Luisa Ryan

Luisa Ryan is a Rotary World Peace Fellow at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, studying a Masters of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Her research interests include the role of local journalists in peace building efforts in conflict-affected countries, and the role of media and national identity in conflict. This summer, she will travel to Liberia to take part in a project training local journalists on election coverage. She graduated from the University of Queensland, Australia, in 2003 with an Arts degree (French, Spanish and International Relations) and a Sociology degree with Honors, specializing in nationalism studies. After graduation, she participated in a tolerance education program in Poland, interned with the Australian Mission to the UN in New York, and worked as a research assistant for International Crisis Group in Brussels and Nepal before commencing work with the United Nations. Luisa worked as a Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist in remote communities in Nepal with UNFPA before joining the United Nations Mission in Nepal’s Office of Civil Affairs to monitor Nepal’s fledgling peace process. In 2008, Luisa returned to Australia to lead Australian Red Cross Queensland’s International Programs department, before taking up her Rotary fellowship at the University of North Carolina.

Liberian Golden Image Awards

  Last Tuesday Rabbie and Ja-Rock, our guides to all things cultural, took us along as they performed at the nomination ceremony for Liberia’s first annual Golden Image Awards. The awards are designed to showcase those who have contributed to the post-conflict growth of peace and arts. Accompanying the nomination ceremony was a small art fair, which, aside from our friends’ performance of course, was one of the highlights of the day. It is difficult on a visit to Monrovia to find … [Read more...]

“Gaffa girl” makes mark in rap

Having spent the last two days working on the set of a real, live reggae video, I can now add “gaffa” to my CV. I am someone with few, if any, practical visual media skills. So how did I end up on the production team for what might be the most polished music video to ever come out of Monrovia? The story starts, as the best ones always do, in the hotel bar. Exhausted after a day of media training in the sticky Liberian summer, I was trudging through the bar to the dining room when Sayeed, … [Read more...]

Local radio is key to Liberians’ stories

We began this week by spending two nights in Cestos, the capital of Rivercess County. One of the aims of the Together Liberia project is to give greater voice to people in communities outside of Monrovia. The print media here in particular seems to concentrate mostly on big-city politics. I have yet to see a single story on life outside of the nation’s capital. It might just be that I am not reading widely enough, but I don’t think so. I am trying to talk to as many journalists as I can, and … [Read more...]

Church welcomes our team

We arrived at the church an hour late; one of our two taxis had broken down. Joseph, a taxi driver and presiding elder in the church, was dressed to the nines in an orange blazer and navy tie. He had told the congregation that he was bringing foreign guests, and was obviously anxious to deliver on his promise. The church was in the middle of a very poor neighborhood. Because of the rain, there were deep, muddy puddles in the road that our low-slung taxi struggled to get through. People along … [Read more...]