International networking gives a great boost

Riitta Mustonen, Finland
Secretary General

I had an honor to visit the 50th anniversary of the Norwegian agricultural journalist guild in October. They had a seminar on climate change and other important matters and after that we had a dinner.

I was expecting a big party, something like a congress closing banquet. But there we were on a bull station called Store Ree, with 24 people. We were all journalists, some of us already retired, and two foreign guests: Gudrun from Norway and myself from Finland and also representing IFAJ.

The group was about the half of the Norwegian guild’s fifty members. Oldest one was Svein Solli, 93 years old honorary member, who gave a speech recalling good old days as an ag journalist back in the sixties.

The milestones of the guild’s history had been the three IFAJ congresses this small guild has arranged, the most recent in 2006 in Hamar. Organizing such a big event has given the guild its spirit and power. There was no doubt that the international happenings were the core of the guild’s activity and liveliness.

It was of great significance that IFAJ was founded in the year 1956. It encouraged many countries to found their national guild – like Finland two years after in 1958, Norway six years later and so on.

Now, we are seeing the same flow: IFAJ is globalizing and new guilds are born and joining us: Argentina, Kenya, India. In the European Union we have ENAJ, European Network of Agricultural Journalists, which is also encouraging new countries like Cyprus, to form a guild.

These international organizations and networks, like IFAJ and ENAJ, bring us together and build up the community spirit of the national journalists. It’s great to see.