drafting of the Tshwane Principles on National Security and Right to Information (2013), helped develop the Johannesburg Principles on National Security, FOE and Access to Information (1995), and wrote a commentary and edited a book on that theme (published by Martinus Nijhoff); wrote a Handbook on FOE Best Law and Practice; edited a book on hate speech laws and practice in more than two dozen countries; and co-authored two other books on freedom of expression and information issues. She has submitted several interventions to the European and Inter-American Human Rights systems, and contributed to the UN Human Rights Committee’s General Comment on Article 19. She served on the Faculty of the Summer Program on International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at AU Washington College of Law, and taught at the University of California, Berkeley Law School.

Elena Kostyuchenko, journalist and author of I Love Russia: Reporting from a Lost Country
Elena Kostyuchenko had been a special correspondent of Novaya Gazeta for 17 years till the newspaper was shut down under the pressure of Russian authorities in March 2022. She reported on conflict, crime, human rights, and social issues. Kostyuchenko was among the first to prove the presence of Russian troops in eastern Ukraine. She covered the Russian invasion of Ukraine from the second day of the war. Now she collaborates with the independent Russian exiled media Meduza. Her book «I Love Russia» was released on 17 October 2023. Her work was acknowledged with multiple awards including the European Press Prize, the Gerd Bucerius Award-Free Press of Eastern Europe, and the Paul Klebnikov Prize.
Paul Caruana Galizia, journalist and author of A Death in Malta: An Assassination and a Family’s Quest for Justice
Paul Caruana Galizia became a journalist after his mother was assassinated and since then has won an Orwell Prize special award, a British Journalism Award and other honours for his reporting. With his brothers, he has received a Magnitsky Human Rights Award and an Anderson-Lucas-Norman Award for campaigning to achieve justice for Daphne.

Moderator: Marija Šajkaš, CGFoE Member and Communications Specialist

Marija Šajkaš (pronounced as Maria Shay-kash) is a U.S. based writer, media expert and political analyst, and founder of 4 Better Media. Her most recent appearances and projects include work for the Freedom of the Press, Freedom House (2017), High-Level OSCE Chairmanship Conference “Freedom of the Media in the Western Balkans” in co-operation with the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media (2017), Mayor’s Office of immigrant Affairs in New York City (2016), Global Freedom of Expression Initiative at Columbia University (2016), CORO– Immigrant Civic Leadership Program (2015) and Association of Media in Bosnia (2015). Before that, Mrs. Šajkaš was the Head of Development and Operations for Media Diversity Institute –USA, a Press Officer for The International Committee of the Red Cross, and a Deputy-Editor-in-Chief of The Bridges Magazine, the first media outlet distributed in post-war Bosnia, produced by the United Nations, SFOR Forces. She holds an M.S. in International Affairs, with a concentration in Culture and Media Studies, from The New School University in New York, and a BS in Serbian Language and Literature from the University of Belgrade. Marija Šajkaš is the author of the novel Esther Jovanovich’s Scrapbook (Klett, 2013) and co-author of the TV documentary “Missing- the Right to Know”. (2003)

Elena Kostyuchenko, Russian independent journalist and activist
Elena Kostyuchenko had been a special correspondent of Novaya Gazeta for 17 years till the newspaper was shut down under the pressure of Russian authorities in March 2022. She reported on conflict, crime, human rights, and social issues. Kostyuchenko was among the first to prove the presence of Russian troops in eastern Ukraine. She covered the Russian invasion of Ukraine from the second day of the war. Now she collaborates with the independent Russian exiled media Meduza. Her book «I Love Russia» was released on 17 October 2023. Her work was acknowledged with multiple awards including the European Press Prize, the Gerd Bucerius Award-Free Press of Eastern Europe, and the Paul Klebnikov Prize.