Benjamin Fernandez Bogado ’00
After a career in television news, Bogado pursued a number of interests when he returned to Paraguay after his Nieman year. He founded a financial newspaper, wrote books, and served as a university president
When I decided to apply for a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard, I was in a very comfortable stage of my life. I was the director and anchor of the most popular television news program in Paraguay. Being watched by more than 4 million viewers daily in a country of no more than 6 million fulfilled all demands of fame, vanity and money.
Becoming a Nieman Fellow was the most significant and important step that I took in my career. I was so excited to be in Harvard and enjoy a daily party of knowledge. I decided to take classes with professors such as Cornel West, Harvey Cox, Stephen Jay Gould, and Joseph Nye. I participated in discussions about free trade, privatization and the future of democracy and when I returned to my country I became a writer, thinker and preacher on all of these issues. I continued my work in radio, founded a newspaper, and wrote seven books in the last 13 years—one of them a bestseller in Paraguay. I taught at universities throughout Latin America, became president of one of them, and founded an international organization in Mexico City devoted to promoting freedom of expression and a free press.
The Nieman experience made me more curious and helped me reinvent myself. I developed humility, wisdom, and a better understanding of change and the importance of service on behalf of the citizens.