Note No. 255

23 September 2003



VIENNA, 23 September (UN Information Service) -- The United Nations has decided to rename its annual training programme for young journalists in honour of Reham Al-Farra, one of the staff members killed in last month’s terrorist bombing of the UN’s headquarters in Baghdad and the first female daily political columnist in her native Jordan.


The training programme, which brings journalists from developing countries to UN Headquarters in New York, will be renamed the Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalists' Fellowship Programme, said Shashi Tharoor, head of the UN Department of Public Information (DPI), which runs the annual workshop, in a letter to Ms. Al-Farra's mother.


"I believe this Fellowship will be a fitting memorial to a young woman who was clearly committed not only to her profession of journalism but also to her mission to help make the world a better place," he wrote. "It will, I hope, honour her memory and remind us of the inspiration she gave to us all."


Last Friday, Secretary-General Kofi Annan paid tribute to Ms. Al-Farra during a memorial ceremony for those killed in the 19 August bomb blast at the Canal Hotel, including Sergio Vieira de Mello, Mr. Annan's Special Representative for Iraq, and 20 others.


"You chose to work for the United Nations because you wanted to do something for others," the Secretary-General said. "You went to Iraq to make a contribution to the lives of your Arab brothers and sisters. It is their loss as much as ours that you were denied the chance to do that."


In mid-August, Ms. Al-Farra, 29, went to Baghdad from New York, where she worked on the Arabic-language version of the UN News Centre web site, to take up temporary duties in the Office of the Spokesman for the Special Representative.


Before joining the UN earlier this year, Ms. Al-Farra was the first female daily political columnist writing for Al Arab Al Yawm, a prominent newspaper in Amman. She had also been active at the Centre for Defending Freedom of Journalists.



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