Blue Ridge PBS wins national award for refugee project

November 28, 2012

(Roanoke, Va.)—Blue Ridge PBS has received a national award for community engagement, thanks to its local programming and events connected to the 2011 PBS series, “Women, War and Peace.” The award comes from NETA, the National Educational and Telecommunications Association, and was presented Nov. 1 at its annual conference in St. Louis, Mo.

Judges praised the station for its interview segments with former women refugees who are rebuilding their lives in southwest Virginia, saying they “made for compelling and heart-rending stories of the brutal realities of war.” The women spoke openly, often for the first time in public, of having lived in and fled from armed conflicts in regions as varied as Bosnia, Burundi, Haiti and Somalia.

Beyond the broadcast interviews, Blue Ridge PBS was awarded for collaborating with numerous regional partners and participants to create three community-based events focusing on women war refugees. These sessions presented the local interview segments produced by Blue Ridge PBS along with clips from “Women, War and Peace,” followed by panel discussions featuring women refugees and regional experts on refugee issues.

“This award recognizes the power of partnerships, and we were fortunate to have such terrific organizations involved in this project,” said James Baum, President and CEO of Blue Ridge PBS. “Above all, we are deeply grateful to the courageous women who shared their stories in such a public way.”

The three events were held at Virginia Tech with VT Engage, at the YWCA Bristol in conjunction with its Week Without Violence, and at the Taubman Museum of Art as part of Roanoke Valley Reads. Commonwealth Catholic Charities’ Refugee Resettlement Program provided critical expertise on resettlement issues in the region and recruited panel members.

These partners, along with Ferrum College and 101.5 FM The Music Place, also participated in a broader initiative called Voices Beyond Borders. NETA judges cited this element for its innovation in cross-promoting activities focused on the region’s refugees during the fall of 2011.

Major funding for the project was provided by a grant to Blue Ridge PBS from WNET, the PBS affiliate which presented the 5-part “Women, War and Peace” series to PBS stations around the country.

The award-winning interview segments can be viewed under Videos/Local productions at BlueRidgePBS.org. Full episodes from “Women, War and Peace” are posted at pbs.org/wnet/women-war-and-peace/.

About Blue Ridge PBS
Blue Ridge PBS is the four-time winner of regional Emmy Awards for documentaries and community service. Founded in 1967, Blue Ridge PBS is the sole public multimedia enterprise serving 4 million individuals in portions of five states. The station’s 26,000 square-mile coverage area includes southwestern Virginia and bordering counties in Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia and North Carolina. As the region’s storyteller, Blue Ridge PBS offers outstanding informational, educational and cultural programming, along with an award-winning local production team devoted to regional issues and interests. Blue Ridge PBS is comprised of WBRA in Roanoke, WSBN in Norton, and WMSY in Marion, Va.


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