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IFAJ approves global expansion plan

The IFAJ strategic committee presenting its plan which was approved by the executive committee at its meeting in Berlin: from left, Katharina Seuser (Germany), Lena Johansson (Sweden), Markus Rediger (Switzerland), Hans Siemes (Netherlands), and Dana Vecerova (Czech Republic). Photo by Steve Werblow

International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) approves plan to extend professional development and networking programs to journalists in developing nations.

Berlin, Germany — The International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) executive committee has approved plans to provide new networking and professional development opportunities for journalists in developing nations and nations without free press. The plan is pending approval of the IFAJ delegate assembly, which meets in Sweden in August, 2012 at the next IFAJ Congress.

The prospective plan, approved by the committee at the Green Week business meeting in Berlin, gives the Federation the freedom to provide additional professional development and outreach programs. These could include face-to-face meetings and online training or discussion groups, as well as networking opportunities for journalists in developing countries and in countries without freedom of the press.

The strategic plan was prompted by frequent requests to IFAJ for help from communicators in non-member countries, and by IFAJ initiatives such as the annual master class, a program which brings journalists from developing and non-free press nations to IFAJ congresses for workshops and networking.

“The role of the agricultural journalist has never been more important, especially as the planet moves toward a global population of 9 billion by year 2050,” says IFAJ president Mike Wilson. “In our profession, we communicate and help educate our audiences on a wide range of issues, from production to food safety. Reaching more communicators worldwide with networking and professional development is a natural extension of the IFAJ mission.”

Pending the plan’s acceptance, the IFAJ’s global strategy team, led by Vice President Markus Rediger, will begin implementing these international services. Pending financial support, programs may include:

·         Increased participation in the IFAJ Master Class. Currently the program, sponsored by Pioneer Hi-Bred International, brings 10 to 12 journalists to each annual IFAJ Congress for workshops and networking;

·         Development of media tours that take journalists to developing nations to report on real world poverty and hunger issues;

·         Agripool opportunities where individual journalists can meet journalists in developing countries and work with them to develop guilds and share expertise;

·         Developing an online network that allows broader access to networking, discussion groups and online educational programs;

·         Coordinate partnerships between IFAJ guilds and new guilds from developing or non-free press countries. Guilds would then build relationships through Skype and email and offer mentoring or other resources, as needed. They could advise, through webinars or Skype teleconferences, send cameras or laptops, send a journalist to that country for training/workshops, set up a professional exchange, or sponsor a journalist from the partner country to attend a congress.

The IFAJ is a non-political, not-for-profit professional association for agricultural journalists in 31 countries that embrace freedom of the press. It serves as a platform for communication, information and professional development for agricultural journalists around the world. Learn more about IFAJ at


Vice President Markus Rediger
Phone: +41 31 359 59 80 (Switzerland)

President Mike Wilson
Phone: +1 217 877 0679 (USA)

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