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. 

Tugce
Co-Founder Translation Project Manager Contact Tuğçe

Tuğçe Atacı - Translation Project Manager

After having been privileged to travel and live in different countries, Tuğçe has recognized the growing significance of sharing personal stories in this day and age. She believes it is these stories that can foster more empathy, understanding and connection in a world that is becoming increasingly polarized.

Her inspiration and favourite writer Bessie Head says “I write because I have authority from life to do so” and for Tuğçe, too, everyone should write, share and shout out their stories because they simply can do so. That’s why she is so happy to have crossed paths with the Correspondents of the World.

Apart from working with the CotW team, Tuğçe is currently busy writing her PhD thesis on digital literacy and transmedia storytelling for peace building. She also loves cooking, talking to her plants (sometimes to her husband) and cuddling with her cat, Nusha.

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! 

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.

Caoimhe Ni Shuilleabhain
Regional Ambassador for Ireland Contact Caoimhe

Caoimhe Ni Shuilleabhain - Regional Ambassador for Ireland

Caoimhe is from Ireland where all the songs and conversations are above all else, good stories. She loves picking up bits of slang and other cultural gems from people around the world because it helps to build a truer picture of humans on this planet than any newspaper or academic articles do.

With an interdisciplinary background in Liberal Arts and Sciences at Leiden University College, Caoimhe has focused on building cross-cultural knowledge and a diverse skill-set to tackle some of today’s interconnected problems like human rights and counter-terrorism.

In her free time, Caoimhe plays sport and writes a bit. She’s happiest dining and drinking with friends.

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.

Clémentine Boiffier
Regional Ambassador for France Contact Clémentine

Clémentine Boiffier - Regional Ambassador for France

My name is Clémentine, I was born in Paris, France 31 years ago and I spent most of my life there. Still, at an early age I felt a connection to Germany which resulted in my moving to Berlin in my early twenties. After a long return in France I moved back to Germany two years ago, this time to the south, and started working for a small NGO in the field of International Voluntary Service. 

Along my path, I felt a stronger need to understand what was going on in the world, which is why I chose to study Geopolitics. During my Masters I gained inspiration, knowledge and methodology. Yet in retrospect, I realize that a lot of what I understand and consider to be true regarding world issues comes from stories. During my travels, studies, voluntary services I have heard first hand stories from people coming from foreign places containing facts, emotions and descriptions about places and situations I had only read about in the news; these stories made me feel closer to them, their issues and surroundings. Discussions as well as literature are, for me, a source of "empirical" understanding of foreign environments and this is why I am really excited to be part of the Correspondents of the World.

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! 

Veronica
Regional Ambassador for Korea Contact Veronica

Veronica Burgstaller - Regional Ambassador for Korea

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. As a Regional Ambassador and translator here at CotW 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.

Zhihao Zhong
Regional Ambassador for China Contact Zhihao

Zhihao Zhong - Regional Ambassador for China

Zhihao 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:

Communications and Social Media Lead Contact Alice

Alice Lieu - Communications and Social Media Lead

Alice was born in Vietnam. She travelled abroad to study for her Bachelor Degree in Business Management at Lancaster University. As an international student, Alice developed an appreciation for stories that amplify the beauty of individual and cultural differences. Alice is also a writer in her free time. She writes stories that bring her creativity to view and voice out the opinions that she believes can help connect everyone and create a better world.

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:

Edel Malene Farstad
Editor Contact Edel

Edel Malene Farstad - Editor

My name is Edel, and first and foremost I am the biggest Moomins fan to ever live! I have an entire wall in my apartment dedicated to Tove Jansson and the Moomin family.

Other than that - I love to travel and previously studied in Vietnam and Italy. I impatiently await the opportunity to go back out in the world again. For the past three years, I have lived in Trondheim, Norway - which is way too cold for me!

When I'm not studying, reading books, or playing video games, I work at the local library where I'm lucky enough to meet and talk to a lot of people with different lives and backgrounds. I'm inspired by the small interactions I have with people every day, getting to know their different stories and interests, and learn about how they view the world.

I think reading and trying to understand the personal stories and experiences of others around the world can help us learn more about ourselves, and think critically about why we believe what we believe and act how we act.

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.

 

Sterre van Dord - Editor

Sterre is a Dutchie who loves to travel to put her local experiences into a broader, global perspective. 6 continents have already been ticked of her travel list, only Antarctica remains.
Travelling and studying abroad, respectively in Australia and the United Kingdom, broadened her perspective on contemporary global challenges. How so? By meeting and talking to new people and dealing with local values, customs and realities.
In her opinion sharing personal stories is key to develop a greater understanding of people, places and social differences and commonalities. That is why she wanted to contribute to the mission of Correspondent of the World!

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.

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 - 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!

Translator for Mandarin Contact Gisele

Gisele Xuejing Li - Translator for Mandarin

Hi! I am Gisele, and I am one of the translators of Correspondents of the World. I am a Chinese residing in Australia.

While people usually listen to songs in foreign languages for their melodies without understanding what those lyrics mean, I pause the song every few seconds trying to match the original lyrics, the translated lyrics and their pronunciation. I have developed this habit since a very young age and I guess it marked the beginning of my interest in language learning.

Despite choosing a pathway in law, my passion about languages never ceases. I am currently in my penultimate year of Juris Doctor degree with a particular interest in public international law. Besides from studies, I work across Australian and global think tanks, with a focus on public policy and cross-cultural issues.

I enjoy running, reading and drinking coffee (soymilk based!!!).

Apart from Chinese and Japanese, I am sharpening my Korean and hopefully translate Korean in the future (if there is a will, there is a way)!

Joana
Translator for Portugese Contact Joana

Joana - Translator for Portugese

Hi! I am Joana, half Brazilian, what you can see in my taste of music (my love for Bossa Nova), and half German, what you can see in my powerful morning routine.

I love avocado plants and plants in general, that’s why I’m studying environmental engineering, so we can still have more of that ;) What inspires me to be a part of CotW is my wish to live in a world where we respect each other’s story, even if it’s far from our own reality.

So when you read the Portuguese version of the texts in the future, you can see which translator is behind it :)

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. 

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. As a Regional Ambassador and translator here at CotW 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.

Global Issues Through Local Eyes

We are Correspondents of the World, an online platform where people from all over the world share their personal stories in relation to global development. We try to collect stories from people of all ages and genders, people with different social and religious backgrounds and people with all kinds of political opinions in order to get a fuller picture of what is going on behind the big news.

Our Correspondents

At Correspondents of the World we invite everyone to share their own story. This means we don't have professional writers or skilled interviewers. We believe that this approach offers a whole new perspective on topics we normally only read about in the news - if at all.

Share Your Story

Our Editors

We acknowledge that the stories we collect will necessarily be biased. But so is news. Believing in the power of the narrative, our growing team of awesome editors helps correspondents to make sure that their story is strictly about their personal experience - and let that speak for itself.

Become an Editor

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

Topics

We believe in quality over quantity. To give ourselves a focus, we started out to collect personal stories that relate to our correspondents' experiences with six different global topics. However, these topics were selected to increase the likelihood that the stories of different correspondents will cover the same issues and therefore illuminate these issues from different perspectives - and not to exclude any stories. If you have a personal story relating to a global issue that's not covered by our topics, please still reach out to us! We definitely have some blind spots and are happy to revise our focus and introduce new topics at any point in time. 

Environment

Discussions about the environment often center on grim, impersonal figures. Among the numbers and warnings, it is easy to forget that all of these statistics actually also affect us - in very different ways. We believe that in order to understand the immensity of environmental topics and global climate change, we need the personal stories of our correspondents.

Gender and Sexuality

Gender is the assumption of a "normal". Unmet expectations of what is normal are a world-wide cause for violence. We hope that the stories of our correspondents will help us to better understand the effects of global developments related to gender and sexuality, and to reveal outdated concepts that have been reinforced for centuries.

Migration

Our correspondents write about migration because it is a deeply personal topic that is often dehumanized. People quickly become foreigners, refugees - a "they". But: we have always been migrating, and we always will. For millions of different reasons. By sharing personal stories about migration, we hope to re-humanize this global topic.

Liberation

We want to support the demand for justice by spotlighting the personal stories of people who seek liberation in all its different forms. Our correspondents share their individual experiences in creating equality. We hope that for some this will be an encouragement to continue their own struggle against inequality and oppression - and for some an encouragement to get involved.

Education

Education is the newest addition to our themes. We believe that education, not only formal but also informal, is one of the core aspects of just and equal society as well as social change. Our correspondents share their experiences and confrontations about educational inequalities, accessibility issues and influence of societal norms and structures. 

Corona Virus

2020 is a year different from others before - not least because of the Corona pandemic. The worldwide spread of a highly contagious virus is something that affects all of us in very different ways. To get a better picture of how the pandemic's plethora of explicit and implicit consequences influences our everyday life, we share lockdown stories from correspondents all over the world.

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.

68

Correspondents

80

Stories

40

Countries

200

Translations

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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