Official Blog of the Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

LACIS Alum and Award Winning Journalist Visits Campus!

Jason-Chan-04.28-Jacob-Kushner-online-860x470by Bette Benson (LACIS Social Media/Outreach Intern, BA, LACIS, Pol Sci, & Intl Stud ’15)

This week LACIS and the School of Journalism were excited to welcome UW Alum Jacob Kushner back to campus! Jacob is a foreign correspondent covering East/Central Africa and the Caribbean. Jacob specializes in investigative and explanatory reporting into human rights, poverty and development economics, foreign aid and investment, and governance. Originally from Milwaukee, Jacob majored in Journalism and LACIS at UW-Madison, during which time he edited La Comunidad News, reported for the WCIJ, and studied abroad in the Dominican Republic to research anti-Haitian prejudice in Dominican schools. With the help of a LACIS Travel Grant, upon graduating Jacob spent two years reporting from Haiti and the D.R. where his work focused on U.S. development aid and immigration. Jacob is author of the eBook, “China’s Congo Plan.” He holds an M.A. in political journalism from Columbia University in New York and was a 2013 Overseas Press Club Fellow for the Associated Press in Nairobi, where he is currently based. He speaks fluent Spanish and conversational Haitian Creole. Jacob’s journalism has appeared in The New Yorker, Foreign Policy magazine, the Associated Press, GlobalPost/GroundTruth, Guernica Magazine, the Christian Science Monitor,, and his journalism is often supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Jacob’s delivered a LACIS Lunchtime lecture, “An Island Divided: A Reporter’s Guide to Haiti and the Dominican Republic” gave a reporter’s perspective into Haiti’s past, present and future with a focus on the United States’ role. On the Dominican side, Jacob discussed why one ultra-conservative family is succeeding at persuading the government and its people to legally eradicate 230,000 Dominicans of Haitian heritage from Dominican society and plunge them into statelessness. He described how a 200-year history of anti-haitianismo is evolving to fit modern times. He argued against the platitude that the two countries, stuck together by colonialism on a tiny Caribbean island, are entirely different places. After the lecture, Jacob met with students interested in pursuing a career in the international non-profit, journalism and NGO fields.

HERE is the YouTube video of Jacob’s lecture.

LACIS undergrad Alex Arriaga wrote THIS article for the Badger Herald on his visit.

To learn more about Jacob, visit his website HERE

Thank you Jacob for returning to your alma mater, we welcome you back anytime!