Meet Our Core Team

At Correspondents of the World we believe in flat hierarchies. We spread tasks and responsibilities among different teams so that everyone can focus on what they know (and like) best and no-one is just being handed tasks from "above". Our Core Team is responsible for the global coordination of the different teams, communicating with partners and sponsors and growing our community. Our core team members are:

Joost
Founder Global Coordination and Partnerships Contact Joost

Joost Backer - Global Coordination and Partnerships

Joost believes stories can change your life: in fact, life is made of stories. Travelling across Latin America, Iran, home-country Holland and other parts of the world, he became fascinated by the incredible amount of experiences people deal with. Personal stories. True stories.

Realizing that one story told by the person herself, can say so much more than 100 news-articles about that person. In July 2019 he therefore decided to put words into deeds and created Correspondents of the World. 

When he’s not busy with Correspondents of the World, Joost works as a Sustainability Consultant at NewForesight, composes piano-songs and plays football. His inspiration: The documentary series Human. Contact him ([email protected]) if you'd like to write a story, share ideas, or just chat.

Janosch
Co-Founder Website and Design Contact Janosch

Janosch Haber - Website and Design

Janosch isn't a very outgoing person, but even he strikes up a conversation with a stranger if he's crammed into a bus for an hour-long journey through the Philippine highlands or stranded with a broken rental car somewhere in the desert between Jerusalem and Jericho. In his view, people telling their stories and sharing their views are a unique chance to widen your understanding, veering from your own perspective and maybe getting a glimpse of something invisible or overlooked before.

Janosch currently is a PhD candidate in Computational Linguistics in London. He works on mapping out the quirks of language to help computers understand us better. And the more he learns and understands about that, the less he seems to understand about language itself. It's weird. Oh, and he also gets talked into making websites from time to time.

Co-Founder Policy Coordination Contact Mira

Mira Kinn - Policy Coordination

Mira finished her studies in International Studies on Media, Power, and Difference, where she next to the power relations and construction of global news dealt with the correlation of media and democracy in Latin America.

In the meantime, she has been working as a Seminar Leader for Peace and Conflict Studies and feels very grateful to include all the stories of the amazing people, she met along the way, in the blog. 

Besides, she is a fan of sustainability, cats and singing (not just in the shower). A huge inspiration for creative writing is Isabel Allende's "house of spirits" for her, as it illustrates the interdependence of real political/historical happenings paired with magical fiction.

Co-Founder Community Management Contact Ingvild

Ingvild S. Farstad - Community Management

Ingvild believes that every cup of tea spent with someone with a different background is a little adventure in itself. Thus she has been spending lots of hours drinking tea on her travels and longer stays around the world convinced that through stories, we create a common ground despite our differences, and encourage a sense of global community. 

Apart from travelling and drinking tea with people, she is driven by the idea of business as the key player in creating a more socially and environmentally sustainable world. Thus, currently studying Economics and Business Administration and taking courses in Conflict-studies and Human Rights whenever she has the chance.

Ingvild considers Mexico as her second home in this world, and will always try to convince you into learning a new language (especially Spanish with Mexican slang). Besides, she is a yogi, cat-lover, and Cuban salsa dancer. Also, she is always up for a fine-tune of reggeaton. 

Melaina Dyck
Senior Editor Contact Melaina

Melaina Dyck - Senior Editor

Melaina is passionate about the power of stories in order to create connection. Personally and professionally, she driven by the desire to meet people and learn new perspectives.

With a Masters in Environmental Science, Melaina works at the intersection of human rights and environmental issues, advocating for communities whose stories are not always heard. Melaina has had the opportunity to travel, live and study in 11 countries (so far!). 

Melaina enjoys the challenging art of editing and writing. She is Correspondents of the World Senior Editor and USA Country Manager. Correspondents of the World combines several of her favourite things: learning from diverse perspectives, connecting with people all over the world, and working with words to tell stories.

Send her an email ([email protected]) if you’d like to chat. She looks forward to meeting you! 

Veronica
Translation Project Manager Contact Veronica

Veronica Burgstaller - Translation Project Manager

I am Veronica, a person who has since childhood lived in many different countries in Asia and Europe. After my studies, I moved to South Korea and who knew then that I would spend three whole years there which were one of the most fascinating and happiest years so far. Passionate about facilitating understanding between people, I don’t believe that culture, nation and language should be a barrier. I hope to bring people closer to East Asian history and culture and vice versa. Besides my passion for travel, I love food, cinema and doing Taekwondo.

Meet Our Regional Ambassadors

Regional Ambassadors make contact with new correspondents, initiatives and partners in a region that they are an expert in. They coordinate the dissemination of stories in those different regions and care for the local community. Our Regional Ambassadors are:

Brurce Mecca
Regional Ambassador for Indonesia Contact Brurce

Brurce Mecca - Regional Ambassador for Indonesia

Story is the window to understand the world. We are never deprived of it. All we need to do is just listen.

Brurce believes that stories are the most powerful tool capable of bringing change. While not everyone has the same opportunity to share their stories, he believes that it is on everyone's shoulder to help the world to listen better. Especially listening to the unheard.

Brurce is a climate policy analyst with expertise in climate finance and equity. He has worked on various environmental issues in Indonesia. Furthermore, he is also volunteering in social activism on gender justice. During his free time, he enjoys arts and hiking. He obtained his master's degree from Yale University and bachelor's from Institut Teknologi Bandung.

Charu Thukral
Regional Ambassador for India Contact Charu

Charu Thukral - Regional Ambassador for India

Namaste from India. I am Charu, a 30 years ’not-so-old' woman from the city of Taj, Agra, living in the city of dreams, Mumbai. I have done my higher studies in economics from a beautiful city called Pune. I proudly call myself a feminist.

By profession I am a development sector executive engaged in a new-born agri-business. By passion, I am a yoga practitioner and trainer. Yoga broadens the connection between me and the universe, spiritually speaking, and I am open to sharing the knowledge with whoever wishes to walk the path.

Melaina Dyck
Regional Ambassador for USA Contact Melaina

Melaina Dyck - Regional Ambassador for USA

Melaina is passionate about the power of stories in order to create connection. Personally and professionally, she driven by the desire to meet people and learn new perspectives.

With a Masters in Environmental Science, Melaina works at the intersection of human rights and environmental issues, advocating for communities whose stories are not always heard. Melaina has had the opportunity to travel, live and study in 11 countries (so far!). 

Melaina enjoys the challenging art of editing and writing. She is Correspondents of the World Senior Editor and USA Country Manager. Correspondents of the World combines several of her favourite things: learning from diverse perspectives, connecting with people all over the world, and working with words to tell stories.

Send her an email ([email protected]) if you’d like to chat. She looks forward to meeting you! 

Zhihao Zhong
Regional Ambassador for China Contact Zhihao

Zhihao Zhong - Regional Ambassador for China

Zhihao (he/they) studies public policy in Berlin. He has been on his journey exploring intersectionality for a while and wants to bridge the understanding of intersectional inequity with storytelling.

Zhihao has taught at a village school in South China and studied journalism. You can find his voice through his podcast '听不见 UNHEARD' on Spotify, where he talks to people in Chinese trying to apply an intersectional scope. By the way, Berlin has turned him into a happy vegetarian.

Meet Our Social Media Team

Social media often is woven into the fabric of our everyday life. At Correspondents of the World we want to be visible on different social media platforms - both within our community and for new readers (and correspondents). We are currently growing towards being able to react to global news stories with the stories of our corespondents to display their individual relevance. Our social media team members are:

Janosch
Co-Founder Design and Social Media Contact Janosch

Janosch Haber - Design and Social Media

Janosch isn't a very outgoing person, but even he strikes up a conversation with a stranger if he's crammed into a bus for an hour-long journey through the Philippine highlands or stranded with a broken rental car somewhere in the desert between Jerusalem and Jericho. In his view, people telling their stories and sharing their views are a unique chance to widen your understanding, veering from your own perspective and maybe getting a glimpse of something invisible or overlooked before.

Janosch currently is a PhD candidate in Computational Linguistics in London. He works on mapping out the quirks of language to help computers understand us better. And the more he learns and understands about that, the less he seems to understand about language itself. It's weird. Oh, and he also gets talked into making websites from time to time.

Veronica
Social Media and Communications Contact Veronica

Veronica Burgstaller - Social Media and Communications

I am Veronica, a person who has since childhood lived in many different countries in Asia and Europe. After my studies, I moved to South Korea and who knew then that I would spend three whole years there which were one of the most fascinating and happiest years so far. Passionate about facilitating understanding between people, I don’t believe that culture, nation and language should be a barrier. I hope to bring people closer to East Asian history and culture and vice versa. Besides my passion for travel, I love food, cinema and doing Taekwondo.

Meet Our Editors

Because we welcome everyone's story, we have a team of awesome editors to communicate with correspondents and help them with their writing. Our editors give feedback about story drafts and help correspondents to make their story accessible to a global readership. Our editors also check that our correspondents' stories are personal experiences rather than "about" something. Our editors are:

Melaina Dyck
Senior Editor Contact Melaina

Melaina Dyck - Senior Editor

Melaina is passionate about the power of stories in order to create connection. Personally and professionally, she driven by the desire to meet people and learn new perspectives.

With a Masters in Environmental Science, Melaina works at the intersection of human rights and environmental issues, advocating for communities whose stories are not always heard. Melaina has had the opportunity to travel, live and study in 11 countries (so far!). 

Melaina enjoys the challenging art of editing and writing. She is Correspondents of the World Senior Editor and USA Country Manager. Correspondents of the World combines several of her favourite things: learning from diverse perspectives, connecting with people all over the world, and working with words to tell stories.

Send her an email ([email protected]) if you’d like to chat. She looks forward to meeting you! 

Editor Contact Rick

Rick Scherpenhuizen - Editor

Rick believes that gaining multiple perspectives about different cultures, ethnicities and sexualities is what can make you grow as a person. There are always multiple sides to every story. Honesty is key! That’s why he became very excited about editing for Correspondents of the World.

When he moved to Barcelona for two years, his world changed a lot. By talking to (and befriending) interesting people from all over the planet, he began to understand himself and others around him. That is the period that made him who he is today. But growing never stops.

Now living in Amsterdam, Rick is mastering in the science of Politics, while focusing on International Relations. In the future, when he finishes his studies, he would like to become a journalist, to be able to tell people’s personal experiences, make sure the world keeps on growing and to fight ignorance. Especially by spreading honest stories from minority groups, like the LGBT+ community.

Besides that, Rick is crazy about jazz music and all different kinds of sports!

Stéphanie Hamel - Editor

Stéphanie is an Amsterdam-based writer and editor. Originally from the Normand countryside in France, she spent her twenties hopping from one country to another and finally chose the Netherlands for its tropical weather.

While she holds a Master's degree in American Studies and specialises in topics related to gender and postcolonialism, she has mostly worked unglamorous jobs and has an unhealthy amount of memes saved on her phone.

After years of being asked to proofread and edit her friends' cover letters, academic papers and short stories, she is more than elated to be part of the CotW editorial team. Not only does she love being exposed to honest personal stories that wouldn't otherwise make it to the headlines, but helping budding writers reach their highest narrative potential also brings her immense joy.

 

Timothy O'Rourke (Tim) - Editor

I am a dual national French English, I've lived my childhood in France then stayed in a number of European countries along the way, including the UK. I've worked as an editor and translator for more than a decade. I now reside in Amsterdam with my family, and I'm slowly discovering my new environment.

Meet Our Translators

While most of our website is in English, we have a growing team of translators to make our stories accessible to other language communities, too. Our translators translate stories either from a correspondent's native language into English, or from English into a range of other languages so they can be shared with people who are more comfortable in other languages. Our translators are:

Alireza Shadmani
Translator for French and Farsi Contact Alireza

Alireza Shadmani - Translator for French and Farsi

My name is Alireza, and I was born in Fasa, Iran. My hometown is near a historical place called Persepolis, which was built in 2500 BC. I recently graduated with a master’s degree in Civil Engineering, however, I always loved to write and read new stories and tales. I love to build a safer place for people to live there, and it was also my dream from the past; that is why I chose civil engineering. I have a great passion for getting familiar with new cultures and people. I love to help people in many cases, and I do everything I can in this regard. Additionally, I have been interested in learning new languages since childhood.

Anita Landolfo
Translator for Italian Contact Anita

Anita Landolfo - Translator for Italian

Hi! My name is Anita and I’m a native Italian speaker. I’m from Naples but I lived for a short time in Rome where I graduated from university with a Master’s degree in Interpreting and Translation (English and Chinese). Since I was a child I have always been passionate about music, that’s why during my years of study I also worked as a professional singer in the music industry. Languages and music have both taught me that words hide powerful meanings, so when I heard about Correspondents of the World I soon decided to grasp this huge opportunity and join the team as a volunteer translator. This means a lot to me and I’m looking forward to giving voice to all those amazing stories around the world!

Aobh
Translator for Spanish Contact Aobh

Aobh - Translator for Spanish

Hi my name is Aobh!! I know it is a strange spelling, but it sounds like Eve. I am Irish and I currently live in the North of Ireland. After finishing my Bachelors in European Studies with German and Spanish I decided that I wanted to do a Master in Translation. I am currently completing my Master and I do some freelance translations on the side. I have always had a passion for languages, communication, politics, and cultural studies so I am not surprised I ended studying what I did. I have lived in Germany, Spain, and Italy for various lengths of time and loved each place in their own way. I am a firm believer that through language we can learn and experience more about one another which is why I love to chat or as we say in Ireland have a bit of “craic”. When I am not translating you can find me outside in the garden with my pets including two ducks. We all need something that is a little quackers in our life.

Atousa Nasertork
Translator for Farsi Contact Atousa

Atousa Nasertork - Translator for Farsi

My name is Atousa. I am from Tehran, the capital city of Iran. I am actually a Civil Engineer, and currently, I am finishing my master thesis in Earthquake Engineering (which is a mixture of SHM and AI if you are interested smile). During my free time, I enjoy swimming, doing yoga, playing piano/flute/xylophone, reading books, watching movies, cooking, and hanging out with friends. Alongside my studies, I was always interested in paying attention to my social role; I tried to be more beneficial for both Iranians and immigrants of Iran by working in NGOs and participating in charities. Besides, I have always had a passion for learning new languages and getting familiar with different cultures. So, I guess all these feelings and passions brought me this way long from that different background to be a translator in the CotW!

Büşra
Translator for Turkish Contact Büşra

Büşra Çavundur - Translator for Turkish

My name is Büşra and I am one of the translators of Correspondents of the World. I love cooking, baking, books and art; I can be loud and quiet, talk and listen. I get the right dose of each of them every day. “Interaction” is my daily mantra. As a believer in lifelong learning, I am currently doing my masters on National and Transnational Studies and occupying myself with the issues related to culture, language and literature in the postcolonial world. Apart from studying, you can find me trying out new recipes, painting, taking care of my plants and  translating some stories into Turkish for you!

Cassie Dai
Translator for Mandarin Contact Cassie

Cassie Dai - Translator for Mandarin

Hi, I am Cassie, one of the translators of Correspondents of the World. I am Chinese, and now live in Edinburgh. I’ve always loved languages, especially English with its many interesting devices, and the simple joy in feeling good words roll off my tongue. That is why I chose translation as my postgraduate study. In my studies as an English major, I have also obtained knowledge on the diverse cultural backgrounds of the many English-speaking countries.

I love traveling. I think travelling is the best way to know more about cultures of the world. Due to my busy study, I have only been to South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and the UK. I hope I can explore more countries in the future. I am fond of cooking as well. It is a way for me to relax after a busy schedule. I am good at cooking various Chinese cuisines. Apart from that, I am also a football fanatic.

Giovanna Luisetto
Translator for Italian Contact Giovanna

Giovanna Luisetto - Translator for Italian

Translation is my natural inclination and my gift, it simply makes me happy, so I'm really proud to be a part of the team. I'm 47, I live in Padua, in the north of Italy, and I started working when I was 19, but I've always been in love with foreign languages, English in particular. I've always wanted to be an interpreter, but sometimes life is strange and difficult and dreams cannot be realized. But you know, when you have a passion you never forget it, so in 2016 I started to study translation and I discovered that it's a creative and beautiful world too. When I translate I'm completely centered and concentrated, I feel a kind of perfect alignment with my soul. That's why I'll never stop.

Insang Cho
Translator for Korean Contact Insang

Insang Cho - Translator for Korean

Hi! I'm Insang and I am a Korean Translator at CotW. I'm currently living in Kent, in the UK and enjoying this English Countryside life a lot, which is pretty much the opposite to my previous one in Seoul, where there are always hundreds of thousands of people on streets!

My hobby is reading, cooking, singing, going to the gym for weight training and spinning which is an indoor cycling group exercise. Particularly I love spinning because I was a spin instructor for about 5 years back in Korea. On top of that, no matter where it is, I really like travelling! As I have visited over 12 countries and 27 cities in Europe, Asia and Africa. I've learnt original cultures, traditions, and unique differences in each country and city, but most of all, I've attained a global perspective and learnt the lesson, 'Every single person is similar regardless of race and country'.

I'm so grateful beyond words that I could join CotW and I really appreciate having the opportunity to spread lots of different types of stories all over the globe! I hope I can disseminate numerous stories in Korean and help make a better world.

Jie Li
Translator for Mandarin Contact Jie

Jie Li - Translator for Mandarin

My name is Jie Li, and I am from Beijing, the capital city of China. I am an English-Mandarin translator. I currently live in Edinburgh, one of the most beautiful cities in the UK. I have finished my master’s degree in Translation Studies at the University of Edinburgh. I have travelled to Finland, Japan, France and Germany. I am passionate about trying their foods and learning about their cultures and customs. After travelling to and studying in other countries, I realise that reading and translating articles around the world is also a useful and fascinating way to get to know the locals and different ways of life. It is my great pleasure to be part of Correspondents of the World and to spread ideas by applying what I have learned.

Katarina Benkova
Translator for Mandarin Contact Katarina

Katarina Benkova - Translator for Mandarin

Hi! My name is Katarina, currently in my final year of BA International Relations and Chinese. I love learning languages together with exploring different cultures and their unique history. As I come from Slovakia, I love nature and hiking. 

你好! 我叫Katarina, 目前是我在国际关系和中文专业的最后一年。我喜欢学习语言,探索不同的文化和他们独特的历史。由于我来自斯洛伐克,我热爱大自然和徒步旅行。

Leonardo
Translator for Spanish Contact Leonardo

Leonardo - Translator for Spanish

My name is Leonardo, and I am one of the translators of Correspondents of the World. I love reading, writing and drawing. I am a big believer in listening to and extending compassion and empathy to your enemy, no matter how abhorrent or vile they might be. I think science and knowledge are supremely important in today’s world, and understanding them is key to navigating day to day life. I am extremely interested in the practical and policy-based side of politics, much more so than the cultural side. I am learning to understand economic and political systems, and trying to figure out the most effective ways to reform or change them. I firmly believe in the power of dialogue (in person, through the internet, even through fiction) as a means to initiate change and I am fully sold on the idea that individuals can have a huge impact in the world around them. 

Maria Grazia Calarco
Translator for Italian Contact Maria

Maria Grazia Calarco - Translator for Italian

Hi! My name is Maria Grazia and I'm Italian. I am passionate about language and writing and keen to explore the world. After living for a while in the UK, I have recently moved to the Netherlands where I am studying Linguistics. 

I believe in the power of language and stories to foster understanding, overcome cultural barriers and shape our world. As so, I am glad to be part of the CotW team!

Melina Gutiérrez Hansen
Translator for Spanish and German Contact Melina

Melina Gutiérrez Hansen - Translator for Spanish and German

Hi everyone! My name is Melina and I come from the beautiful Canary Islands, Spain. My passion for languages and translation began at a very young age, basically since I’ve been able to talk! I grew up bilingual to a Spanish dad and a German mom, which is why I’ve come to enjoy the art of translating as a way for my family to understand each other. In addition to that, I consider myself a huuuge bookworm which is why I ended up studying for a bachelor’s in Modern Languages and Literature. I am currently living in bonnie Edinburgh (fun language fact, “bonnie” is how the Scottish say “beautiful”!) where I completed a master’s in Cultural Management. I love animals, baking (although my failed sourdough bread might say differently) and travelling! Being a part of CoTW has given me the amazing opportunity of continuing to work with languages with an amazing team, gaining more translation experience in the languages I speak and being able to help spread the wonderful stories of the writers to more people around the globe!

Sanjalee Chandrasekara
Translator for Sinhalese Contact Sanjalee

Sanjalee Chandrasekara - Translator for Sinhalese

Ayubowan! I’m Sanjalee Chandrasekara from Sri Lanka. I’m currently an 18 years old undergraduate following my higher education in English Language and Literature with the intention of being a linguist. I am also a student member of the chartered institute of linguists and volunteer as a translator for several international organizations.
Providing language services makes me realise how much language can help to strengthen people while helping the world to proceed forward without barriers. As a Sri-Lankan linguist, it’s a pleasure for me to make knowledge accessible for Sri-Lankan people in the Sinhala language.

Sati
Translator for Italian Contact Sati

Sati - Translator for Italian

Hello there, I’m Sati.
I was born 33 years ago in Milano, Italy, but I grew up surrounded by the beautiful Tuscan countryside.
Inspired by family background I started my own personal “quest for colors”, ending up in the most colorful Country on Earth: India!
Although I’m back to live in Italy, a piece of my heart is still there, where I’ve been thought how to give colors to life!

Stefania
Translator for French and Italian Contact Stefania

Stefania - Translator for French and Italian

Hi! I am Stefania and I am one of the translators of Correspondents of the World. Living in the biggest Italian island, Sicily, in the middle of the Meditarrenean Sea for all my life taught me how beautiful and enriching intercultural connections can be. I am passionate about language exchange, literature, history, art, spatial explorations, and I love music: listening to classical or jazz radios at least once per week!

I strongly believe that intercultural communication and cooperation can help us make the world a better place. I love listening to stories of people coming from different parts of the world and learning something new, listening to their viewpoints. For this reason, my education is mainly focused on Linguistics, foreign languages & civilizations, International Cooperation & Law, and Geopolitics through English and French language learning.

After completing my Master's degree, I would like to keep improving my language skills and keep making international exchanges as a part of my daily life. The same goes for cooking healthy (and not student recipes) homemade lasagne alla bolognese!

Veronica
Translator for Korean and German Contact Veronica

Veronica Burgstaller - Translator for Korean and German

I am Veronica, a person who has since childhood lived in many different countries in Asia and Europe. After my studies, I moved to South Korea and who knew then that I would spend three whole years there which were one of the most fascinating and happiest years so far. Passionate about facilitating understanding between people, I don’t believe that culture, nation and language should be a barrier. I hope to bring people closer to East Asian history and culture and vice versa. Besides my passion for travel, I love food, cinema and doing Taekwondo.

Vision

At Correspondents of the World, we want to contribute to a better understanding of one another in a world that seems to get smaller by the day - but somehow neglects to bring people closer together as well. We think that one of the most frequent reasons for misunderstanding and unnecessarily heated debates is that we don't really understand how each of us is affected differently by global issues.

Our aim is to change that with every personal story we share.

View Our Full Vision & Mission Statement

Growing Fast

Although we started just over a year ago, Correspondents of the World has a quickly growing community of correspondents - and a dedicated team of editors, translators and country managers.

77

Correspondents

92

Stories

43

Countries

277

Translations

Share your story

Every story we share is another perspective on a complex topic like migration, gender and sexuality or liberation. We believe that these personal stories are important to better understand what's going on in our globalised society - and to better understand each other. That's because we are convinced that the more we understand about each other, the easier it will be for us to really talk to one another, to get closer - and to maybe find solutions for the issues that affect us all. 

Do you want to share your story? Then have a look here for more info.

Share Your Story

Contact

Correspondents of the World is as much a community as an online platform. Please feel free to contact us for whatever reason!

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