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 PROGRAMME UPDATE
The 2021 RAF Programme is expected to take place in September-October 2021, on the occasion of the 76th General Assembly. The programme will be conducted virtually, and Fellows who actively participate in programme activities will be strongly considered for a future in-person programme.
The application period has now ended.