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The Media and Citizen Engagement on Human Rights

Ann Peters

Director of Development and Outreach
Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting

Ann Peters has worked as journalist, lawyer and director of non-profit initiatives. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Georgetown University Law Center, Ann began her career as a correspondent for United Press International. She reported from North Carolina, Washington, D.C., Israel, the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Egypt and South Africa between 1983 and 1991. Her domestic reporting ranged from covering the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster to the North Carolina Senate race between Governor James Hunt and Senator Jesse Helms, one of the most expensive political campaigns of that time. Her assignments abroad gave her ample opportunities to cover international affairs, whether interviewing Palestinians and Israelis during what would become known as the first Palestinian intifada or South Africans on the days and weeks following Nelson Mandela’s release from prison.

At Georgetown University Law Center, she was on the staff of the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics and the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy (formerly the Georgetown Journal on Fighting Poverty). She also represented juveniles accused of crimes in the District of Columbia through Georgetown’s Juvenile Justice Clinic.

After law school, Ann worked in London as a research associate and consultant for Human Rights Watch, focusing on blinding laser weapons, laws of war and arms embargoes, and then in Washington, D.C. for the Open Society Institute as program director of its Landmines Project. She also practiced law at Harmon, Curran, Spielberg & Eisenberg, LLP, a firm specializing in providing legal advice to nonprofit organizations and individuals in the areas of nonprofit organization tax law, election law, employment law and environmental law. Most recently, Ann served as grants management consultant to MAG America.

Jon Sawyer

Founder and Executive Director
Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting

Jon Sawyer is director of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a non-profit organization that funds independent reporting with the intent of raising the standard of media coverage of global affairs. Sawyer became the center's founding director after a 31-year career with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Sawyer was the Post-Dispatch Washington bureau chief from 1993 through 2005. He had been a member of the newspaper's Washington bureau since 1980 and before that worked in St. Louis, first as an editorial writer and then as a staff reporter. 

His assignments have taken him to some five dozen countries, with special projects ranging from southern Africa, Cuba and Haiti to Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and China. He reported from Bosnia at the time of the Dayton peace accords and from Israel and the West Bank just after the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. After the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States Jon focused much of his reporting on the Middle East and predominantly Muslim countries. 

He reported from Central Asia during the fall of 2001 and from Sudan, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt during 2002. In 2003 he reported on a four-nation tour through the Middle East just before the Iraq war and to Iran just after. He reported from Afghanistan in 2004. And from Beirut and England in 2005 as part of a project on Muslim communities in the United States and abroad. In early 2006 he reported from Sudan, including Darfur, for the Post-Dispatch and for the public-television program Foreign Exchange. Jon was selected three years in a row for the National Press Club's award for best foreign reporting. 

His work has been honored by the Overseas Press Club, the Inter-American Press Association and the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Jon's reporting on defense procurement contract abuses won the top investigative reporting prize among large newspapers from IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors). His reporting on the problems of nuclear waste disposal was honored by the Atomic Industrial Forum and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 

He received a B.A. degree from Yale University in 1974, majoring in English literature and history, and during the 1978-79 academic year was an Alfred Sloan Fellow in Economics Journalism at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy. In the fall of 1992 he was a research fellow affiliated with the Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. 

Jon was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He attended public schools there and is a graduate of the Phillips Exeter Academy. He and his wife, children's book author Kem Knapp Sawyer, have three daughters.

Declan Fahy


Assistant Professor
American University School of Communication

Declan Fahy, PhD, joined the AU faculty in 2010 as assistant professor in health, science and environmental journalism. He is also the SOC program director for the MA in International Media.  

His current research focuses on science reporting, science communication, global journalism and the mass media representation of famous scientists. Fahy has also researched media coverage of the Irish workplace tobacco ban, opinion and commentary journalism, financial journalism and the reporting of the European Union.  

His research appears in the scholarly journals Science Communication, Health Promotion Practice, Journalism Studies, Public Understanding of Science and Irish Communications Review.

In his career as a journalist, he has worked for the Irish Times, Irish Daily Mirror and Longford Leader newspapers. Between 2006 and 2008, based at University College London, he was the coordinator of the European Science Communication Network (ESConet), which trained scientists from across Europe in communication and public engagement skills.