Washington, D.C. — This Week, USAGM CEO Amanda Bennett was sworn in at a ceremonial investiture event at USAGM headquarters, after her bipartisan confirmation by the U.S. Senate in September to lead the independent federal agency. The ceremony began with a presentation highlighting the diverse, global workforce that makes up USAGM and its entities. Former Acting CEO of USAGM Kelu Chao described Bennett as “a thoughtful, visionary, and fair-minded journalist, and an inspiring and fearless leader (who) will fight to make sure the news—good or bad—gets to our audiences everywhere.”
Bennett, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, investigative journalist, and editor who served as Director of Voice of America for more than four years, thanked Chao for her service and described her as a role model and “a true public servant,” presenting her with a Distinguished Service Award.
“You have passionately defended independent media, press freedom, and journalist safety,” said Bennett. “And you have brought change—much needed change — to this agency.”
With current and former international media executives in attendance, Bennett took the opportunity to address everyone at USAGM, which oversees the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Office of Cuba Broadcasting , Radio Free Asia, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks and Open Technology Fund. USAGM programming has a measured audience of 410 million in more than 100 countries and in 63 languages. After thanking her family, Bennett celebrated the journalists and support staff that make up the heart of the agency.
“We are at a critical moment in history,” she declared. “Journalism is getting more dangerous around the world–and ever more necessary. Yet there are over 3,000 of you in the global USAGM community who make the hard, sometimes dangerous, choice to stand up for freedom and democracy every day.”
Bennett also remarked upon her plans for USAGM’s future, expressed her gratitude for the agency’s reporters, and shared her top five priorities — Independence; Journalistic Safety, Security, Training and Ethics; Mission Focus; Transparency and Simplicity; and Access.
“I promise you that I will do everything in my power to foster the best conditions possible to enable you to provide critical news and information to the world,” she said. “You are the spark that ignites our mission, and I can’t wait to see all that we will accomplish together.”
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Contact Laurie Moy
Director, Office of Public Affairs