Ms Albana Shala Elected First Ever Woman Chair of IPDC

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Ms Albana Shala has been elected by UNESCO’s media development council as the first female chair of the Council of the International Programme for Development of Communication (IPDC). Ms Shala representing the Netherlands will serve as chair for the next two years.

Ms Shala is an expert with more than 15 years of experience in the independent media development field and is currently the Programme Coordinator at Free Press Unlimited, a Dutch organization supporting independent media in more than 40 countries. The Council of the IPDC also elected a woman Rapporteur, Diana Heymann-Adu (Ghana), a senior lecturer from the Ghana Institute of Journalism.

Shala said: “Chairperson is a role I consider a great honour and pleasure to accept”. She added that “Due to my present and past work I have been able to follow IPDC’s work from the sidelines. The core values of the organisation are highly relevant in today’s world. Due to technological developments, even small projects can have a great impact, reaching millions and setting examples of bravery, dignity, solidarity, in their search for truth, justice and peace.”

News Chairperson of IPDC Council, Albana Shala (The Netherlands)
Chairperson of IPDC Council, Albana Shala (The Netherlands)

Others nominated by Council members are Algeria, Bangladesh and Peru for the three IPDC Bureau Vice-Chair positions, as well as Denmark, Niger and Poland for the three Bureau regular membership seats.

These changes were made at the 29th IPDC Council session on November 20, 2014 at the UNESCO Headquarters (Paris, France). The Member States of the Council thanked the outgoing Chair, Mr. Jyrki Pulkkinen (Finland), who led the IPDC for the last two years, for his commitment to the Programme and his successful chairmanship.

The International Programme for Development of Communication (IPDC) was set up in 1980 as the only intergovernmental programme in the UN system mandated to mobilize international support in order to contribute to sustainable development, democracy and good governance by strengthening the capacities of free and independent media. The IPDC is the only multilateral forum in the UN system designed to mobilize the international community to discuss and promote media development in developing countries. The Programme not only provides support for media projects but also seeks an accord to secure a healthy environment for the growth of free and pluralistic media in developing countries. Since its creation, IPDC has channeled about US$105 million to over 1,700 media development projects in about 140 countries.

IPDC’s Council is composed of 39 Member States elected by UNESCO’s General Conference. It meets once every two years to reflect on the latest trends in the media development field and give direction to the Programme. The Bureau of eight Member States meets once a year and allocates support to grassroots media projects around the world.