Incoming Fellow and Student Scholars from Qatar Join Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism

ATLANTA — As part of a partnership with the Qatar Foundation’s World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), The Carter Center announces new recipients of the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism 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. Four students from Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q), were trained in the first two cohorts.

Two new students will be part of the 2020-21 class. A senior Qatar-based journalist also has joined the program as a fellow.

The incoming fellow and student scholars have committed to investigating specific topics around mental health in Qatar over the next year, with the impact of COVID-19 being the primary focus.

Their participation in the program kicked off with a virtual three-day meeting hosted by The Carter Center in September 2020, during which they presented their plans for the year ahead.

The two students from NU-Q, Inaara Gangji and Maryam Abujbara, are both journalism and strategic communications majors.

They will work closely with professors at NU-Q, and with mentors in the United States and Qatar, to gain the skills and knowledge needed to produce accurate and balanced reports on mental health issues in ways that aim to eliminate stigma and increase accurate mental health reporting.

Mohammed Hadi, a senior editor at Qatar News Agency with over 19 years of journalism experience, was chosen for the main fellowship program in consultation with Hamad Medical Corporation.

As a fellow, Hadi will have access to the Carter Center’s resources and top experts in mental health and journalism, as well as networking opportunities.

“Communicating about mental health accurately, sensitively, and with integrity is vital,” said Nick Bradshaw, director of partnerships and outreach at WISH. “Our longstanding partnership with The Carter Center was established with the aim of improving the quality of mental health reporting in Qatar.”

Hadi, a Tunisian-born media studies graduate from Qatar University, and a former reporter at Qatar Television, will focus on how COVID-19 and the quarantine have impacted the mental health of vulnerable groups, including children and the elderly.

His reporting will show how the media can contributes to public opinion about the mental health needs of vulnerable groups.

“While it is extremely important to work with professional journalists, we believe it is also important to train students to learn best practices before commencing their professional careers,” Bradshaw said.

Inaara Gangji, a senior at NU-Q, will consider the role of Qatar’s national mental health helpline in helping the population navigate through this difficult time, and its shortcomings, given the country’s diversity.

Maryam Abujbara, a junior at NU-Q, will investigate why discussing mental health in Qatari society and across the Middle East is considered taboo.

Probing the links and gaps between mental health institutions and the general population in Qatar, Abujara will consider how to effectively raise awareness about sensitive topics in her society.

Mental health will be one of the key areas explored during the Virtual WISH 2020 summit happening online on November 15-19, 2020.

“When Rosalynn Carter started this program in 1996, her aim was to increase accurate reporting and eliminate the stigma that surrounds mental health,” said Eve Byrd, director of the Mental Health Program at The Carter Center. “It’s been gratifying for all of us to see the dedication and enthusiasm coming from the journalism fellows and scholars in Qatar.”

“Their work is helping to break down barriers and build awareness about mental health needs and solutions in Qatar,” Byrd said.

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 Latin America 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.

Read more about the fellowships on and on the Center's website 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.

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.