INTERNATIONAL RJF GRANTEE
Monica Villamizar is a freelance on-air reporter and producer, recently awarded 2 EMMY Awards (2018, 2017) for Best Investigative Documentary. She wasnominated for the prestigious One World Media "Journalist of the Year 2015" Award, which honors the best journalists in the world in all forms of media.
She is currently producing a SHOWTIME documentary series on immigration, directed by Oscar nominated filmmaker Matthew Heineman. Her current clients include PBS NewsHour, Al Jazeera English, VICE, Univision, Telemundo and The Weather Channel. Previously she was the London correspondent for CBS News.
Monica has traveled to Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Mali, Mexico, El Salvador and Haiti, at times filming directly on the front lines. She has covered the drug of wars in Colombia and Mexico, gaining exclusive access to cocaine cartels in Medellin and Michoacan. She covered the Arab spring, the war against ISIS the Iraqi Kurdistan and the advance of jihadism in West Africa.
In her attempts to tell truthful, hard-hitting stories, Monica has been targeted by the Egyptian military which raided her office in Cairo and arrested her colleagues, and more recently by the Venezuelan Government who targeted her, labeling her a spy, and issuing an arrest warrant for her. In the case of her instance in Venezuela, the editorial board of the New York Times backed Monica as a reporter, denouncing the Maduro Government. This ignited her interest and active involvement in "Freedom of the Press" campaigns. Monica has been a board member of the Frontline Freelance Register which protects and promotes the integrity of Freelance conflict reporters all over the world. She does multiple speaking engagements in American universities and recently hosted a Q and A with film director Ethan Coen.
Born in Austin, Texas, Monica's father, Rodrigo Villamizar, was an expert in the oil & energy industry which spurned her deep curiosity for investigative journalism & environmental issues. Her interest soon grew to include conflict zones because of the growing war on drugs in her parents' homeland of Colombia.
Graduating both with a Master's degree in Political Science from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques and a Philosophy degree from The American University of Paris, Monica then went on to work at the UNESCO before beginning her professional career in journalism. Besides her native Spanish, she speaks French, English and Japanese.
She's filmed in some of the most beautiful places in the world including Angel Falls, The Sahara Dessert, The Egyptian pyramids, Alaska and the Hindukush mountains. When the Chilean mine collapse occurred, Villamizar was the only reporter who managed to send a small video camera to the miners and gain exclusive footage before their rescue. Monica also covered hurricanes Maria and Harvey, the 2008 presidential elections through the inauguration; the Haiti earthquake, the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the BP oil spill, and the London Olympics.
Monica has personally interviewed The Dalai Lama, Condoleezza Rice, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bill Clinton and the Presidents of Guatemala, Bolivia, Colombia and Uruguay. She has also interviewed Nicolas Sierra, leader of Viagras Mexican Cartel, while he was in hiding, Bilal Ag Acherif leader of Malian separatist movement MNLA and Farc guerrilla female commander Yuheni Izquierdo.