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The Christo Grozev Fellowship

for Courageous Journalism

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In an age where truth is often obscured by disinformation, the need for courageous investigative journalism has never been more evident. The recent tragic passing of Alexei Navalny in a Russian prison serves as a stark reminder of the dangers faced by those who dare to challenge authoritarian powers. Now, more than ever, we must rally behind courageous journalists who risk their lives to expose corruption, uphold democratic principles, and hold the powerful to account.

At the American University in Bulgaria, we are proud to announce the launch of the Christo Grozev Fellowship for Courageous Journalism. Named in honor of Christo Grozev, a world-renowned investigative journalist and AUBG alum, this fellowship aims to cultivate a new generation of fearless reporters committed to truth and justice. Grozev's groundbreaking work, including his pivotal role in uncovering the truth behind the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, serves as a testament to the power of investigative journalism in safeguarding democracy.

Program Summary

Program Summary

  • The fellowship is named in honor of Christo Grozev, an esteemed alumnus of AUBG, who has distinguished himself as a formidable investigative journalist, gaining international acclaim for his courageous work including the exposure of the operatives behind the poisoning of Alexei Navalny in 2020. His work is the basis for the Academy Award winning documentary, Navalny.

    Grozev’s investigative reporting, which has landed him on Russian President Vladimir Putin's "most-wanted" list, is characterized by meticulous research and unwavering dedication to uncovering the truth. His work underscores the critical role of journalism in safeguarding democracy and advocating for justice. Grozev’s achievements serve as an inspiration to aspiring journalists and media professionals worldwide, embodying the spirit of resilience and the pursuit of truth in the face of adversity. Through his fearless pursuit of truth and dedication to unveiling injustices, Grozev exemplifies the profound impact that courageous journalism can have on society. The Christo Grozev Fellowship aims to cultivate a new generation of journalists who embody the same relentless spirit and commitment to democracy and human rights.

  • The mission of the Fellowship is to foster an empowered, globally connected cohort of investigative journalists equipped to tackle the complex challenges of the 21st century, safeguard democracy, and counter disinformation through meticulous, fearless, and ethically grounded journalism. The fellowship will empower journalists with the skills, resources, and ethical grounding necessary to conduct in-depth investigations in an increasingly complex global landscape, fostering a culture of accountability and transparency, which are essential for the health and wellbeing of democratic societies.

  • As Russia leverages its BRIC+ presidency to extend disinformation campaigns and consolidate its influence across the Global South, the imperative for a robust, informed, and courageous journalistic front has never been more important. The Grozev Fellowship represents a vital step toward fostering a network of journalists across who are not only adept at uncovering the truth but also resilient in the face of attempts to silence them.

    The world is at a pivotal moment in the fight against disinformation and the defense of democratic principles. The strategic importance of engaging journalists from Eastern Europe to regions directly impacted by Russian disinformation campaigns cannot be overstated. Journalists in these areas operate in environments where the freedom of the press is often restricted, and the risks associated with exposing truths are significantly heightened. By involving journalists from these regions, the fellowship will not only amplify voices that are crucial to the global discourse on democracy and governance but also foster a collaborative network of media professionals committed to the principles of transparency, accountability, and informed public debate.

About the Fellowship

About the Fellowship

  • Each year, through a competitive selection process, two to five fellows will be invited to participate in a transformative journey aimed at bolstering their commitment to democracy and accountable governance.

    The program includes:

    • In-Person Immersion at AUBG: Fellows will visit the AUBG campus for a two-week intensive program featuring seminars and workshops, training sessions, and insightful exchanges with faculty, students, and members of the local media community. This immersive experience will not only enhance their investigative skills but also deepen 7 their understanding of the principles underpinning democratic societies. As part of their in-person visit, fellows will engage in a panel discussion, sharing their experiences, challenges, and aspirations with the AUBG community and external audiences. This will foster a dialogue on the importance of courageous journalism in safeguarding democracy.
    • Mentorship and Collaborative Projects: Fellows will benefit from mentorship by seasoned journalists and experts. They will collaborate on investigative projects that aim to uncover truths vital to the public interest and the democratic health of their home countries, regions and the world.
    • Christo Grozev Award for Courageous Journalism: An award will be bestowed upon the fellow or fellows whose work during the program most effectively embodies the spirit of courage, integrity, and societal impact, serving as a testament to the power of journalism in the face of adversity.
  • Participants in the fellowship are selected through a competitive process, based on their demonstrated commitment to journalistic integrity, courage, and a proposal for an investigative project with potential for significant national, regional or global impacts. The program encompasses intensive training workshops, a robust mentorship program linking fellows with experienced journalists, opportunities for networking and professional development, and financial support in the form of a stipend to cover travel and project costs.

    • Empowering Voices for Democracy: The fellowship aspires to empower a network of investigative journalists with the skills, courage, and ethical grounding needed to hold power to account. By doing so, we aim to strengthen the fabric of democracy, which relies on transparency and accountability
    • Counteracting Disinformation: In an era where disinformation campaigns are increasingly sophisticated and globally orchestrated, particularly by authoritarian regimes, the fellowship seeks to bolster the capacity of journalists to identify, expose, and counter such narratives. This is not just about fact-checking but involves deep investigative work that gets to the root of disinformation sources and methods.
    • Global Network of Courageous Journalists: The fellowship envisions the creation of a vibrant, global network of fellows and alumni who support each other across borders. This network will serve as a powerful collective that shares resources, collaborates on cross-border stories, and provides mutual support in times of challenge.
    • Innovation in Journalism: The fellowship will foster innovation in journalism, encouraging fellows to leverage new technologies and storytelling methods to engage audiences and bring critical issues to light in compelling ways that resonate across diverse populations.
  • The Christo Grozev Fellowship for Courageous Journalism will cultivate a cadre of journalists who are not only adept at navigating the complexities of the modern information landscape but also committed to the principles of democracy and accountable governance. By equipping these individuals with the necessary tools, networks, and platforms, the fellowship is designed to achieve the following impact and legacy:

    • Strengthen Democratic Institutions: By increasing public awareness and understanding of critical issues, the work of our fellows will lead to more informed public discourse, greater civic engagement, and pressure for policy changes that strengthen democratic governance.
    • Build Resilience Against Disinformation: Journalists trained through the fellowship will be on the frontline of the fight against disinformation, helping to inoculate societies against the corrosive effects of false narratives and ensuring that truth prevails.
    • Promote Press Freedom: By highlighting the work of our fellows and advocating for their protection, the fellowship will contribute to a global movement for press freedom.
    • Inspire Future Generations: Through education, mentorship, and the example set by fellows, the fellowship will inspire students and future generations of journalists to pursue investigative journalism with integrity, courage, and a commitment to democracy.
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I am humbled to learn that new scholarship & fellowship programs have been named after me.

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