March 15, 2022 – Collinsville High School students in Barbara Lindauer’s first hour World Geography class had a virtual visit with Pulitzer photojournalist Misha Friedman today. The Q&A session gave students insight into Freidman’s work, especially his experience in Ukraine and Russia.
The visit was made possible through the Pulitzer Center. The mission of the Pulitzer Center is to “[raise] awareness of underreported global issues through direct support for quality journalism across all media platforms and a unique program of education and public outreach.”
Pulitzer Center provides grants to support projects by journalists throughout the world. Friedman is a grantee whose work has appeared in The Washington Post and The New York Times. He is the author of three books, has received numerous grants and awards, and was a finalist for a 2021 Pulitzer Prize. Born in Moldova, Friedman is a graduate of Binghamton University and London School of Economics, where he studied economics and Russian politics. He is based in New York City.
CHS students asked questions about people he knows in Ukraine and how they are coping with the current Russian invasion, as well as the situation for refugees fleeing to other eastern European countries. Freidman, who previously worked with the humanitarian aid organization Medecins Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Boarders), talked about the need to welcome refugees and support their individual choices about the future.
He said the situation in Ukraine is a reminder that people should not take democracy for granted. He said Ukrainians are stunned by what is happening and angry. “Everyday people are so angry they are willing to take up arms, throw Molotov cocktails – whatever it takes to defend their country.”
At the conclusion of the visit, Friedman left the students with advice to not “cancel all things Russian” based on what they hear or think they know about the Russian people. He told them, “Don’t assume you know Russia. Russian does not equal bad. Don’t judge. Ask. We should welcome Russians who can’t live with Putin.”
CHS teacher and social studies department chair Barbara Lindauer is currently a Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellow participating in “Journalism and Justice: Elevating Underreported Stories in the Classroom.” Also taking part in the virtual visit was Hannah Berk, education manager with the Pulitzer Center.
Click HERE to watch KMOV coverage of the virtual visit.