Before Breanna Comunale, Class of 2018, began her senior year this past fall, she was busy turning a summer dream into reality. That dream began in the quiet rooms of Catherine the Great’s palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, where Breanna found the inspiration to create a space for writers and photographers to share their stories.
“I set out to find a way to make cultures more accessible through the eyes of the locals and curious travelers,” Breanna writes in an editor’s note in the inaugural issue of her online publication, Global Writers United.
St. Petersburg was just one stop on a European tour that took Breanna through Russia and several other countries that hug the Baltic Sea. What made her travels so special, she says, was the ability to experience their rich histories and cultures from a local’s perspective. This, she says, instilled in her an appreciation for authentically experiencing a country.
Following her travels in Europe, she landed in New York City for a summer mentorship with New York Times economics writer Eduardo Porter. Learning the ins and outs of modern journalism from some of the best in the business, Breanna conducted her own reporting in the city and met an unexpected friend: Sonia Visone.
Sonia grew up in Monaco, the small city-state located on France’s Mediterranean coast. The two swapped stories of what it was like growing up in their respective countries and how their schools compared.
“I learned a lot about her life in Monaco, which was the turning point in deciding how I would carry out this project,” Breanna writes. “We decided to collaborate on a publication open to the global community that featured both native and visiting voices that reflected on their experiences around the world.”
Through their collaboration, Global Writers United was born.
The first issue, titled Arts & Culture, launched in October 2017, less than two months after Breanna began her senior year at Parker. The issue explores countries and regions around the world, including the Middle East, the Balkans, Japan, Haiti, Colombia, and Breanna’s native San Diego. Stories are paired with striking photographs to give readers a visual sense of the countries they are visiting in each story.
Breanna says they chose arts and culture for the first issue in order to “showcase diverse aspects of the world, from a country’s music scene … to a country’s culinary traditions.”
Contributors from across the globe have connected with her on social media to help share their stories. Whether they are living in the places they write about, studying, or just visiting, their unique perspectives provide a learning opportunity for people all around the world. Since its inception in fall 2017, Global Writers United has reached audiences in the Philippines, Nigeria, Kenya, Ukraine, United Kingdom, France, and Mexico.
“I’ve enjoyed seeing how it has developed over the last few months,” says Breanna, brushing off the notion that the publication is a huge time commitment on top of her other Parker obligations.
Breanna will attend Columbia University next year with the intention of studying economics. She says she may eventually pair economics with another degree in journalism.
As she continues to find her voice, both at Parker and abroad, Breanna is helping to amplify the voices of people from all over the world by giving them a platform to tell their stories. To read those stories, visit https://globalwritersunited.org/.
I set out to find a way to make cultures more accessible through the eyes of the locals and curious travelers.Breanna Comunale, Class of 2018