The IFAJ Executive Committee has created a “Vision 2025” committee which will be responsible for developing a strategic vision and action plan for IFAJ.
This is IFAJ’s second visioning effort. In 2013, the federation adopted a “Vision 2020” strategic plan to guide the implementation of activities, in line with the following priorities:
- Supporting the basic organization of member guilds/associations;
- Development of an Internet network;
- Involve guilds/associations which embrace, but do not necessarily enjoy, freedom of the press in their countries.
Since then, IFAJ has become a much more global organization, with 50-member guilds. The organization has extended its networks into new areas of the globe and reached people with new insights and perspectives.
The 2013 committee’s vision and 10-point action plan was reviewed in November at the executive committee meeting in Ireland. It was agreed that the action plan will mostly be fulfilled by the end of this year, and that a new five-year strategic vision and action plan is now required.
“The vision committee takes the pulse of IFAJ and helps guide where it’s headed, says Owen Roberts, IFAJ President. “It creates a roadmap outlining how, in a practical fashion, to move IFAJ forward. We’ve revisited the plan, checked in to see where we’re at and how much we have accomplished, and now it’s time to reset our sights on what is important to IFAJ as we look toward to 2025.”
The committee will start its work immediately and present a proposal at the IFAJ Congress in Minneapolis, USA, in July.
The Vision 2025 committee members are:
Jane Craigie, Great Britain (chairperson)
Pulack Ghatack, Bangladesh
Kurt Lawton, USA
Jefferson Massah, Liberia
Jacqueline Wijbenga, The Netherlands
Lena Johansson, IFAJ Vice-President (representing the presidium)
Their bios are below.
Jane has combined her agricultural and horticultural education with a career in marketing, media and communications. She chaired the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists (BGAJ) when the UK hosted the IFAJ Congress in 2014. Jane is on the BGAJ’s council and is the British representative on the IFAJ Executive committee.
Jane is actively involved in international rural leadership and was the co-founder of the international Rural Youth Project and initiative focused on better understanding and supporting young rural people to enact positive change in their communities.
Jane is based in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, she is a Trustee of LANTRA, the UK’s land-based skills and training organisation, and is on the steering committee of LEAF’s Public Engagement and Education Committee.
Pulack is an agricultural journalist in Bangladesh. He is the founder president of Bangladesh Agricultural Journalists and Activists Federation (BAJAF), the IFAJ guild in Bangladesh. He is a former joint secretary general of the Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ), the apex trade union of journalists in the country. He is well known in Bangladesh as a journalist and activist for press freedom, people’s rights and democracy. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Press Institute of Bangladesh (PIB). He is a permanent member of the National Press Club of Bangladesh, Dhaka Reporters’ Unity, and some other organizations.
Currently he has been working as a senior reporter with the Daily Observer, national newspaper headquartered in Dhaka. He is also a stringer correspondent of the US based BenarNews.Org, a sister concern of Radio Free Asia (RFA). Prior to it, he worked on a number of daily newspapers in Bangladesh.
Kurt Lawton, owner/freelance writer at Stellar Content LLC in Minnesota, has spent 38 years producing educational, thought-provoking and award-winning content for farmers and agricultural gatekeepers. Prior to re-launching his company, Lawton spent seven years as Editor-in-Chief/Content Director of Corn+Soybean Digest where he gained farmer and industry respect with his “Think Different” passion that informed and challenged farmers to achieve greater farm sustainability and profitability.Lawton’s career includes working for DTN/The Progressive Farmer and Farm Industry News magazines, public relations agencies, Rooster.com, as well as freelancing for a decade.
He is a past-president of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association (US Guild), where he twice served on its Board of Directors, its Professional Improvement Foundation Board, and many committees since he joined in 1981. He currently serves as Chairman of the AAEA International Committee, Co-Chair of the IFAJ 2019 Congress, and US representative on the IFAJ Executive Council.
Lawton grew up on a grain and livestock farm in central Iowa, and received his B.S. Degree in Agricultural Journalism from Iowa State University in 1980, and Master’s Certificate in Internet Marketing from the University of San Francisco in 2009.
Jefferson has more than 12 years of experience in agricultural journalism and holds a Bachelor’s of Science (BSc) in Integrated Development Studies from Cuttington University, Liberia.
In Liberia, Jefferson has successfully managed agricultural communication projects few organizations including ACDI/VOCA, International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and Central Agriculture Research Institute (CARI). These projects were aimed at boosting agricultural extension services for smallholder farmers in hardly accessible communities using radio.
Jefferson currently serves as National Coordinator of Liberia Agricultural Journalists Network (LAJN) a network of agriculture and rural development journalists across.
He is 2015 recipient of Atkins Communications Award from Farm Radio International based in Ottawa, Canada. The award is annually given to African radio producer who do exceptional reporting that brings information to smaller holder farmers’ through participatory radio campaigns. The first Liberian journalist to receive said award.
Jacqueline is the current president of the Dutch guild NVLJ, executive representative to the IFAJ and is board member of the IFAJ2018 Dutch Roots congress. Recently she also became president of the IFAJ Host Liaison Committee aimed to aid and support guilds who are in the process of organising a congress.
Jacqueline is a strong supporter of the network function that the professional agricultural guild offers, in her own country as well as in the different international networks. Within the organisation of the Dutch Roots congress she put a lot of emphasize on opening opportunities for less financial solid guild members to attend congress in The Netherlands. The organisation was very fortunate to be able to invite a substantial delegation from Africa, due to the efforts of the Dutch guild. The connections made at this occasion were very warm and worthwhile to those attending congress as well as to the Dutch guild and IFAJ.
Professionally Jacqueline has been an agricultural journalist for over twenty years. Firstly for a farmers weekly, later active for a feed industry magazine which is published in The Netherlands and Belgium. During her career she evolved from an editor who mainly works in the field, via the role of managing editor to the position of (vice)-publisher within the publishing company she works for. Through her career she kept touching base in the field, as she is still an active writer for the magazine.