October 30, 2023
Esteemed Friends and Colleagues,
I am pleased to inform you that, after a 43-year career, I have decided to retire from the Voice of America on December 31, 2023. It has been the highest honor and privilege of my life to have worked for such an extraordinary news organization. I will always be immensely grateful to VOA for the opportunities it has provided me.
VOA’s mission and commitment to the highest journalistic standards have been the central focus of my professional journey. Throughout my career, spanning more than four decades, six presidential administrations, and a dozen VOA directors, I have tried my very best to uphold the values that have made VOA one of the world’s most preeminent and trusted journalistic organizations. I have had the privilege of serving in various roles, from being a radio broadcaster in the Albanian Service (1980-1982), to Senior Writer/Editor specializing in Soviet and East European Affairs in USIA’s Press Division (1982-1986), Chief of the Albanian Service (1986-2004), Managing Editor of the Eurasia Division (2004-2005), and since 2005, Director of the Eurasia Division. I also served as VOA’s Acting Director from June to December 2020.
I could not have hoped for a more intellectually and professionally rewarding career. VOA gave me a front row seat from which to witness consequential world events, ranging from the Cold War to the collapse of communism and the rise of democracy in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, the Balkan wars, the integration of East European nations into Euro-Atlantic institutions, Russia’s shift towards an authoritarian regime, and more recently, Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. I feel honored and privileged to have worked alongside so many remarkable colleagues as we advanced VOA’s noble mission, delivering accurate and objective news and information to our global audiences, telling America’s compelling story and championing its democratic values. I am very proud of our remarkable achievements.
Recent global developments, the proliferation of disinformation and misinformation, the erosion of press freedoms, the rapid evolution of technology, and the widespread adoption of artificial intelligence have fundamentally transformed the global media landscape. VOA now operates in a profoundly different world, but its mission of promoting freedom and democracy and empowering its audiences with accurate, objective and balanced news and information has never been more critical.
With deep appreciation, I extend my thanks to the dedicated, hardworking, and mission-driven team in the Eurasia Division. Leading such a talented group of journalists has been an absolute pleasure. I am also grateful to my friends and colleagues across VOA for their unwavering support.
My heartfelt thanks to colleagues in the senior VOA leadership and throughout the organization who worked closely with me during my six-month stint as VOA’s Acting Director in 2020. It was a distinct honor to be at the helm of VOA during one of the most tumultuous periods in VOA’s history. I am very proud that in the face of sustained, frontal attacks on VOA’s integrity, we were able to navigate through an extraordinarily trying labyrinth and vigorously defend the organization’s editorial independence.
I must admit that even after 43 remarkable years, it is not easy to bid farewell to VOA. But I leave with profound pride and boundless appreciation for the great work we have done and that, I am sure, you will continue to do. VOA has evolved into a highly efficient and nimble media organization, producing journalism of exceptional value.VOA’s reach and impact have never been greater than they are today. And as long as it remains committed to its fundamental ethos of promoting freedom and democracy and providing independent, fact-based reporting, the Voice of America will continue to be a source of hope and a shining beacon of truth for millions of people around the world.
Dr. Elez Biberaj
Voice of America