The Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Sulemana Braimah, has been named the 2023 recipient of the coveted Eisenhower Fellows’ Impact Award by US-based Eisenhower Fellowships (EF).
The award is in recognition of his successful establishment and operationalisation of Ghana’s first independent, non-profit, public-interest accountability journalism project, The Fourth Estate at the MFWA.
“I write to congratulate you on your selection as the recipient of the 2023 Eisenhower Fellowships’ Impact Award,” the award letter from EF President, George de Lama, stated.
“Your project was selected as the winner in a highly competitive field by a distinguished panel of Trustees, Fellows, outside experts and senior EF Staff. The Panel noted that The Fourth Estate Investigative Journalism Project is directly tied to your Fellowship Programme and has produced wide-ranging impact that includes promoting transparency and good governance, protecting public health and prosecuting criminals,” the award letter noted.
The award will be presented to Sulemana by Former US Secretary of Defence and Chairman of EF, Hon. Robert M. Gates during EF’s 70th anniversary World Forum in San Francisco. As part of the award, he will receive $10,000 to support the work of The Fourth Estate project.
“On behalf of the EF Board of Trustees, please accept my best wishes for winning this coveted honour. Your project exemplifies EF’s mission to create a world more peaceful, prosperous and just. We look forward to recognising your impact before the entire EF community later this year,” the award letter said.
Eisenhower Fellowships was established in 1953, in honour of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, for his contribution to humanity as a soldier, statesman, and world leader.
In 2019, Sulemana was named among 23 other visionary leaders from around the world as an Eisenhower Global Fellow. As his Fellowship project, he decided to establish an independent, non-profit, public-interest journalism project at the MFWA. The establishment of such a newsroom, he argued, was one of the critical steps towards countering the dearth of credible, critical, independent public-interest journalism in Ghana and across West Africa.
From March 27 to May 9, 2019, Sulemana travelled to several cities across nine states in the US as an Eisenhower Global Fellow, to meet with top media experts, media academics and journalists in some of the topmost US media Think Tanks, universities and newsrooms to discuss the project and to seek inputs.
Notably, he travelled and met with editors and journalists from the Philadelphia Enquirer, in Philadelphia; the Chicago Tribune, in Chicago; Seattle Times, in Seattle; Propublica in New York; Bloomberg News in New York; and Tampa Bay Times in Tampa, Florida.
He visited and interacted with senior officials at the Nieman Centre at Harvard University; the Lanfest Institute in Philadelphia; the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida; and the Knight Science Journalism Centre at the The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His itinerary also included visiting and interacting with journalism Professors at University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, Sandford University, and University of Boston.
Eisenhower Fellowships (EF) identifies, empowers and connects innovative leaders through a transformative fellowship experience and lifelong engagement with a diverse, dynamic, global network of change agents committed to creating a world more peaceful, prosperous and just. EF was founded by a group of Philadelphia businessmen in 1953 to celebrate President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s first birthday in the White House and has a distinguished history as an independent, nonpartisan, international leadership organization.