A Global Agricultural Research Partnership

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Report on AGM05
The World Food Situation
Centers and Members Day
Science Forum Highlights
Crawford Lecture 2005
State of the World's Agriculture
Conversation with Ministers
CGIAR Awards
Science in Action : Visit to INRA
Science for Global Impact
Youth Forum
Media Workshop

December 2005

Media Workshop Breaks New Ground

With a view to strengthening media coverage about the role of science and technology in agricultural development, CGIAR, in cooperation with Reuters Foundation, organized a media workshop in Marrakech during December 4-7, 2005.

Twenty-one mid-career journalists and broadcasters from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, and Syria attended the workshop.

"Our goal was simple," said Saad Hattar, a seasoned journalist from the BBC's Arabic Service who facilitated and led the workshop. "We wanted to benefit from the presence of world-class scientists attending the CGIAR meetings in Marrakech while exposing journalists to the latest advances in food and environmental science geared toward improving the lives of poor farmers."

Because coverage of science and agriculture is limited in the region, the action-packed workshop helped fill a niche. Journalists and broadcasters participated in the Science Forum, attended technical presentations, lectures and press conferences on key issues ranging from an overview of the world food situation, to changing contexts and new opportunities in science for agricultural development, climate change, and the adverse impacts of avian flu.

Roundtable discussions held over informal lunches brought together scientists and communication staff from CGIAR Centers, including Greg Clough, Bonnie McClafferty, Rex Navarro and Farid Waliyar. They briefed workshop participants about research activities at the CGIAR Centers and Challenge Programs. Mike Shanahan of SciDev.net spoke to the participants about the "do's and dont's" of online publishing.

Addressing the role of women in science, Professor Zohra ben Lakhdar gave a first-person account of her experiences in setting up a laboratory at the University of Tunis.

Participants were unanimous in their appreciation. "The workshop allowed me to reorganize my knowledge and taught me new techniques in science reporting," said Mohamed Kamal Al-Zalek of "Tishreen," a daily published in Aleppo, Syria. Mohammed Al-Alayan, Science Editor, Radio Oman, voiced his support for the workshop, noting that it helped him to update and sharpen his skills. Workshop participants joined the twenty additional Moroccan journalists and interviewed the 2005 Science Award winners, CGIAR scientists, and high level dignitaries while in Marrakech. Many stories were filed to radio stations and newspapers throughout the region.

Media workshop participants gather in front of the Palais des Congres in Marrakech

Participants attend a presentation on new agricultural technologies

Participants attended 5 media conferences during the workshop

Media workshop participants had many opportunities to interview scientists and high level dignitaries