05 July 1986


Elvia Lucía Vélez Colombia
Daniel Libardi Argentina
Frederick Brum Vieira Brazil
Judith Ellen Cantor USA
Michael Cowan USA
Cristopher H. Marquis USA
Gail R. Friedman USA
  Testimony of Scholarship Winners    

My journalism career began in the early 70’s in Victoria, ES, much as many others begin: by writing a weekly column. My column on Scouting was published in a kids’ supplement of the newspaper A Gazeta. It was unpaid and the only requirement was “reasonably good writing.”

Someone in the newsroom liked how I wrote and asked me to do an internship on the city desk. I was hesitant, but soon was covering health daily and on the payroll! For many years I studied (3 degrees, one in journalism) and continued working at A Gazeta covering politics and economy, and was eventually promoted to deputy editor on that desk. I also worked for TV Gazeta, part of Globo, for a state-run radio station, and as press secretary to the United Steelworkers. I even partnered in a publishing house and at the same time was elected union leader for two terms.

But the moment arrived when I realized that my career needed a boost – so I left journalism temporarily for graduate school, fi rst at FGV in Rio de Janeiro under a scholarship from CNPq and then in the United States under an IAPA grant from Time magazine at the University of New York where I interned at Globo with Lucas Mendes. On returning to Brazil, more studies at FGV and a job with the Jornal do Brasil where I stayed for fi ve years, then moving on, in several career changes, fi rst to work as a policy advisor for the US State Dept, then back to Globo, on to teaching and finally as a researcher at IBGE until retirement. Post retirement sees me back at my studies where I’ve earned 10 degrees, 3 master’s and a doctorate in addition to writing several scientific articles and a book. I am currently preparing for a post-doctorate in London and Paris and also, possibly, in some town in Germany.

It’s no exaggeration to say that the IAPA scholarship changed my life and defi ned the path my career would follow. I was a young American journalist who had worked at the New York-AP agency. Upon arrival in Buenos Aires, my view of the world and how I would write about it changed forever.

The scholarship brought me the opportunity to become bilingual, and the circumstances in Argentina at that time allowed me to witness the role the Arts play in social change. Since then my work has focused on the concept of culture, whether in Latin America, Spain, where I moved later, or in Miami, where I later wrote about cultural policies in southern Florida and Cuba.

After the grant ended I stayed in Buenos Aires for almost two years working as a music critic for the Buenos Aires Herald. The experience taught me the power of music and the shared stories of the musicians. I do not know where work and life would have led me had it not been for the scholarship, but I’m grateful to the IAPA for starting me on an incredible journey. I am currently editor of Billboard in Spanish. I live in Los Angeles, CA. You can contact me at [email protected]