Colvin Center director takes job in NYC mayor's office

Ilana Ozernoy will join the administration of Mayor Ilana Ozernoy will join the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ron Haviv

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Ilana Ozernoy, who helped establish the Marie Colvin Center for International Reporting at Stony Brook University and was its first program director, has left for a position with the administration of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Ozernoy, 36, a former foreign correspondent for U.S. News & World Report, is joining the mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs as the director for intergovernmental affairs and communications.

She will remain on the advisory board of the Colvin Center, which is within the university's School of Journalism. She has been with the center since its launch and initial fundraising efforts in 2012.

"Ironically, it was working for a public institution that fueled my desire to go into public service," Ozernoy, of Brooklyn, said Tuesday.

The center is named in memory of acclaimed war correspondent Marie Colvin, who died on Feb. 22, 2012, in a rocket attack in the embattled Syrian city of Homs while reporting for The Sunday Times of London. Colvin, 56, grew up in East Norwich and was a graduate of Oyster Bay High School.

Her family, through a memorial foundation, helped to establish the center at Stony Brook.

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Ozernoy, who covered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for U.S. News and ran the magazine's Baghdad bureau, had met Colvin while in Iraq's capital city. She called Colvin her own inspiration.

The center's mission is to nurture the next generation of overseas reporters, raise public awareness about the need for robust international coverage through the Marie Colvin Distinguished Lecture Series, and cement Colvin's legacy by rewarding overseas reporting with a journalist-in-residence fellowship, according to the university.

The center teaches a specialized curriculum developed by faculty, including courses in the history of foreign reporting, hostile environment training, international news literacy and multimedia backpack journalism.

Rick Hornik, director of overseas partnership programs for Stony Brook's Center for News Literacy and a journalist and news executive with more than 30 years' experience, will serve as the Colvin Center's interim director.

Howard Schneider, dean of the School of Journalism, called Ozernoy a credit to the center and said he expects she will remain involved as an advisory board member.

"Ilana was instrumental in helping us launch the Marie Colvin Center largely because she had a passion and commitment to the center that was borne out by her own personal experience," he said.

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