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Olivia Katrandjian
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After graduating from Amherst College in 2009, Olivia Katrandjian moved to Bangkok, Thailand and traveled through Vietnam, Laos, China, Hong Kong, and South Korea while writing a travel column for The Bergen Record. Olivia then joined the Armenian Volunteer Corps and moved to Yerevan, Armenia, where she worked as a journalist for the Civilitas Foundation and wrote for The Los Angeles Times and PBS Frontline.

Olivia now works as a reporter for Retro Report, a non-profit documentary news company in New York, and is writing her first book.

To see more of her writing, go to

Entries by Olivia Katrandjian

A Different Kind of Venice Evening at a Vineyard in the Lagoon

(0) Comments | Posted August 21, 2015 | 12:29 PM

Most visitors often overlook the small islands surrounding the heart of Venice. But a trip to the islands of Mazzorbo and Burano are well worth the trip.

The tranquil and sparsely populated island of Mazzorbo, about a 30-minute water taxi ride from the city center, is home to the...

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A Weekend Escape to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park

(4) Comments | Posted July 1, 2015 | 8:04 AM


Green islands and white sailboats dot the water. Dogs frolic along the rocky beach. Children sit on benches with their feet dangling above the ground, licking ice cream cones as big as their heads. This is Bar Harbor, a quaint town on Mount...

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Exploring Italy's Cinque Terre

(0) Comments | Posted June 12, 2015 | 10:49 AM

The "five lands" of Italy's Cinque Terre, perched on the Ligurian Coast, seem to be drawn for a storybook, with stacks of candy-colored houses nestled between green mountains, trains that tunnel in and out of cliffs, and hiking paths through terraced vineyards overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

Cinque Terre...

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Rafting Into Costa Rica's Pura Vida

(0) Comments | Posted June 3, 2015 | 5:22 PM

"Pura vida." Literally, it means "the pure life," but Costa Ricans use it to mean everything from "life is good" to "good luck," "cheers" to "no worries." On a recent trip to Costa Rica, I found myself embodying the phrase in all its meanings.

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Katsuya Brentwood and Beyond

(0) Comments | Posted August 25, 2014 | 6:19 PM

Black cod marinated for 48 hours in a sweet miso dressing, served on a hoba leaf and topped with a sprig of pickled ginger. Spoons of baby yellowtail sashimi in a gelatin ponzu sauce with a citrus kick. Truffle butter poured over sizzling slices of wagyu beef and wild mushrooms....

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To Spy in Lisbon

(0) Comments | Posted December 4, 2013 | 11:46 AM

"In 1940 Lisbon, happiness was staged so that God could believe it still existed," wrote the French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery. During World War II, Saint-Exupery escaped from France to Portugal and ended up in Lisbon, waiting for a visa to go to America. He was not the only one;...

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Retro Report: What Happened to Nixon's War on Cancer?

(2) Comments | Posted November 5, 2013 | 8:47 AM

Credit: Angelo Merendino/Corbis

Click here to watch Retro Report: The Long War on Cancer

Forty-two years ago, President Richard Nixon signed the National Cancer Act and vowed to make curing cancer a national crusade.

"The same kind of concentrated effort...

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Retro Report: Freeing Willy

(0) Comments | Posted September 18, 2013 | 5:52 PM

In the wake of the 1993 hit movie Free Willy, activists and fans campaigned to free the movie's star -- a captive killer whale named Keiko -- and launched a story Hollywood couldn't invent.


Click here to watch Retro Report: Freeing Willy

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Exploring the Fjords of Norway

(7) Comments | Posted September 10, 2013 | 8:00 AM


To visit the Norwegian fjords, long arms of the sea formed by glacial erosion, begin in Bergen, a cheerful port city surrounded by seven mountains. The city's historic center wraps around a bay crowded with sailboats. Old wooden houses in reds and yellows line...

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Retro Report: Season Two Launches With "Summer of Fire"

(0) Comments | Posted September 6, 2013 | 6:38 PM


In June of 1988, lightning ignited a series of forest fires that spread across Yellowstone National Park, burned for almost three months, and consumed nearly a third of the park. They were called the worst fires in park history, and ultimately destroyed about one...

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Bergen International Festival Celebrates the Old and Welcomes the New

(0) Comments | Posted July 14, 2013 | 12:33 AM

"The new is born in Bergen," said Anders Beyer, the director of the International Festival in the port city of Bergen, Norway.

Norway, which spends almost one percent of its national budget on culture, has the resources to devote to the creation of new music, and the 61-year-old festival is...

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Retro Report: The Test Tube Tomato

(0) Comments | Posted June 24, 2013 | 4:31 PM

In May 1994, a tomato appeared on supermarket shelves across the country that was unlike anything Americans had eaten before. Grown from so-called "Flavr Savr" seeds, it was the first genetically engineered food approved for sale, dreamed up by a group of scientists in a California lab.

The new tomato promised a clear benefit: a longer-lasting, better-tasting fruit. And as biotech pioneers looked on, its approval from the Food & Drug Administration ushered in a multi-billion dollar industry with the potential to rethink how we grow crops.

But today, the tomato is nowhere to be found, and a growing segment of the population is wary of technology that once fascinated. What happened to the Flavr Savr, and what does it tell us about the industry it birthed?

"The Flavr Savr showed biotech pioneers what not to do on the business side," said producer Matthew Spolar. "But had it been a success, it may have changed the way the public thinks about GMO foods today."

The story of the rise and fall of the first genetically modified food approved for sale in the United States is the eighth in a series by Retro Report, a non-profit documentary company that revisits stories that once dominated the news cycle.

Olivia is a reporter at Retro Report....

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A Day in Vienna

(1) Comments | Posted May 29, 2013 | 5:05 PM

Start your day in Vienna's sixth district with a leisurely breakfast at Café Sperl, (Gumpendorfer Strasse 11-13) a historic coffeehouse dating back to 1880. The menu offers numerous coffee concoctions, many of which are topped with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge. Don't feel guilty about taking your...

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Armenian Government Threatens NGO and Former Foreign Minister

(9) Comments | Posted October 1, 2012 | 3:22 PM

An attack on a former foreign minister of Armenia is threatening to shut down one of the country's most active and innovative non-profit organizations.

Vartan Oskanian, a U.S.-educated Armenian who served as foreign minister from 1998 to 2008, is being accused by the Armenian government...

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Documenta 13: Disguising Documentary As Art

(0) Comments | Posted August 30, 2012 | 7:00 AM

The 13th Documenta Festival has taken over Kassel, Germany, filling the city's museums, abandoned buildings, parks and even a railroad station with documentary disguised as art.

Held every four or five years, the 100-day festival embraces the idea that art is not limited to paintings on the wall, and...

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Lisbon's Santo Antonio Festival Marks The Eruption Of Summer

(0) Comments | Posted July 17, 2012 | 11:30 AM

White lights and blue streamers hang across narrow, serpentine streets in Alfama, the old quarter of the Portuguese capital of Lisbon.

Couples dance on cobblestone to Fado music. People empty pitchers of red sangria and drink sour cherry liqueur out of edible chocolate shot glasses. Sardines blacken over charcoal, waiting...

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Opening Doors With Art In Madeira, Portugal

(6) Comments | Posted July 13, 2012 | 7:00 AM

Le Petit Prince peers down a serpentine alley. A nude woman turns to shield herself from pedestrians. The phrase "No one can dream your dreams but you" is written over and again.

These are some of the many scenes and words painted onto the deteriorating doors of Santa Maria...

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On The Grounds Of Floriade, The Willowman Lives In His Art (PHOTOS)

(4) Comments | Posted July 3, 2012 | 7:00 AM

Tucked into a thick forest amidst the grounds of Floriade, an international horticulture festival held in Holland once every 10 years, is a village of enormous nests and caves made from willow and recycled materials. Inside lives the Willowman.

A bearded recluse inspired by the architecture of nature, the Willowman,...

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A Serene Hideaway On Brazil's Green Coast

(1) Comments | Posted April 23, 2012 | 7:00 AM

Miniature hot-air balloons of red, violet, lime and canary swing with dancing painted ladies from the ceilings of handicraft shops. Bossa nova beats spill out of bars and restaurants. A grey-haired woman stares out of a first-floor window, keeping watch over the cobblestone streets. This is the scene I discover...

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Guerrilla Charity: Providing Aid To Myanmar The Only Way Possible (PHOTOS)

(2) Comments | Posted March 10, 2012 | 6:00 AM

Secretly crossing the Thailand-Myanmar border, sneaking past military checkpoints and landmines, is not something most people would call a vacation. But Dr. Pierre-Louise Olland and Serge Israel make the trip whenever they have time off work.

The two Frenchmen travel into Myanmar's Shan State illegally, into territory controlled by a...

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