The CAJ and AKFC announce two inaugural International Development Reporting Fellows

OTTAWA, March 25, 2015 /CNW/ - The developing world's stories are waiting… and two journalists will soon be bringing them home to Canadians.

Aga Khan Foundation Canada and the Canadian Association of Journalists are pleased to announce that Marc Ellison and Mellissa Fung are the inaugural recipients of the Fellowship for International Development Reporting. They will each receive $25,000 to cover stories in the developing world.

Ellison will report on the complex topic of child marriage in Tanzania, in print and online for the Toronto Star. His project will push the digital boundaries of international reporting, bringing together traditional print articles with an online, interactive graphic novel. Ellison is an award-winning journalist who has reported previously from Uganda, South Sudan, Mali, and Central African Republic.

Fung's project focuses on the post-NATO opportunities and challenges in Afghanistan, digging deeper than headlines of conflict and crisis to uncover the everyday realities of rebuilding an underdeveloped country. She will report for The Walrus's print, tablet, and mobile editions. Fung has produced award-winning reportage from Afghanistan since 2008.

"The CAJ is looking forward to the work that Mellissa and Marc are about to undertake and the stories they will share with their audiences," CAJ president Hugo Rodrigues said. "Their projects will help enrich Canadians' understanding of the developing world and provide a foundation for continuing to build a community of people with interest and expertise on what happens outside our own borders."

The fellows were selected by an independent selection committee, chaired by CAJ national director Ellin Bessner. Sitting on the jury were: Peter Klein, UBC Graduate School of Journalism; Sophie Langlois, Radio-Canada; Rosemary McCarney, Plan Canada; Juliet O'Neill, freelance; and Stephen Puddicombe, CBC.

"The developing world is evolving at a rapid pace, and journalists play an important role in making sense of the complex dynamics at work," said Khalil Z. Shariff, AKFC's chief executive officer. "This program invests in journalists who want to tell stories that illuminate the process of global development for Canadians."

The fellows have one year to complete their projects. A second cycle of the fellowship will launch later in 2015.

The fellowship offers recipients $25,000 to undertake a substantial reporting project which helps Canadians develop a greater understanding of the complex issues facing the developing world. Fellows are encouraged to engage in ambitious foreign reporting during an era of tighter news budgets and be a part of fostering a community of Canadian journalists who share an interest in reporting original topics from the developing world.

The CAJ leads the fellowship selection committee, and contributes to the strategic direction of the program.

Administration and funding for the program are provided by AKFC with additional funding from the Government of Canada through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. Neither AKFC nor the Government of Canada held seats on the selection committee.

AKFC is a nonprofit international development agency, working in Asia and Africa to find sustainable solutions to the complex problems causing global poverty. Established in 1980, AKFC is a registered Canadian charity and an agency of the worldwide Aga Khan Development Network.

The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing over 600 members across the country. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.

SOURCE Canadian Association of Journalists

Image with caption: "Marc Ellison (CNW Group/Canadian Association of Journalists)". Image available at:

Image with caption: "Mellissa Fung (CNW Group/Canadian Association of Journalists)". Image available at:

For further information: Rosemary Quipp, Public affairs officer, AKFC, 1-800-267-2532 ext. 107,; Hugo Rodrigues, CAJ president, 613-330-8396 cell,


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