BMAV members and volunteers are invited to an evening of socializing followed by a conversation with member David Welna on how his reporting experiences at home and abroad provided a kind of preview of some of today’s biggest news stories, from the war in Ukraine to the phenomenon of Donald Trump.
Welna was NPR's National Security Correspondent until 2021, covering debates on Capitol Hill over authorizing the use of military force prior to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the expansion of government surveillance practices arising from Congress' approval of the USA PATRIOT Act, and on congressional probes into the use of torture by U.S. officials interrogating terrorism suspects. From 2001 - 2014, he was a congressional correspondent for NPR covering the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations. He covered the September 11, 2001 attacks, the wars that followed, economic downturns and recessions, and prior to that, the 2000 presidential election and the post-election vote count battle in Florida.
Welna first filed stories for NPR as a freelancer in 1982, based in Buenos Aires. From there, and subsequently from Rio de Janeiro, he covered events throughout South America. In 1995 Welna became the chief of NPR’s Mexico bureau, and in 1998 reported from NPR's Chicago bureau. Additionally, he has reported for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, The Financial Times, and The Times of London. Welna's photography has appeared in Esquire, The New York Times, The Paris Review, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Welna was honored with the 2011 Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Reporting of Congress, given by the National Press Foundation. In 1995, he was awarded an Overseas Press Club award for his coverage of Haiti. During that same year he was chosen by the Latin American Studies Association to receive their annual award for distinguished coverage of Latin America. Welna was awarded a 1997 Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University. In 2002, Welna was elected by his colleagues to a two-year term as a member of the Executive Committee of the Congressional Radio-Television Correspondents' Galleries.
A native of Minnesota, Welna graduated magna cum laude from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, with a Bachelor of Arts degree and distinction in Latin American Studies. He was subsequently a Thomas J. Watson Foundation fellow. He speaks fluent Spanish, French, and Portuguese.