Four researchers from partner universities in Bangladesh, Tunisia, Uganda and Ukraine recently visited DW Akademie in Bonn.
DW Akademie’s Managing Director Carsten von Nahmen (middle) and Prof. Dr. Christoph Schmidt, Head of Academic Education and Training (far right) gave a warm welcome to research guests Dr. Gerald Walulya, Dr. Soumaya Berjeb and Prof. Dr. Jude Genilo, who spent four weeks in Bonn (from left to right)
How to conduct lectures in times of war, sustainable development goals in academic training and last but not least, journalism and freedom of expression. These were just some of the topics that were addressed during an exchange visit of four international research guests, DW Akademie’s team and students of the International Media Studies (IMS) master’s program.
In the first week of the visitors' stay, each gave presentations of their research and home universities. “The presence of my fellow guest researchers made my visit more interesting because we often shared ideas about our common challenges and opportunities which may create new avenues for future South-to-South cooperation,” said Dr. Gerald Walulya from Makerere University in Uganda. Walulya gave a presentation about his research on journalism and freedom of expression. Furthermore, he spoke of his most recent research surrounding media framing of COVID-19 in Uganda and Tanzania.
Dr. Soumaya Berjeb from the University of Manouba, Tunisia, concluded that “Dr. Walulya’s session was a good start to have a first impression about different journalism and communication institutes around the world, and maybe get an idea about common intersecting academic tracks in order to maybe have a collective research project in the next years.”
Berjeb herself spoke about the crisis of content creation among journalists in North Africa in the era of artificial intelligence. She also conducted a seminar for the students of the IMS master's program on the basics of journalists' safety, emphasizing the importance of digital security.
“I appreciated the method of working with students from different cultural backgrounds and the way the IMS integrate them into a unified program,” Berjeb remarked.
From left to right: research associate Irene Najjemba, Head of Academic Education and Training, DW Akademie, Prof. Dr. Christoph Schmidt, research guest Dr. Zoriana Velychko from Ukraine, who stayed for two weeks in Bonn, and IMS senior lecturer Dr. Julia Lönnendonker
Since the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, Dr. Zoriana Velychko and her colleagues from the Ivan Franko Lviv National University have faced more existential challenges in academic training. Velychko spoke about e-learning opportunities and evacuation strategies the university is embracing to continue operating and deliver lectures to its students. She provided insights into the departments and courses of the Faculty of Journalism, including broadcast and television, new media and mass media language.
The researchers also had the opportunity to attend several seminars of the International Media Studies program.
“The course on media concentration and governance was very interesting. The seminar’s approach keeps the students engaged and on their toes as they needed to provide instant answers to cases presented,” said Prof. Dr. Jude William Genilo from the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (UCLA).
Genilo presented his research project “Communicating the SDGs: Initiatives of Select Media-related Academic Programs in Germany” for which he interviewed experts at the DW Akademie, University of Bonn and Bonn Rhine Sieg University of Applied Sciences about their teaching approaches, co-curricular and outreach activities. During his presentation, Genilo also highlighted the ways that UCLA was incorporating the sustainable development goals.
The many faces of capacity building: knowledge transfer, exchange of experiences and inspiring dialogue
The guest researchers engaged in academic exchange with each other, as well as lecturers from the Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg. They also met with various experts within DW and DW Akademie and showed particular interest in accessing resources from the DW and Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg libraries.
For the cultural experience, the researchers visited the German History Museum which Walulya said acted as a window through which he could interact which German history. “It was an opportunity for me to put a face to some of the major actors we studied about in European history during my high school days,” said Walulya.
Finally, two of the academics had the opportunity to participate in several talks and workshops of DW’s Global Media Forum 2023.
“It was a good opportunity to spend one month at DW in Bonn,” said Berjeb. “As a researcher, I think it was wonderful to exchange with other colleagues working for the IMS and I had a very good exchange with the students. Attending the GMF was one of my favourite experiences during my visit. I enjoyed hearing from different specialists, experts and academics.”