Hatch lecture covers conflict, humanity

Ben Deering
Feb. 15, 2011

Many forms of media have covered the idea and concept of war and the soldiers who fight them. Often left out are details about the families of these soldiers. On Feb. 8, Cheryl Hatch, the current Snedden Chair of the journalism department, gave a lecture called “The Costs of Conflict: A Personal Journey.” It was an introspective look at the costs and effects of war and conflict on those in the middle of a war zone. Not only are women and children caught in the middle of conflict, but also journalists. Some of whom have lived there for years.

Cheryl Hatch, the 2010-2011 Snedden chair, answers questions during a Q&A section of her presentation. The Cost of Conflict: A Personal Journey had an audience of about 60 people Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011. Heather Bryant/Sun Star

Hatch’s credentials are extensive. Over the course of her decades-long career, she visited Egypt, Somalia, Liberia, Mozambique, Yemen, Iraq during the first Gulf War, and Eritrea. Most of those countries were visited during times of war. She has never been embedded, or attached, to an army unit. As an unembedded photographer, Hatch had greater freedom to move around and tell the stories she wanted to tell. That came at a cost of great expense and personal danger though. Hatch is the fifth Snedden chair. Brian O’Donoghue, chair of the journalism department, said that Hatch, the first female Snedden Chair, was a welcome change of pace.

The lecture itself, a combination of speech and photography, exhibited some of the most chilling and brutal photos of war, and the consequences for the civilian side. Interspersed throughout the slideshow were pictures that Hatch felt conveyed the humanity that can be found in even the darkest places.

Hatch said she pursued her career in war photography mostly because she grew up in the presence of war. “My father was going to war, returning from war, and not speaking of the war,” she said.  “[I was] trying to earn my dad’s respect, as he’s a soldier. [It was] something he can relate to.” Hatch said she had a “desire to test myself, challenge myself. [But I] didn’t really know what I was getting into.”

After coming back to the United States, Hatch established a non-profit foundation, called the Isis Initiative, to send women to college. Hatch talked about the first recipient, a young woman, Leah, whom Hatch had met while in the Philippines. With Hatch’s help, Leah was able to go to college to become an elementary school teacher.

Hatch said that after spending a decade covering war and atrocity, helping others through her initiative was the best way for her to make a difference.

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