IWMF Selects Anjana Sankar as 2024 Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow

Indian journalist will report on conflict and migration at leading news outlets; Indonesian journalist Margareth Aritonang is runner-up

[August 2, 2023 – WASHINGTON, DC] The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) today announced print journalist Anjana Sankar as the organization’s 2024 IWMF Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow. A veteran journalist, Sankar was chosen by a selection committee from more than 160 applicants across 59 countries. In its 19th year, the fellowship awards one journalist the opportunity to study and report on wide ranging issues of human rights while working in the United States.

Next year, Sankar will begin her fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for International Studies as a research associate. Following her study, she will embed with The Boston Globe, and later, The New York Times. Throughout her 15-year reporting career, Sankar has highlighted several human rights and social justice issues, notably through her extensive coverage of the Rohingya refugee crisis and the community’s ongoing plight in Myanmar and Bangladesh.

“It is a tremendous honor to be named the 2024 IWMF Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow – a remarkable opportunity that will help me bring a pro-human rights approach to my reporting,” said Sankar from Abu Dhabi. “I’ve seen firsthand the devastating toll of war and humanitarian crisis. As a result, I’ve gained a profound sense of urgency to amplify the voices of the displaced and oppressed to the fore. This Fellowship will empower me to tell underreported human stories that need to be told.

Based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sankar is a senior reporter at The National covering migrant workers, South Asian affairs, expatriate welfare, and foreign affairs. Committed to exposing the human cost of conflict, Sankar has reported on the ground from Syria and inside Kurdish prisons; embedded with Emirati military forces and covered the UAE’s deployment in the Saudi-led war; and reported on the coalition forces’ counter-terrorism war against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Sankar’s coverage also includes the initial peace deal between Israel and the UAE, the Syrian refugee influx into Germany and natural disasters in India and Nepal.

“Like Elizabeth, Anjana’s international reporting reflects her drive to cover those gravely affected by human rights abuses, and consequently, to advocate for their rights,” says Elisa Lees Muñoz, Executive Director of the IWMF. “Given her notable career reporting from the frontlines worldwide, the IWMF looks forward to the critical and nuanced reporting Anjana will bring to the human cost of conflict.”

This year’s runner-up is Indonesian journalist Margareth Aritonang. Aritonang is currently the Indonesia editor of the non-profit journalism initiative The Gecko Project, which focuses on researching and reporting environmental crises and their impacts on indigenous communities. Her prior reporting includes coverage for the Indonesian newspaper The Jakarta Post, where she investigated military and security affairs, human rights, Indonesia’s national politics and policymaking.

This fellowship was created nearly two decades ago in memory of Elizabeth Neuffer, a Boston Globe correspondent and an IWMF Courage in Journalism Award winner. Neuffer was killed in 2003 while reporting in Iraq; following her death, and in collaboration with her family, friends and peers, the IWMF established the fellowship to honor Neuffer’s legacy while advancing the work of women reporting within the field of human rights and social justice reporting.

More information about the Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship and other programs can be found on the IWMF website.


About the International Women’s Media Foundation

The IWMF is the only global organization built to serve the holistic needs of women and nonbinary journalists. We are a bold and inclusive organization that supports journalists where they are with awards, reporting opportunities, fellowships, grants, safety training and emergency aid. As one of the largest supporters of women-produced journalism, our transformative work strengthens equal opportunity and press freedom worldwide. Follow the IWMF on Twitter at @IWMF, on Facebook at @IWMFPage, on Instagram on @TheIWMF and on TikTok @theiwmf.

Media Contact: Charlotte Fox