The new year is upon us, bringing with it opportunities for reflection, gratitude, and of course – change. Here at Spheres of Influence, we are kicking off 2023 with some big, exciting, and also bittersweet changes. 

First, I will be stepping down as executive director. This was an incredibly difficult decision, as the last two and a half years of building and running Spheres of Influence have been so precious. However, last August I moved to Paris and began my master’s degree in Environmental Policy at Sciences Po, which means I’m simply unable to dedicate as much time to Spheres as I once was. I’ll still be kicking around here and there, serving on the board of directors, and will of course be still reachable by email. 

But have no fear, Spheres will be in some great hands, as Osama Alshantti will be stepping into the executive director role. Since joining the team a year ago, Osama has been an integral part of Spheres – from publishing hard-hitting articles on diplomacy and conflict, curating our editorial content, running our newsletters, and a million other things – he’s amazing, and I have no doubt that he will do some great work. 

In other news, Esmé Graziani, who has been our fearless editor in chief since day one, is also stepping away to focus on work and to prepare for graduate school. Esmé’s tedious and thoughtful work has tremendously shaped our publication’s editorial content, as she’s overseen the editing publication of over 400 articles – a monstrous task, to say the least. 

Beth Samson will be stepping in as the new editor in chief, and I cannot imagine a better fit. Beth has been on the team for around two years now, most recently as a managing editor, and is known for her brilliant ideas, thoughtful analyses, and consistency. We are so lucky to have her.

So, as we navigate these changes and draft our plans for our operations, content, and priorities moving forward, we have decided to go on a brief operational hiatus from publishing articles. Sign up for our newsletter to stay in the loop and we’ll let you know once we’re up and running again. Thanks for your patience, and we can’t wait for what’s in store for this new year. 

Finally, I wanted to conclude with a word of thanks as I continue down this new path. I am eternally grateful for my time with Spheres – it has been, without exaggeration, the greatest learning experience of my life. Thank you to all of the volunteers and employees who have put in countless hours of tireless work to spread important information about underreported global stories and amplify marginalized voices. Thank you to our readers and our donors who have made it possible for us to continue this work. In the ruthless world of independent journalism, we quite literally could not do this without you. 

Much love, and peace out for now. 

Dorothy Settles

Dorothy is the co-founder and executive director of Spheres of Influence. Her work focuses on social movements, climate change, and conflict across Turtle Island and Southeast Asia. Originally from Arizona,...