Hindustan Times journalist Gulam Jeelani selected as second Islam-Driesman AFPP Fellow


Indian American philanthropist Frank Islam speaking at the Alfred Friendly Fellowship graduation dinner at the National Press Club on September 8, 2017.

The fellowship was established by the Indian American philanthropist and his wife last year.

Gulam Jeelani, a special correspondent for the Hindustan Times in New Delhi, has been selected as the 2018 Frank Islam and Debbie Driesman Fellow for the Alfred Friendly Press Partners program (AFPP).

The Frank Islam and Debbie Driesman Foundation and AFPP said the Indian journalist will spend six months in the United States as part of the fellowship during which he will train at the Missouri School of Journalism and also work on the staff of a major newsroom.

Gulam Jeelani

The AFPP fellowships bring journalists from different parts of the world to train at Missouri and in major US newsrooms.

“I am truly honored to be the Frank Islam and Debbie Driesman Fellow for 2018,” Jelani said in a press release issued by the two organizations. “It will enable me to gain a first-hand understanding and expertise in the ways of American journalism. I will use that to enhance my reporting in India and to share what I have learned with my colleagues at the Hindustan Times.”

READ: Frank Islam and Debbie Driesman Foundation to fund fellowship for Indian journalist (December 14, 2016)

Jeelani, who has a master’s degree in mass communication from the Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh, covers politics, development and socio-economic issues for the Times, one of India’s best-known newspapers.

Islam, a Potomac, MD, -based philanthropist, and his wife, Driesman, established the fellowship last year, and Jeelani is the second Frank Islam and Debbie Driesman Fellow from India. The first was Smitha Rajan, an assistant editor with DNA and Divya Bhaskar in Gujarat, India, who completed the fellowship last September.

“We decided to support the AFPP fellowship because as immigrants to the United States we realize what a critical role the free press plays in this great democracy and what a contribution journalists make to advancing the cause of a free society,” Islam, an Indian American, said. “We chose Gulam, from my motherland of India, to be our fellow because his background indicates that he has the interests and capabilities to refine his craft here and to make an even bigger impact on the Indian democracy when he returns home.”

READ: Alfred Friendly Press Partners celebrates graduating class of 2017 (September 11, 2017)

He said that his foundation is “pleased to be associated with the incredibly important work of Alfred Friendly Press Partners.”

“Freedom of the press requires constant vigilance and care. It’s a precious gift given to us by previous generations,” Islam said. “It must be nurtured and sustained both in our country and throughout the world.”

The AFPP fellowships are named after former Washington Post managing editor Alfred Friendly. This year marks 34th year of the fellowship, according to the organization. It’s also the 50th anniversary of Friendly’s receipt of the Pulitzer Prize.

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