The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism Program Announces Selection of Two Students from Northwestern University in Qatar

ATLANTA… As part of a partnership with the Qatar Foundation’s World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), The Carter Center announced today two new recipients of the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism Program in Qatar. In 2018, The Carter Center joined with WISH to develop a program designed to train students at universities in Qatar about accurate and ethical reporting on mental illnesses. The two students, from Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q), add to the two students trained from the inaugural cohort last year. See below for the journalist names and project topics.

Since 1996, the Center has awarded one-year fellowships to more than 200 journalists, connecting them with resources and experts to increase the quality and accuracy of mental health reporting around the world. The program is currently in the United States, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Colombia and was previously in New Zealand, South Africa, and Romania.  

The Carter Center provides training, educational materials, mentorship, evaluation tools, and technical assistance to WISH to develop a sustainable and tailored program in Qatar. WISH manages the program in Qatar and is responsible for the selection of journalists and adapting the program to meet the needs of the population in Qatar.

Chief Executive Officer of WISH Sultana Afdahl said: “At WISH we have a long-standing commitment to raising awareness on mental health and we believe that the media plays a crucial role in shaping public perception. Our partnership with The Carter Center offers an excellent opportunity to develop the highest standards of mental health reporting in Qatar - both for experienced journalists and, more recently, for a small cohort of exceptional student journalists. We are delighted to continue our partnership, especially after seeing the positive impact of the work done by former fellows.

The two selected NU-Q journalism students, Maryam Al Badr and Muhammad Saad Ejaz, follow in the footsteps of the inaugural 2018 cohort, Ayilah Chaudhary (NU-Q) and Asma Al Jehani (Georgetown University in Qatar). Al Badr will focus on the mental health challenges of women in the region, balancing cultural expectations, tradition, and modernization. Fellow student Ejaz will examine the mental health implications of growing up in a conflict zone.

Carter Center Mental Health Program Director Eve Byrd said: “We are excited to work with the student scholars on their mental health projects and know that their work will have a positive impact on their careers, communities, and mental health awareness in Qatar.”

The students will join a Sept. 16-18 meeting at The Carter Center in Atlanta for a training on effective behavioral health reporting from past fellows and advisors. The students will connect with alumni, pair with their mentors, and gain a deeper understanding of behavioral health. In addition, they will hear Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter speak at the “Conversations with the Carters” event on Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. EDT at The Carter Center.

Since the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism were established in 1996, fellows have produced more than 1500 stories, documentaries, books, and other works during and after their fellowship year. Their projects have garnered Emmy Awards, nominations for the Pulitzer Prize, and other awards. Read more about the fellowships here.

Contact: Rennie Sloan,    


The Carter Center

"Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope."

A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.

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The World Innovation Summit for Health

The World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) is a global healthcare community dedicated to capturing and disseminating the best evidence-based ideas and practices. WISH is an initiative of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) and is under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, its Chairperson.

The inaugural WISH Summit took place in Doha in 2013 and convened more than 1,000 global healthcare leaders. Through international summits and a range of ongoing initiatives, WISH is creating a global community of leading innovators in healthcare policy, research and industry.

Together, they are harnessing the power of innovation to overcome the world’s most urgent healthcare challenges and inspire other stakeholders to action.