For eight years, the GMF fellowship program has welcomed a total of over 1,000 people from all around the world. In 2020, the initiative had to go online because of COVID-19. This year, it will continue digitally.
Since 2012, the Global Media Forum has been able to organize the annual fellowship program, welcoming up to 200 people each year from developing and transition countries with the help of a special grant from the Federal Foreign Office.
Based on the country priority list of the Federal Foreign Office, the program addresses media professionals (in particular those active in digital formats, such as bloggers, online activists and influencers) as well as civil society actors, scientists, NGO representatives, (social) entrepreneurs and cultural workers and is also aimed at attracting innovators and/or multipliers from the media in general.
Representing the values of Germany
In the spirit of successful public diplomacy, the program serves as a means to communicate the values and social attitudes of Germany. In addition to promoting the country, the fellowship program also raises awareness about Germany's commitment to finding global solutions to global problems.
GMF also benefits greatly from these highly motivated and committed young actors who enrich the aspect of international dialogue with knowledge and expertise from their home countries. We regard the fellowship program as a unique opportunity to exchange ideas between countries, nationalities and generations.
2020: cameras, light, action!
Due to global restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic and also out of DW’s responsibility towards its guests, we held the Global Media Forum as yearlong digital conversation on journalism in 2020, offering various digital discussion sessions, talk formats, articles and more to create online exchanges to last throughout the whole year.
Our selected participants from the GMF fellowship program were invited to join a series of capacity building workshops on digital platforms, each lasting up to three hours. Here's an overview of the topics we covered in our capacity building workshops last year:
Dealing with media/crisis communication,
News verification tools,
Constructive Journalism, and
Open Situation Room (with the German Foreign Office).
Real-life application of lessons learned
Despite the restrictions created by COVID-19, the 2020 GMF fellows showed great enthusiasm about the program and its workshops.
Fellow Zumrud Pashkin looks forward to learning more about how to overcome government restrictions on press freedom
"The online workshops that DW offers cover very important topics. The global press faces challenges, especially in countries where the government uses restrictions against journalists," said GMF 2020 fellow Zumrud Pashkin from Azerbaijan. "Journalists should find new ways and methods to share information. So, from this perspective I think these online workshops will help us to improve our methods both in terms of quality, and also to address how to deal with such restrictions."
Another GMF 2020 fellow, Abdalle Ahmad Mumin, also shared his enthusiasm for the program, saying it could particularly help him during the corona crisis: "COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on journalists and the media in Somalia. My organization has very limited resources, and launching our own fundraising initiatives is therefore a key way of supporting journalists and advocating freedom of expression in Somalia," he told DW.
"I believe that attending the DW Global Media Forum 2020 capacity building workshops will help me to gain the desired knowledge on fundraising, which will be of benefit for the members of Somali Journalists Syndicate. Furthermore, the Global Media Forum is a great place for networking with media professionals and influencers from across the world."
Outlook for the Fellowship program 2021
The Global Media Forum will be held as a hybrid event this year, which will be live-streamed from the Deutsche Welle headquarters in Bonn, Germany, lending opportunities for people from around the world to connect with each other despite the many challengers of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The fellowship program in 2021 will take place as a two-day-conference via online streaming for all DW fellows. These two days will include best practice examples and capacity building workshops.
Additionally, following the GMF conference in June, we will also host one networking event per month for both current year fellows and our alumni from August to December, allowing fellows from around the globe to get to know the other fellows, learn more about DW and become better acquainted with Germany. The topics and speakers to be highlighted during those sessions are yet to be decided.
All these fellowship events will be held in the digital realm in 2021. However, of course, we hope that one day we will be able to meet and greet all our fellows in person in Bonn again.
As has been the case in previous years with the physical Global Media Forum, which was held annually at the World Conference Center Bonn, the digital edition of the Global Media Forum 2020 and 2021 also receive support from the Federal Foreign Office, the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Stiftung Internationale Begegnung der Sparkasse in Bonn.