Jenna Bitar 10F received the 2013 Sander Thoenes Division III Research Award at Hampshire College. The annual award supports student work in international relations, peace studies, or journalism. Preference is given to projects conforming to the spirit of Sander Thoenes 87F’s remarkable, if tragically brief, career as a foreign correspondent.
The Thoenes Awards support fieldwork and other research costs involved in completion of the Division III, the yearlong final project required of all students for graduation from Hampshire College.
Bitar’s Division III will explore artistic expression as a method of resistance among Palestinian political prisoners. It will focus primarily on the visual art movement around incarceration and the techniques used by Palestinians to gain access to international consciousness, as well as the importance of symbolism within the Occupied Palestinian Territories. As part of her Div III, Bitar will travel to Jerusalem in the Palestinian Territories to conduct her research.
Sander Thoenes was killed in 1999 by Indonesian militia while in East Timor reporting on its attempts to become independent. Thoenes was Jakarta correspondent for the Financial Times of London. His reporting also appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, U.S. News and World Report, and other North American and European media. Thoenes’ death drew international attention, and then-United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan released a statement saying, in part: “It is largely thanks to the courage and determination of men and women like Sander that crimes against humanity are brought to the attention of the world’s conscience.”
Photo by Bareeq Barqawi