How to Apply – Roberto Pesenti Italian Fellowship

Becoming a WPI Fellow

Becoming a WPI Fellow is a competitive process. Each year, hundreds of talented journalists apply for 10 fellowship slots. A selection committee of seasoned journalists, corporate communications specialists, and World Press Institute staff carefully selects the best of the best.

Please read the information below.

Thank you for your interest in a WPI Fellowship for Italian journalists

The application period for 2024 World Press Institute Fellowships is now closed. Selection announcements will be made in early May 2024.

How to apply

Before applying, please review the eligibility requirements, terms of the fellowship, and guidelines below.

  • At least five years of full-time employment in print, broadcast or online journalism, including:
    • News or editorial departments of newspapers, wire services, radio, television, websites or online publications.
    • Photojournalists, editorial cartoonists, columnists and broadcast producers.
    • Those who supervise journalists are eligible if they also have at least five years as a working journalist.
  • Any journalism-related work completed as a university student does not count toward experience. Those who work in public relations or at organizations whose primary business is not the media are not eligible.
  • Must be currently employed as a non-U.S. journalist working outside of the United States.
  • Fluency in both written and spoken English.
  • Potential for leadership.
Fellowship Terms

WPI Fellows are required to adhere to the following terms. Violations of these terms could result in termination from the program.

  • Prepare for and participate in all briefings and WPI scheduled events.
  • Stay through the entirety of program and return to home countries when the program ends.
  • Write for the WPI website among other outlets as assigned. Fellows are also encouraged to share with their readers, listeners or viewers back home.
  • Participate in periodic reviews and evaluations, including several roundtable discussions to share insights into the U.S. or international journalism issues.
  • Acceptance for others of different cultures.
  • Willingness to travel – the program locations change frequently, and fellows often live out of suitcases.
Letters of Recommendation
  • Applicants are required to submit the names and email addresses of three professional references.
    • References will be contacted by WPI to submit online letters of recommendation.
  • References should be familiar with the applicant’s work and able to comment in English on their journalistic abilities, potential for growth and leadership abilities.
  • One reference should be a direct supervisor.
  • Letters must be in English and address the applicant’s experience, qualifications and potential.
Work Samples


  • All samples must include a publication date; most should be within the last two years.
  • Include an English summary for all samples not in English.
  • All work samples must be online and publicly accessible.
    • Upload work samples to a publicly accessible online service, such as YouTube or Dropbox, if not directly available on a media website.
    • If you are unable to use a public service, work samples can be uploaded with the online application.
      • Accepted file extensions: .pdf, .txt, .rtf, .doc, .mp3
      • Accepted photo and other artwork extensions: .jpg/.jpeg, .gif, or .pdf

Print journalists

  • Writers: Submit three samples of published work that has your byline.
  • Editors: Submit a statement describing your job. You may include copies of published work along with a description of your role in these samples. For published work, follow the instructions above.
  • Photographers: Submit a portfolio with five (5) published samples. Files with the following extensions are accepted: jpg/jpeg, gif, or pdf.

Do not send complete newspapers, magazines, books, or unpublished manuscripts.

Broadcast journalists

  • Links to work samples on YouTube, publicly shared Dropbox files and broadcasters’ websites are accepted. Include a written synopsis in English of each work with a brief description of your involvement.
  • Please limit submissions to 15 minutes of programming.

Online journalists

  • Samples should be equivalent to three print articles or 15 minutes of programming.
  • Provide a link if the segment is still online and outline your involvement with each sample.
  • Samples must be journalistic in nature and demonstrate that your job involves news gathering, writing, editing or producing.

Roberto Pesenti was born in 1949 in Brembate Sotto, Bergamo, and graduated with a degree in Political Sciences from the University of Milan in 1974. He began his journalistic career in Milan as a court reporter for the dailies Avanti! and Il Giorno during the so-called “ years of lead”, when Italy was plagued by terrorism, both from the extreme right and extreme left.

He was selected as a recipient of the World Press Institute fellowship for the 1978-1979 program together with ten other journalists from all over the world.  The fellowship was transformative for him, offering the opportunity to come to the United States and immerse deeply in American culture and media and in 1984 was a critical factor in his receiving the much sought-after position as United States Bureau Chief for Il Messaggero, the top daily newspaper in Rome.

For twelve years he covered American domestic and international politics and economics and traveled with three US presidents. He interviewed many US media, cultural, and economic personalities, as well as presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and Bill Clinton. He also contributed to the coverage of the first Clinton campaign by the Italian public television with weekly reports.

Upon his return to Italy, he became special correspondent for Il Messaggero from Milan.  In 2001 he was offered an opportunity to use the skills he had developed to work in a high level government position when he was appointed Director of Communications, head of the press office and spokesman of the Minister of Education, Research and University.  He later became the spokesman for the Governor of Lombardy.

He is the author of books on media, contemporary history and most recently a family memoir entitled Love and Duty. Since 2016 he has been proudly volunteering in Milan for  Manager noprofit, an organization of retired managers dedicated to help social communities. He is also pro bono editorial consultant for the monthly magazine Il Bullone, written by young people suffering from chronic illnesses and rare syndromes.

Since 1975 he has been married to Ilike Furesz, a photo editor, and they have two chilldren, both born in New York, Florinka and Viktor, and two American grandchildren, Emilia and Everett.