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Rebecca Byerly

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International journalist, Producer, Adventure athlete

Based in New Delhi, India, reporting across all platforms for major media organizations, including the New York Times, Discover Magazine, National Geographic, and The Christian Science Monitor. Currently producing and directing a documentary film that highlights my passions for the environment, women’s empowerment and endurance running.

Education & Fellowships

  • Wings World Quest Explorer
  • 2014
  • Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting Fellowship, Kashmir, India
  • 2009
  • Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, New Delhi, India
  • 2007-2008
  • Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, American University, School of International Service, Peace and Conflict Resolution, Washington DC
  • 2006
  • Boren National Security Scholar, American University in Cairo, Egypt
  • 2004-2005

    Professional experience

    Independent Film Women of the Mountain, April 2013 - Present
    • Producing and directing a 60-minute documentary film about women who face tremendous challenges and courageously overcome them.
    • Documenting the history of the mountains through the voices of the local women who live there, just as their ancestors have for centuries.
    • Capturing these women’s stories while running 100+ mile races alongside them in Mustang, Nepal, Ladakh, India, Pontresina, Switzerland and the American Rockies.
    • Scheduled for release in 2015, the film has been selected as the feature documentary for the Trails in Motion film series and will be shown in festivals around the globe that focus on women, the environment, the humanities and adventure sports.

    New York Times, January 2013-Present
    • Published a front-page, 1,400-word feature article about Indian athletes suspended for performance-enhancing drugs, while still underperforming in sports.
    • Authored a story on how the Maha Kumbh Mela pilgrims are reunited with their families after being lost in the massive crowds at the largest religious gathering in the world.
    • Reported from the scene of an attack between militants and the Indian army in Srinagar, Kashmir. Interviewed young Kashmiris who were injured during the incident.
    • Looked at the uncertain future facing Kashmir after the hanging of a revered Kashmiri separatist’s leader.
    Discover Magazine, February 2013-Present
    • Currently writing a 3,000-word, first-person feature with three web articles and a video that explores how Harvard University’s School of Public Health, as well as other universities across the United States and in India, are designing a smart phone app that will improve public health in temporary cities. Spent six weeks on the ground reporting from the Maha Kumbh Mela for the story.
    Conde Nast Traveler, India, October 2013
    • Chronicled the development of Gulmarg, a far-flung ski resort in Kashmir. The first person feature highlighted the difficulty of building avalanche control systems and infrastructure in a place that is still recovering from years of conflict.
    Christian Science Monitor, October 2011-January 2013
    • Covered breaking news and feature articles across India for readers in more than 130 countries as well as top government and business leaders around the world.
    • Investigated the conditions of workers in the coalfields of Meghalaya, India. Wrote a feature article on the deplorable conditions on the ground and how India’s coal is neither helpful during peak power shortages nor regulated enough.
    • Interviewed a woman and her daughter who were molested by family members, the article explored the grave problem of sexual violence against women and children in India.
    • Captured the stories of four generations of dairy farmers who have been working their land in Pleasant Garden, North Carolina, since the 1700’s.
    Daily Beast, January 2011
    • Interviewed young Indians, artists and buyers about the country’s booming art landscape.
    National Geographic News, August 2009-Present
    • Explored how a surge in Hindu pilgrims to a holy cave in the Himalayas is affecting the environment in the region.
    • Examined how the Delhi government’s push to use auto rickshaws instead of cars was not successful and reported on the future of India’s nuclear power after Fukushima.
    • Completed a two-part series from Kashmir that focused on water related stories for National Geographic’s Freshwater Website.
    Al Jazeera English, March 2009-January 2010
    • Wrote about the challenge Kashmiri farmers face as a result of changing weather patterns.
    • Covered adventure sports stories from the Badwater ultra marathon, a 135-mile race through Death Valley, to a story about a 127-mile ultra-marathon in Libya.
    Marathon and Beyond, May-December 2008
    • Chronicled my journey running ultra marathons and traveling across China, Mongolia, Cambodia and Thailand., May-August 2008
    • Published feature stories for CNN’s Olympic home page, including the Great Wall of China marathon; the personal narratives of runners who finished at the back of the pack in the Gobi March, a 155-mile stage race through the desert; the nomad Olympics in Mongolia, and a profile on Cambodia’s only Olympic marathon runner.

    Harvard University, January-February 2013
    • Spent six weeks at the Maha Kumbh Mela, producing, directing and filming videos for Harvard University’s Business School and the South Asia Institute.
    Global Post, February 2011-March 2012
    • Produced, directed and filmed the election of the first Tibetan leader to take over the political powers of the Dalai Lama, how a surge by Hindu pilgrims to a holy cave in Kashmir is affecting the environment and the factors driving the Tibetan immolations., January-August 2010
    • Filmed, produced and directed a series of snow skiing and soccer videos from Kashmir to show the challenges facing young people and the region.
    • One of very few international journalists on the ground in Srinagar, Kashmir, when violence broke out in 2010. I filmed and directed an exclusive video that examined how this generation of Kashmiri youth is using the tools of social media to protest.
    Voice of America, July 2009-Present
    • Produced, filmed and voiced 12 video stories across India pertaining to politics, the environment and the challenges facing women in the country.
    Al Jazeera Sports World, March 2009
    • Produced and directed a five-minute video, on a 127-mile ultra-marathon, through Libya’s Acacus Mountains and the Sahara Desert. Also competed in and finished the race.

    National Public Radio, January-July 2010
    • Broadcasted breaking news stories from India. Many of these stories focused on the precautions India is taking with its nuclear reactors in the aftermath of Fukushima, as well as the Tibetan elections in Dharmasala, India.
    National Geographic Weekend Radio, January 2009-Present
    • Frequent guest on the show. Talk about adventures from living with reindeer herders in Mongolia, to recovering from typhoid to run a 135-mile race at 18,000 feet in Ladakh, India.

    Other experience

    Communications Liaison - Chintan Environmental Research Group, New Delhi, India 2007-2008
    • Coordinated relationships between Chintan’s slum schools and private schools in New Delhi.
    • Worked with various municipalities in Delhi to improve the rights of waste pickers.
    Finance Liaison – Aina Media Development Group, Kabul Afghanistan, May - July 2006
    • Worked with local Afghan and international employees to monitor project funding.
    • Evaluated media projects to monitor success.

    Committed to education, I have taught at schools in the United States and across the globe
    • Lecturer at American University and Missouri University journalism class.
    • Taught environmental education to public school children in New Delhi, India.
    • Teaching Assistant, Colman McCarthy “Politics of Peace” Wilson High School, Washington, D.C.
    • English Tutor to students in Sudan, Palestine, and Egypt.

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