Thursday, March 5, 2009

PMC welcomes Asian media pair for studies

By Josephine Latu: Pacific Media Centre

Two Asian journalists – from very diverse backgrounds – were welcomed by Dr Alan Cocker, head of AUT’s School of Communication Studies, in a cosy ceremony at the Pacific Media Centre today.

Wang Nan, 28, from China, and Violet Cho, 25, an indigenous Karen from Burma, will be attached to the centre while they pursue postgraduate studies at AUT.

Wang is a cultural affairs editor for China and is on a semester-long exchange internship.

The Beijing native holds a degree in English language and literature, and counts painting and photography among her creative interests.

Her attitude reflects the mutual benefits of cultural exchange.

“If people want to know about Chinese culture and custom, I am happy to share my knowledge and work,” she said.

“But I also want to learn new things. Some of the paper courses I’m taking – like photography and design – I’ve never touched before.”

Her colleague, Cho, who writes for Irrawaddy magazine, is more interested in raising awareness about the challenges of her homeland as well as the Burmese community in New Zealand.

“It’s impossible for a people outside of a country to know what it’s really like in another society,” she said.

Cho’s childhood was spent moving between refugee camps, fleeing to Thailand because of the threats her family faced from the military due to her father’s involvement in the Karen National Union (KNU).

Now living in exile because of her activism and “dissident” reporting, Cho is this year’s inaugural winner of PMC’s Asian Journalism Fellowship. She hopes her BCS (Hons) degree will help her produce more critical media about Burmese issues.

“We can build networks and maybe help each other achieve some of our aims in activism,” she said.

At the welcome ceremony, both Cho and Wang were garlanded with traditional lei flowers and presented with AUT tee shirts.

Cho thanked Dr Cocker, PMC director Dr David Robie and the sponsoring Asia New Zealand Foundation for the “tireless efforts” in getting her to New Zealand.

Pictured: Top: Violet Cho (left) and Wang Nan at the welcome. Above: Cho, Wang and Dr Robie. Photo: Alan Koon.

China Daily
Asia New Zealand Foundation

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