About Aleks

Aleksandra Corwin (née Kulczuga) is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer. She has reported extensively from around the world, with a particular focus on troubled hot zones like Afghanistan and Burma. Her work has appeared in a wide variety of publications including the Wall Street JournalForeign Policy Magazine, and Forbes. She specializes in interviewing smart people on esoteric subjects, and then trying to make sense of it all. She is also an accomplished speechwriter and ghostwriter, with a specialty in historical and spiritual narratives.

She recently completed a yearlong Robert Novak journalism fellowship with the Phillips Foundation on the role of the Polish military in the war on terror. The Phillips foundation is a non-profit organization that provides this grant to allow promising young journalists the opportunity to pursue original, independent research on a topic of their choosing – the main guideline being that the project support the values of a free society. When she left her job at The Daily Caller in Washington D.C., Media Bistro posted this write-up of her acceptance speech at the National Press Club:

“She has won a Phillips Foundation grant to study Poland’s involvement in Afghanistan and the countries’ close relationship to the U.S. on the War on Terror. Former Defense Sec. Donald Rumsfeld gave her high praise Tuesday night at a Phillips Foundation dinner where she spoke. Rumsfeld gave her no less than a standing ovation at the end of her speech. Watch him pop up (solo!) at the end of the short YouTube clip below.”

Media Bistro

From the Blog

What it Means to “Hold Space” for People

In my job as a staff editor at Round Table Companies, we spend all day “holding space” for our clients, and for each other. The best writing comes from this very place. Heather Plett does an excellent job explaining what that means. It’s a key concept for professional communicators to understand. What does it mean to hold space for someone else? It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control.   Sometimes we find ourselves holding space for people while they hold space for others. In our situation, for example, Ann was holding space for us while we held space for Mom. Though I know nothing about her support system, I suspect that there are others holding space for Ann as she does this challenging and meaningful work. It’s virtually impossible to be a strong space holder unless we have others who will hold space for us. Even the strongest leaders, coaches, nurses, etc., need to know that there are some people with whom they can be vulnerable and weak without fear of being judged. … To truly support people in their own growth, transformation, grief, etc., we can’t do it by taking their power away (ie. trying to fix their problems), shaming them (ie. implying that they should know more than they do), or overwhelming them (ie. giving them more information than they’re ready for). We have to be prepared to step to the side so that they...

What I Do For a Living: A Career in Questions

As part of my job as a staff editor at Round Table Companies, I also contribute to the blog where we post about our experiences in writing and in helping others tell (and even understand) their own stories. Here is how I answer “What do you do?” when I have 1,000 words to do it: I have made a career out of asking questions. So, isn’t it funny that I can’t really answer the one I get asked the most often: What do you do for a living? The short answer is that since I left my day job as a news reporter, I have been dabbling in long form stories—looking for any excuse to sit around, talk to fascinating people, and ask them deep questions. Don’t get me wrong—doing a couple month-long embed tours with troops in Afghanistan was one of the most consequential professional experiences of my life, but the love I have for books and the space they allow for exploration has taken me down a different path. I could say I spend more time ghostwriting these days, but people get the mistaken impression that I just type furiously at my keyboard while a well-to-do author on a vanity crusade spews their story into a Dictaphone— all while paying me to be silent about my role as a glorified typist. But that’s not right either. What I do is something more, and it’s often a fervent labor of love. When I help people write their books, I get to ask them questions like, for example, why did you decide to forgive your mother after all those years? Or, what emotions were you...

Handing a Child Over to A Stranger with a POA is Legal?

I’m writing a book about a family who adopted a traumatized 9-year old girl from Russia, and their struggle to survive amidst her violent rages — she was diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder (amidst a slew of other diagnoses including ADHD, PTSD, ODD). I recently came across a fascinating/terrifying investigative report that Reuters did last year on the phenomenon of “re-homing.” It turns out that you can legally hand your child off to a complete stranger with little more than a notarized power of attorney (POA) as a “receipt”. Fascinating, terrifying, heartbreaking. Read the full report here. The full 5-part series is worth reading. While it’s definitely true that some families are abusing the system, are irresponsible hypocrites, etc — overall, I don’t actually think it’s that black and white. Adoption agencies in other countries are often not forthcoming with details about a child’s mental health. There are plenty of wonderful, decent, loving families that adopt older children (maybe naively and maybe not) — do their research and due-diligence, want to make a difference in the world — and then get in completely over their heads with a child whose behavior is so severe they fear for their lives (and their other children’s lives) daily. I think it’s hard to imagine how traumatic it can be for families (this is exactly what the book I’m writing is about). This short article here points out that the real problem is that there are almost NO post-adoption resources for families who find themselves in these desperate situations, so adoptive families in crisis find themselves doing these despicable back alley deals. Click here...

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