Students awarded prestigious Pulitzer fellowships

June 21, 2022
An undergraduate reporting team from Northwestern University in Qatar has been selected for a Pulitzer Center 2022 Reporting Fellowship.
Northwestern Qatar students have received numerous grants for international reporting projects as part of an ongoing partnership with the Pulitzer Center. “This year’s reporting team, like Pulitzer fellows before them, will be making a significant impact beyond the classroom through their research and reporting. Because these teams report on topics of global importance that have been under-reported in the mainstream media, they are also contributing to knowledge production in the Global South,” said Marwan M. Kraidy, dean and CEO at Northwestern Qatar.
This year’s fellowship will support Laiba Mubashar and Muhammad Wasay Mir with a project to report on the challenges that face survivors of acid attacks in Pakistan. They plan to produce a film documenting how acid attack victims working in the beauty salon industry in Pakistan overcome the trauma of these attacks.
“Pakistan is one of the deadliest places for acid attacks in the world,” said Mubashar, noting that since 2015 more than 1,500 reported cases of acid attacks have been reported in Pakistan, most of which targeted women working in beauty salons. “Our project captures the tragic impact of acid attack violence and the challenges these vulnerable women, who in many cases are already rejected by society, face in their everyday lives,” she said.
Mubashar pointed out that the project will bring to light aspects of the issue that are often underreported in mainstream media. “There has been a lot of coverage on acid attacks all around the world, but there is little reported on the empowerment journey of the victims and how they are going about rebuilding their lives in the years after the crimes,” said Mubashar.
“This year’s reporting team, like Pulitzer fellows before them, will be making a significant impact beyond the classroom through their research and reporting”
- Marwan M. Kraidy, dean and CEO of Northwestern Qatar
For Wasay Mir, focusing on stories highlighting the victims’ resilience underscores their willingness to persevere and overcome the trauma of the attacks. “These survivors are not like damsels in distress; they are actually doing something with their lives, and there are people who are helping them,” said Wasay Mir. “We want to bring their struggle and journey into the limelight, and we want to show that they are making a difference in their own lives and that they have not given up even though it is an adversity of the worst sort. 
Craig LaMay, director of the Journalism and Strategic Communication Program, said that Northwestern Qatar’s partnership with the Pulitzer Center provides students with a unique opportunity to engage directly in global reporting projects. “Our students cover a wide range of social issues using the skills they have acquired through their Northwestern Qatar education to explore issues that are not being covered by other media,” LaMay said.
The Reporting Fellowships is an annual grants program awarded to undergraduate students. Students from Northwestern Qatar, along with fellows from other universities who have received grants and fellowships from the Pulitzer Center, undertake international reporting projects that focus on underreported issues around the world.
Past projects by Northwestern Qatar students have included a documentary on the marginalized community of scrap collectors working in Pakistan’s informal waste disposal industry and another examining the lifting of the death penalty in Pakistan.