As all of us Trojans gear up for spring break next week, there is excitement in the air along with animated discussion of who’s doing what. For me, I have the great honor and pleasure to be traveling to Thailand’s renowned cities Bangkok and Chiang Mai through a fully-funded scholarship with the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism (thank you to prosperous alumni!). I am spending my break meeting with local officials, nonprofits, and global business leaders to learn about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and barriers to social change in Southeast Asia. One of the companies I will be visiting is Internews, an expansive international nonprofit organization that fosters independent media and champions free access to information worldwide. Founded by David Hoffman in 1982, Internews strives to connect the role of the media to democracy, which I think we can all agree the world needs more of.
Along similar principles of other social impact organizations, Internews desires to provide unbiased and unfiltered news to the people that deserve to receive it. The organization under Hoffman has made significant gains around the globe in bringing issues of press freedom and access to information to the world stage agenda. Internews operates internationally to ensure access to trusted, quality information that allows citizens to understand the political, economic, and social happenings around them in order to inspire activism and civic participation. The organization aims to shape the lives of people on the ground today – as well as future generations – by encouraging them to lead healthy, informed lives. Fighting propaganda and censorship is key to terminating negative movements such as extremism or corruption, allowing citizens to have greater transparency and input in what actions their government is taking on their behalf.
Hoffman has demonstrated incredible leadership through his oversight and guidance of the nonprofit, not shying away from challenging places or conflict zones, and refusing to be intimidated. His work is deeply local, utilizing the validity and strength of these local networks and partnerships to implement programs that can have a positive impact in surrounding communities, as well as build a global reach. I am greatly looking forward to learning more about the work they do specifically in Thailand next week – there’s no doubt that it’ll be ground-breaking.