Web Exclusives: Service points

June 2002


Jennifer Parmelee’s years at Princeton reinforced her passion for journalism and international affairs. After working as a foreign correspondent for the AP and the Washington Post for 11 years, Parmelee ‘80 engaged in the most meaningful and challenging endeavor of her professional life — helping to set up Ethiopia’s first independent, college-level program in journalism.

Currently, she works at Voice of America (www.voanews.com), which broadcasts in 53 languages around the world. Parmelee directs an hour of broadcasting each day through the Horn of Africa Service, which broadcasts in three languages (Amharic, Afan Oromo, and Tigrigna) to millions of listeners in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the diaspora from that region.

Working with a broadcasting team of 18 journalists, primarily from Ethiopia and Eritrea, Parmelee serves one of the most conflict-ridden and information-deprived regions in the world.

"I subscribe to the conventional wisdom that democratic societies provide the best framework for peace and development," says Parmelee. However, no democracy will take root without healthy and independent media to encourage transparency, fight corruption, heighten awareness and communication, and encourage public debate on the issues."

Parmelee lives on DC's Capitol Hill with husband Tsegaye Hidaru and daughters Sarafina, 6, and Sophie, 1.

By Jenny Lindquist Orten