DC Philanthropists Fund Missouri Journalism Fellowship for Indian Reporter

Frank Islam and Debbie Driesman

The Frank Islam and Debbie Driesman Fellowship will help an enterprising young reporter from India learn how to hold accountable the country’s people in power.

Columbia, Mo. (Dec. 14, 2016) — The Frank Islam and Debbie Driesman Foundation has made a significant donation to Alfred Friendly Press Partners. The monies will fund a fellowship in 2017 for an enterprising young reporter from India who will spend six months training at the Missouri School of Journalism and working on the staff of a major U.S. newsroom.

The Frank Islam and Debbie Driesman Fellow will learn, through hands-on training and practical experience, the skills needed to hold people in power in India accountable, through well-reported stories and investigative articles, data-driven reporting projects and multi-platform presentations.

Islam and Driesman will help select the eponymous Fellow, and Islam will interact with the 2017 Alfred Friendly Fellowship Class and speak during the awards ceremony at the end of the fellowship in Washington, D.C., in September.

“Our foundation is proud to join hands with AFPP to support this fellowship,” Frank Islam, president of the Foundation, said. “Debbie and I consider the fellowship a strategic investment in the free press. Over the past three decades, AFPP has trained 15 world-class journalists from India who have gone on to become leaders in the field. It is our earnest belief that the FIDD Fellow will continue that tradition.”

Islam heads the FI Investment Group, a private investment holding company. He has authored two books, is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and serves on many boards including Kennedy Center of Performing Arts, Marymount University, American Universities in Afghanistan and Dubai. Driesman worked as a computer engineer in NASA’s communication division at Goddard Space Flight Center until she retired. She serves on the boards of numerous organizations and foundations.

“We are especially delighted to welcome Frank Islam and Debbie Driesman to our fold,” Professor Randall D. Smith, president of Alfred Friendly Press Partners, said. “Support such as theirs is the reason that we’ve been able to train more than 300 journalists from more than 80 countries for over 30 years. Debbie and Frank are ambassadors for democracy, and they understand the critical importance of a free press. Their investment will impact countless lives in ways that can’t yet be imagined. That’s the potential of quality journalism.”

The Friendly family established the fellowship program in 1984 because they believe all just societies must have a vigorous and principled free press. The nonprofit organization has worked with more than 60 U.S. newsrooms to prepare Fellows to practice professional, ethical, and innovative journalism. Alfred Friendly formalized a partnership with the Missouri School of Journalism in September.

Islam and his wife started their nonprofit foundation in 2007. It is located in Potomac, Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C. The primary mission of the foundation is to promote education, art and culture, and peace and conflict resolution.

For more information about Alfred Friendly Press Partners, contact program Director David Reed at david@presspartners.org or 573-882-9650, or visit www.presspartners.org.

Updated: October 9, 2020

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