Recipients of 2017 Dag Hammarskjöld Journalism Fellowships

Mercy Abang, 32, of Nigeria is a syndicated freelance journalist, reporting on issues facing vulnerable populations. She has been published in the Taz Newspaper of Germany, NewsWireNGR, Sahara Reporters, Premium Times, The Cable, Vanguard Newspaper, DailyTrust Newspaper, BellaNaija, Ynaija,, Pulseng, and other Nigerian media. She has reported on the G20 partnership with Africa summit in Berlin. In Nigeria she has covered communities under siege of the terrorist group Boko Haram, maternal health, poverty, displaced persons and biodiversity. At the United Nations, she is interested in sustainable development goals of ending poverty and hunger and improving health and education. She has a degree in journalism, studied digital storytelling, advertising and public relations. In 2012, she was cited in the Nigerian African Woman magazine as one of 10 Nigerian women to watch.  Her byline on the internet is Mercy Abang.

Zeinab Mohammed Salih, 34, of Sudan is a freelance journalist for websites, mainly The Niles bilingual website, sponsored by Germany. She attended Columbia University and has a master’s degree from Cardiff University in Wales. She has been bylined in the New York Times, the Guardian, the Independent, Editor and Publisher and IRIN, among others. Based in Khartoum, she also investigates jihadist groups in Libya and life in Chad. She has contributed numerous articles to The Guardian: on health clinics in Sudan, on Darfur’s once royal family, on student protests in Sudan, including hunger strikes, on female circumcism, on gang rapes and on the planned execution of a mentally ill man in Somaliland. She has also written on the jailing of Sudanese journalists after the Arab Spring as well as the environment.  Her byline in the internet is Zeinab Mohammed Salih.

Mir Wais Jalalzai, 28, of Afghanistan is a war correspondent, having covered the most dangerous conflicts and devastating events in his country. He works for the Khabarial News in Kabul and is a contributor to TRT World, based in Istanbul, and the Afghanistan Times. He also reports on corruption and human trafficking in both formal languages of Afghanistan (Pashto, Persian). He has master’s degree in public relations and is interested in Asian affairs and conflict resolution studies. He is currently working on a guide book for Afghan journalists on how to report from a war zone and why reporting on conflict matters.  At the United Nations, he looks forward to meetings on Afghanistan and how they are covered by the international media. He has traveled to Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and Singapore. His byline on the internet is Mir Wais Jalazai.

Ray Mwareya, 34, of Zimbabwe is the news editor for Women Taboos Radio Africa, covering southern Africa. He is a correspondent for Rural Reporters Africa, based in Nigeria, and a contributor to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Equal Times Magazine and the Financial Times. He was the first journalist to receive the UN Global Migration Fair Reporting Award in 2015. A year later, he received a silver medal from the UN Correspondents Association for his “sensitive compelling writing” and the Reporters Without Borders Refuge Scholarship. He has covered digital surveillance, labor trafficking and fish poisoning from Germany to Uganda to Mozambique to Malawi. He is interested on how climate change effects disrupts the rural women incomes and agriculture livelihoods in southern Africa, causing a loss of land, brutal internal migration and hunger. His byline on the internet is Ray Mwareya.

The journalists will arrive in mid-September and spend 10 weeks covering United Nations deliberations.

The Dag Hammarskjöld Fund for Journalists was established as a not-for-profit organization more than 50 years ago by journalists at the United Nations as a living memorial to the legacy of peace, progress and justice of Dag Hammarskjöld, the second UN Secretary-General who was killed in a plane crash while on a peace mission to the Congo in 1961.

The Fund’s program for journalists seeks to advance a fuller understanding of UN deliberations to alleviate human suffering and promote peace; to support and encourage the journalism profession, and to inspire a strong and diverse community of journalists who will give voice to the challenges facing their countries.

Journalists are important partners in the United Nation efforts to foster a culture of peace and security, human rights and dignity, universal justice, social and economic development.  They are essential to raising public awareness of the key issues, documenting the facts, illustrating what is being done, and pointing to the successes and failures of international efforts.

Over the past five decades, the Fund has selected hundreds of journalists from the developing countries of Africa, Asia (including Pacific Island nations) and Latin America/the Caribbean to report from the UN during the opening months of the General Assembly (September-November).   The program offers an incomparable opportunity for promising journalists from developing countries to observe United Nations deliberations and to report on proceedings for news media in their home countries.  They also meet international experts and diplomats, interact with seasoned journalists, and make professional contacts that will serve them for years to come.

The program requires the presence of the selected journalists in New York during the first few months of the U.N. General Assembly session and should be regarded as an opportunity for news organizations and journalists to provide their audiences with special assignment news coverage from U.N. headquarters.  The program has become increasingly important as fewer news organizations can afford to maintain correspondents in New York to cover U.N. deliberations.  Many former program participants have achieved national and international success and acclaim.

The Fund is a small organization, but has had a significant impact due to the dedication of the UN journalists who volunteer their time and expertise to mentor the program participants.

The Fund is guided in its efforts by an Honorary Advisory Council comprised of ambassadors to the United Nations and other individuals who believe in the objectives of the Fund’s program.  A Board of Directors consisting of U.N.-accredited journalists operate the Fund and its program for journalists.

2016 Fellowship Program

The 2016 Fellowship program ended on November 18th and the Journalists have returned to Argentina, Indonesia, Iran, and Tajikistan.

Please click here to read their latest posts.

To hear from journalists who have participated in the fellowship program, please click here.  

Although the Fund is based at the United Nations, it does not receive financial support from the world organization. The Fund’s program for journalists relies entirely on financial support from U.N. Missions, foundations, organizations and individuals.

Dag Hammarskjöld Fund Honors 2016 Fellowship Recipients

A reception to recognize the Dag Hammarskjöld Journalism Fellows was held at the United Nations on November 1, attended by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, President of the General Assembly Peter Thomson, senior U.N. officials, diplomats and members of the U.N. press corps.

Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Cristina Gallach congratulated the four 2016 Fellows and cited the importance of the Fund’s program for the journalists to develop their careers and achieve further success. When noting highlights of their experience, “one fellow told me the diplomatic encounters in the Security Council; another told me the amount of events and activities during the General Assembly,” but all agreed that the “weeks spent here with us are going to be unforgettable,” Gallach said.

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The Fund Board of Directors is composed of U.N.-accredited journalists who volunteer their services to manage the fellowship program, select the fellowship recipients and mentor the journalists while they are at the United Nations.

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Honorary Advisory Council

The Fund is guided in its efforts by an Honorary Advisory Council which is comprised of ambassadors to the United Nations and other individuals who believe in the objectives of the fellowship program for journalists.  Continuing a 56-year tradition since the Fund was established. H.E. Mr. Antonio Guterres, the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations, has agreed to serve as Honorary Chairman of the Council.

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The Fund hosts an annual luncheon each fall at the United Nations which is attended by the Secretary-General, senior U.N. officials and staff, ambassadors to the U.N., members of the U.N. press corps, the current year journalism fellows, supporters of the Fund’s fellowship program and other invited guests.  The luncheon program includes remarks by the Hammarskjöld fellows about the personal and professional impact of the Fund’s program.  The Dag Hammarskjöld Inspiration Award and Chair Citation are presented at this event.

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Since 1962, The Dag Hammarskjöld Journalism Fund has awarded fellowships to professional journalists from the developing countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Alumni Fellows are currently working around the world.  The Dag Hammarskjöld Fund continues to gather information about the status and activities of past program participants. We are proud of their achievements and firmly believe the Hammarskjöld fellowship helped to propel their success.

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