Twice a year, the African Union (AU) holds a summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. However, this usually goes largely unnoticed by the 54 member states’ citizens. One of the reasons for this is a lack of media coverage. Several times, the Ethiopian office of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) therefore invited journalists from African countries and the diaspora in order to inform them about current debates within the AU and to bring them into direct contact with AU decision makers.
Like African politics, the AU goes largely unnoticed, even in Africa. If anything, there are reports on wars, crises and other disasters. The much broader spectrum of political, economic and social problems that the AU works on is hardly reflected in the media. There was general agreement about this fact among the participants from all African regions and the diaspora in Great Britain. Therefore, the training seminars took place immediately before the AU summits, giving the journalists the opportunity to gather information, find stories and sources and thereby increase the depth of reporting.
In 2013, FES Ethiopia decided to make the seminars more interactive than in previous years, resulting in particularly exciting assignment for us – one during which we learnt a lot ourselves: when moderating background discussions with experts from the Peace and Security Council, when developing proposals for the improvement of the AU’s communication policy as well as during the phases of informal exchange about questions in African politics and the role of the journalists reporting on them.
Facts + Figures
- Gaining knowledge on the structure and current policy objectives of the AU
- Exchange and networking
- Identifying sources and stories
Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Ethiopia
Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)