|Namo Abdulla with President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on April 28, 2012.|
By Columbia Journalism School
Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism M.A. student Namo Abdulla recently attended a White House Correspondents’ Association Scholarship event in Washington, DC, in honor of the $5,000 tuition grant he received from the organization in 2012.
Abdulla, who is concentrating in politics, will graduate this May. He is an Iraqi Kurdish journalist and has reported for top Iraqi and international media outlets. As a freelance correspondent, he has written for The New York Times, Reuters, the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting, and IRIN, UN's humanitarian news agency. He was most recently editor-in-chief of the English version of Rudaw, a leading newspaper in Iraqi Kurdistan. Abdulla has reported from some of Iraq’s most volatile areas, including Baghdad, Kirkuk and Diyala.
At an April 27 WHCA luncheon, Abdulla—and the 15 other undergraduate and graduate students from across the country who together received more than $132,000 in scholarship funds from the organization—heard from a panel of White House reporters and from White House Press Secretary Jay Carney about access and transparency in their coverage of the President. Moderated by Julie Mason of SiriusXM, the panel included Jake Tapper of ABC News, Ben Feller of the Associated Press, Carol Lee of the Wall Street Journal, and Jackie Kucinich of USA Today.
Scholarship recipients were officially announced at the WHCA Annual Dinner on April 28, where Abdullah had opportunity to pose for a particularly memorable photograph—one the WHCA selected to represent the 2012 recipients' event on its Web site.
“It was such a proud moment to be standing next to the President and First Lady and talk to them,” Abdulla said.
“It had never even been a dream for me to be awarded by the President of the United States of America. I am sure this award will make me even more determined to practice ethical and professional journalism, which I have studied deeply at Columbia Journalism School over the past nine months,” Abdulla continued.