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Education

Student Programme to Enhance Mental Health Journalism

WISH The Carter Center signing

The World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) has recently signed an agreement with The Carter Center to support the training of Qatar-based student journalists in mental health reporting.

The Student Scholarship Program is a new initiative within the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism programme, which was brought to Qatar in 2016 as part of a partnership agreement between WISH and Atlanta-based Carter Center. The objective is to train students in Qatar on how to report ethically and accurately on topics related to mental health and illnesses before they embark on their professional careers.

The agreement is supported by Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) and Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q), who recommended the students for the new programme.

NU-Q Dean Everette E Dennis and GU-Q Dean Dr Ahmad S Dallal were present during the signing ceremony, along with students Ayilah Chaudhary (NU-Q) and Asma Al Jehani (GU-Q), this year’s inaugural student cohort. Ahead of the formal signing ceremony, the two students travelled to Atlanta in September where they met Former US First Lady Rosalynn Carter and took part in a series of sessions and workshops.

WISH continues to work with The Carter Center on the main fellowship programme for established journalists, with Al Rayyan TV presenter Khalid Al Naama representing Qatar this year.

WISH CEO Sultana N Afdhal said the new initiative builds on the success of the ongoing programme, the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism.

We believe it is essential to train students before they commence their professional careers, so they can learn best practices for reporting on mental health issues in Qatar with accuracy, integrity, and cultural sensitivity.’

Over the course of next year, the students will work closely with their professors, and with professional journalists in both the US and Qatar, to learn how to produce accurate and balanced reports on mental health issues.

Curtis Kohlhaas, Chief Development Officer of The Carter Center, said they are confident that the training will help the students to not only enhance their future careers but also address the critical issue of stigma and discrimination around mental illnesses through their work.

The students will have access to a wide network of global journalists, and alumni of the programme, from many countries including the US, Colombia, South Africa, and New Zealand, for professional advice and support. We look forward to seeing the content that these students produce over the next year, and hope that their work has a positive effect in Qatar and beyond.’

The partnership between WISH and The Carter Center underscores both organisations’ longstanding commitment to raising awareness of issues around mental health.

For more information about WISH, visit www.wish-qatar.org, or follow them on Twitter, @WISHQatar.

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