Graduates of God,” by Amanda Coakley, was the recipient of the first award in the second edition of the Piazza Grande Religion Journalism Award. Her article, published in the summer 2022 edition of New Humanist magazine, offers an in-depth examination of a privately funded college in Poland dedicated to shaping an elite cadre of young ultraconservative activists with potential influence over the future of Europe.

The jury commended Coakley’s work for its comprehensive research, extensive knowledge of the subject matter and historical context, and clear, compelling writing style. Her adept use of quotes and anecdotes effectively bolsters her analysis of the school and its objectives. The article provides a captivating exploration of a growing phenomenon not only in Poland but also in other European countries.

Amanda Coakley is a highly regarded journalist renowned for her focus on Central and Eastern Europe. Currently serving as a Europe’s Futures fellow at the IWM in Vienna, she has made significant contributions to prestigious publications such as TIME Magazine, Foreign Policy, The Irish Times, and The Independent.

Her professional journey began at CNN International in London before she transitioned to Channel 4 News. Notably, her outstanding coverage of the coronavirus pandemic earned her the prestigious ‘Coronavirus Journalism Excellence’ award from Press Gazette in July 2020.

Amanda’s dedication to journalism has earned her numerous accolades, including an MHP International Affairs Reporting Award, an Emmy nomination, and the One World Media Fellowship. She is an alumna of University College Dublin, where she distinguished herself as an Ad Astra Scholar.

In this video, our vice-chair, Jelena Jorgačević, engages in a discussion with Amanda Coakley, covering a range of intriguing topics related to her work and the current landscape of religion journalism.