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28 media professionals from 24 countries took up their advanced studies at the end of September at DW Akademie. For the first time, the program is being conducted in English only and using a hybrid format.
At a ceremony held in Bonn, Professor Dr. Christoph Schmidt, Head of Academic Education and Training, said he was particularly pleased this year to be welcoming a new round of IMS students. That wasn't possible last year – the program had to be postponed due to the pandemic.
Most of the new students are already in Bonn; a few are still waiting for their visas and in the meantime taking part online from their home countries. The 28 students are from all over the world, including Colombia, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Mexico, Ghana, Georgia, Tunisia and a number of other countries.
Diversity is a core feature of the IMS and a reason why the program is so popular. This diversity, said Schmidt, is also reflected in the teachers and lecturers involved and in the range of courses and projects offered.
This year the program also includes two new aspects: the IMS is now being conducted in English only (previously conducted in German and English) and with a hybrid teaching format
More candidates applied to this year's program than ever before, making the selection process especially challenging. Those chosen were selected for their individual qualifications in the professional media field as well as for their socio-political commitment.
The participants have a variety of media backgrounds. In the introduction round, Annis Taressa from Ethiopia, for example, said she had worked for two years as a digital media producer with BBC Media Action Ethiopia. Elena Guadalupe Madge from Peru for her part had been a digital communications program officer at Oxfam America. Other participants have worked as news reporters, editors, social media managers, audiovisual producers and in other media-related areas.
The students have already formed a network which over the next two years will become even stronger as they share experiences and learn from each other. The Master's students will also learn theory and have practical modules, conducted by lecturers and staff at DW Akademie, Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences and the University of Bonn.
In these politically turbulent times, the IMS program focuses on the media's role in the global context and works with the students to develop a common understanding of media and development cooperation. The knowledge they acquire will enable them to act as media experts in their respective countries. For the first time, ten selected scholarship holders will be completing their fourth semester in their own countries, facilitating their integration into the local job market.