The Student News Site of Taipei American School




Keynote speaker speaks to delegations at TASMUN


By Ms. Carol Youssif
Each year, the TASMUN organizing committee has hosted remarkable keynote speakers. 2018 was no exception. Paula Bronstein, an award-winning photojournalist, opened the conference with a powerful slideshow of her coverage of the Rohingya refugee crisis, which was very fitting for the many committees dealing with similar issues.
Ms. Bronstein majored in photography at the University of Colorado, but she specialized in photojournalism at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She described her beginnings working for a newspaper in Providence, Rhode Island, and also discussed the current state of journalism with so many newspapers going out of print. However, Ms. Bronstein pointed out that we are seeing more and more humanitarian crisis and they fair need coverage.
When asked how she chooses stories to photograph, Ms. Bronstein explained that she works with high-profile themes, such as refugees, displacement, and other difficult topics. She has taken photographs for Getty Images, the Washington Post, and the Sunday Times in the UK. She both contributes and gets assigned stories.
Because of the nature of her work, Ms. Bronstein talked about the intimacy that photography requires, how she needs to gain people’s trust in order to take their pictures in their homes. Relating to the people that she works with, she has to be “a fly on the wall” to see their daily lives and how they deal with the hardships they face.
Although it seems unfathomable that happiness still prevails in refugee camps, Ms. Bronstein talked about life finding its way back to normal, as weddings, births, and other ordinary events unfold. The press team was delighted to hear that children often make their own toys, and Ms. Bronstein described how kites are a great pastime for kids and adults alike in the Rohinga camps. It is very hard growing up with so many deprivations, but often that need makes people very resourceful.
In 2016 Ms. Bronstein published a book called “Afghanistan: Between Hope and Fear” where she compiled her work in that region. She started going to Afghanistan in 2001, during the so called “War on Terror.” Although much of the international media eventually stopped reporting on the issue, Ms. Bronstein went back during over the course of 15 years, covering the continued crisis in the region.

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