The Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship was mandated in December 1980 by UN General Assembly Resolution 35/201. Formerly known as the DPI Training Programme for Broadcasters and Journalists from Developing Countries, the programme was renamed in 2003 in honor of Reham Al-Farra, a 29-year-old Jordanian public information officer who was killed in the 19 August 2003 bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad.
The Fellowship is a unique opportunity for young (22 to 35), working journalists from developing countries and countries with economies in transition to cover the United Nations. Hosted every autumn at UN Headquarters, the programme brings a select group of journalists to New York to cover the opening of the General Assembly for their news outlets.
During the 3-week programme, fellows have an opportunity to attend special briefings, interview senior officials and exchange ideas with colleagues from around the world. In previous years, fellows have met with the UN Secretary-General, Deputy Secretary-General, President of the General Assembly and permanent representatives to the United Nations. The programme also arranges visits to various news organizations, such as the New York Times, Democracy Now! and BuzzFeed.
Since its founding in 1981, the fellowship has been awarded to 611 journalists from 168 countries. Upon completion of the programme, fellows are expected to continue working in journalism and promote better understanding of the United Nations in their home countries. The programme does not provide basic skills training, as all fellows are working journalists.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the RAF Fellowship went virtual for the first time in its history in 2020. A special programme was organized for RAF alumni in commemoration of its 40th anniversary.
2021 VIRTUAL PROGRAMME
Due to the ongoing travel restrictions, the Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship Programme, was held fully virtually, from 20 September to 8 October 2021. Out of this year’s 800 applicants, 19 journalists between the ages of 22 and 35 working in print, TV, radio, podcast and multimedia, were awarded the fellowship. The programme focused on UN issues, such as global health, climate change, refugees, and human rights. The RAF fellows had the opportunity to virtually meet UN officials, including the Secretary-General, Deputy Secretary-General, and Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications.
Over the course of the programme, the journalists produced 86 news pieces in 6 languages: English, French, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Nepali.