Why did you choose to study at Regent’s College London?
I started my Masters degree in International Relations through the global program facilitated by the St. Louis campus of Webster. My second term of study was at the London campus and within the first week of being at Regent’s College, I decided that I wanted to finish my studies through the Webster-Regents International Relations program.
It was a combination of the city and the campus that appealed to me. An added incentive was that I wanted to pursue an internship at a think tank/NGO and London is home to some fantastic organizations. So I transferred from the global program, returned to Regent’s College and finished my degree whilst interning at Chatham House. It certainly made my student life in London interesting.
What are your favourite memories of that time?
What I remember most fondly is that both Webster and Regent’s College was very accommodating with my request to pursue a full time internship at Chatham House while still being a student. In fact, I was able to use the internship to get credits for one graduate level course. I really enjoyed being able to work at Chatham House during the day time and attend classes in the afternoons. I appreciated that my program director, Yossi Mekelberg, was willing to think creatively to ensure that I was able to make the most of my time in London, given that I was an international student with a limited time frame.
What ambitions did you have for your career during your time as a student?
I was still exploring what I wanted to pursue. I had a journalism and current affairs background. I knew that I wanted to combine the fields of journalism/media and international relations.
Who inspires you?
I have been fortunate to live and work in a few different countries in North America, Europe, Middle East and Asia. Being in different settings, whether the Israeli – Palestinian situation, socio-economics in India or the fight for democracy in Burma and Thailand – my collective experiences intrigued me.
Living in these very different countries, experiencing unique social norms and political systems and meeting people in these different places who did the same, certainly inspired me. I have always been curious to explore issues that shape people’s behaviour as individuals and as societies. This is what I want to do through academic research, journalistic work, film and humanitarian projects.
What are you doing now?
I am currently working as a freelance producer/reporter based in Southeast Asia. A majority of my current work is for Press TV, which is Iran’s international English news network. In addition to maintaining a bureau in SE Asia (covering Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Philippines and Indonesia), I also manage Press TV’s Brussels reportage. In Brussels, my work is mostly focused on EU policies at regional and international levels.
In SE Asia, I tend to focus more on thematic issues such as refugees, Red Shirt protests, elections in Burma and regional Geo-politics. Additionally, I am exploring different avenues for journalistic and academic writing. I write a column on Thailand and Burma for The Faster Times, a NY based publication started by a team of Columbia University graduates.
What is your next goal?
I would very much like to delve into more in-depth work in television journalism – News analysis programs and documentary films. I covered the UN Climate Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen last year for Press TV. It was a fantastic opportunity to witness 192 countries and their representative leaders gathered under one roof. I am hoping to cover the Cancun conference (COP16) which will take place at the end of this year.
I am also exploring the possibilities of teaching courses that combine the study of media and international relations at university level. There are plenty of projects in mind – it is simply a matter of finding the time and resources to execute them!
You can listen to Preethi share her experiences as a journalist reporting in Thailand as part of the International Speakers Seminar at Regent’s College.