US-Kazakhstan Journalists Exchange

 

Program Description
 

Implemented by Soliya and funded by the US Embassy in Nur-Sultan, the program is a virtual exchange that will connect 30 Kazakh journalists to 30 US journalists for the purpose of professional development, field exposure, and sharing media resources. These 60 journalists will be mixed across six groups of 10 participants each, creating small, diverse dialogue groups that allow for rich and personal engagement.

Led by trained facilitators, groups will explore the cultural differences and commonalities between the two countries as well as topics related to their practice as journalists, such as:

  • Approaches to gathering and sharing news
  • Disinformation and fake news
  • The use of digital media technology
  • Media bias
  • Fact-based reporting
  • Sources and principles of peace journalism
  • Addressing common challenges of today's world of information

At the end of the program, journalists will collaborate in cross-regional pairs or small groups on a reporting piece focused on a mutually selected issue. Participants will strengthen their journalistic professionalism through the development of key skills such as media and digital literacy, critical thinking, and fact checking.
 

How to Apply
 

Interested US journalists are welcome to apply by filling out this form, and can write to erkinaz@soliya.net with questions.   
 

Time and Place
 

The exchange will consist of four dialogue sessions of two hours each, over the course of two weeks, followed by one week to develop the reporting piece. The program will start in June. The dialogue sessions will be live and face-to-face, taking place in Soliya's custom-built video-conferencing platform, pictured below.
 

 

Program Rationale
 

In recent years, criticisms against the news media have fueled speculation over the credibility and value of journalism, eroding the integrity of the field worldwide. Meanwhile, the proliferation and accessibility of social media has made it possible for members of the general public to become news creators regardless of the accuracy of the content being created and spread. This phenomenon is global, contributing to the rising tide of polarization and division. In countries where journalists have been persecuted and media surveilled the issue is especially precarious. It is important for journalists in these contexts to have access to a diversity of resources and to their global professional peers. This project will address that need, connecting journalists from Kazakhstan to journalists in the United States for language practice, field exposure, and awareness of media sources, with the strategic vision of increased journalistic professionalism. At a time of precarious global relations and uncertainty around government support for physical mobility, virtual exchange presents an alternative and inclusive way to connect journalists across borders in mutual engagement and learning.
 

Who is Soliya?
 

Based in New York City, Soliya is an international nonprofit organization with a mission to empower young adults to engage with difference constructively. We combine the power of interactive technology and the science of dialogue to offer transformative cross-cultural exchange and learning opportunities. Soliya pioneered the field of virtual exchange—defined as technology-enabled, sustained people-to-people dialogue and education—as a distinct medium of equipping rising generations with the empathy, employability, and leadership skills to thrive in the 21st Century world and workforce. We have 16 years of experience designing, running, and evaluating digital cross-cultural programs. Since 2003, Soliya has brought together 17,000 young adults across 33 countries in silo-busting dialogue and trained 4,000 cross-cultural facilitators globally.