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About the Programme
The annual Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalists Fellowship Programme is a unique opportunity for journalists from developing countries and countries with economies in transitionThe Programme is held for four weeksat the United NationsHeadquarters in New York City.
The Programme was mandated in December 1980 by UN General Assembly Resolution 35/201 (paragraph III-9) and renamed in September 2003 “Reham Al Farra Memorial Journalists Fellowship Programme”. More than 550 journalists and broadcasters from 166 countries have taken part in the Programme.
The Programme is sponsored annually since 1981 by the United Nations Department of Public Information as a fellowship programme for junior and mid-level broadcasters and journalists from developing countries and countries with economies in transition.
It also provides journalists with an opportunity to gain first hand experience in the work of the United Nations. It is also an opportunity to meet journalists from other countries and exchange ideas with UN communication professionals.
Upon completion of the Programme, participants are expected to continue working in journalism or broadcasting and help promote better understanding of the United Nations in their home country. The Programme is not intended to provide basic skills training to broadcasters and journalists as all participants are already working as media professionals. The Programme also does not lead to employment by the UN.
Reham Al-Farra of Jordan was 29 years old when she died along with other United Nations staff members in the terrorist bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq on 19 August 2003. Ms. Al-Farra travelled to Baghdad from New York — where she had worked in the UN Department of Public Information — to take up temporary duties in the Office of the Spokesman for the Special Representative.
Before joining the UN nine months earlier, Ms. Al-Farra was the first female daily political columnist writing for Al Arab Al Yawm, a prominent newspaper in Amman. She had also been active at the Centre for Defending Freedom of Journalists.
In September 2003, the UN Department of Public Information decided to rename its annual training programme for young journalists “The Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalists’ Fellowship Programme” in memory of her (see the Official Records of the 16th meeting of the Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee) held at UN Headquarters NY on 29 October 2003, A/C.4/58/SR.16 (paragraph 38).
On 19 September 2003, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan paid tribute to Ms. Al-Farra during a memorial ceremony for those killed in Baghdad: “You chose to work for the United Nations because you wanted to do something for others,” Mr. Annan said. “You went to Iraq to make a contribution to the lives of your Arab brothers and sisters. It is their loss as much as ours that you were denied the chance to do that”.