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  • Writer's pictureAbby Fowler

Media in a Democracy: A Project for Sri Lanka

Originally published July 12, 2022

From July 1st to July 5th, we welcomed 7 emerging leaders from Sri Lanka to Eastern Iowa for a program titled “Media in a Democracy” with a focus on elections. This program aimed to examine the rights and responsibilities of a free press in a democracy, observe practices and gain insight into US media and structures, participate in professional development highlighting current trends and challenges in the media profession, and connect with other media professionals.

After arriving the morning of the 1st, they discussed misinformation in the media related to elections with panelists from diverse backgrounds. This roundtable discussion included Alex Stanton, an Elections Technician III with the Johnson County Auditor’s Office, Lei Chen, Ph.D. student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Iowa with research interests including online deliberation and political communication, and Mark Emmert, editor of the Iowa City Press-Citizen and Burlington Hawk Eye newspapers.

Enjoying a home cooked meal at a Mennonite home in Kalona Historical Village.

The next day, the delegation took a trip to Kalona Historical Village, where they enjoyed guided visits to the Amish Dairy Goat Farm and Kalona Buggy Shop and a home cooked meal at a Mennonite home. After returning to Iowa City, they had the rest of the day to enjoy the performances at the Iowa City Jazz Festival and the fireworks in celebration of the Fourth of July.

On the 3rd, the delegation enjoyed lunch and outdoor games at our Celebration of Citizen Diplomacy Picnic in City Park. There, they were able to meet our volunteers and members, and even connect with the Mandela Washington Fellows who are here for the YALI program. The delegation had the Fourth of July free and were encouraged to attend the Coralville 4th Fest Parade.

We would like to thank Mr. Stanton, Mr. Chen, and Mr. Emmert for participating in this program. We would also like to thank Jay Gilchrist and Amanda Potterfield for volunteering their time. Our work at Global Ties Iowa would not be possible without the participation of local resources and community members like them.

Keep an eye on our blog and social media to get involved in future delegations!


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